If reducing your carbon footprint is a priority, Alaska Airlines may be the carrier for you.
In its first efficiency study, the International Council on Clean Transportation ranked the Seattle-based carrier as the nation’s most fuel-efficient major airline, followed by low-cost Spirit Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.
Alaska was 26% more fuel-efficient than the least efficient airline, Allegiant Air, according to the study, released last week.
“Aviation is a critical part of the U.S. economy, but it consumes a lot of oil and it’s the fastest-growing contributor to climate change from the transportation sector globally,” said Drew Kodjak, executive director of the International Council on Clean Transportation .
About one third of the efficiencies can be attributed to technology, such as the use of fuel-efficient engines and those up-turned winglets installed on many newer jets, the study concluded. Other factors included seat density and the percentage of seats filled. Taxiing with one engine instead of two also saves fuel.
Another key factor in fuel efficiency, the study found, are the routes served by the carrier. Short-haul trips are less efficient because takeoffs and landings require more fuel, the study found.
Alaska Airlines is green in other ways, too. It operates the first-of-its-kind solar-powered boarding ramps and supplies passengers with biodegradable forks, knives and spoons and napkins made of corn starch.