Efficiency MattersSustainability

Reducing Airline Emissions

Airline Efficiency

Air Fleet Efficiency

UPS operates one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient air fleets in the package delivery sector. We achieved this leadership due in part to investments we made in past decades to reduce aircraft noise. We source our jet engines from all manufacturers who can meet our specifications. The average age of our active fleet of 216 aircraft in 2010 was just 13 years.

More than two years before the deadline, our entire fleet met the Stage III noise limit set by the International Civil Aviation Organization of the United Nations (ICAO) for aircraft purchased after January 1, 1999. And, UPS is the only company in the sector to exceed compliance with ICAO Stage IV noise guidelines. In fact, our entire fleet met Stage IV limits in 2008. Within UPS Airlines, 84 percent of the fleet already meets the category "CAEP 6 and CAEP 8" standards guidelines for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions limits published by ICAO's Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP).

In addition to meeting external guidelines, we apply our overall decarbonization synergy strategy to reducing air fleet emissions and fuel use with complementary long-term and near-term steps. Long-term steps include investing in younger, more fuel-efficient aircraft, and publicly declaring our commitment to use jet engine bio-fuels when they become more readily available. Near-term steps include numerous operating initiatives that increase fuel and emissions efficiency around the world.

Emissions and Fuel Efficiency

Our airline emissions and fuel efficiency both improved in 2010 compared to 2009. Our primary Key Performance Indicator for airline emissions efficiency tracks our progress toward a long-term goal of reducing emissions from UPS Airlines 20 percent from our 2005 baseline.

Innovation in Air Fleet Operations

UPS Airlines has consistently been a pioneer in testing, adopting and helping develop next-generation techniques and technologies for increasing fuel efficiency and reducing noise associated with air transport. In some cases, we advocate new practices we've tested independently and found useful. One example is continuous descent approach, in which pilots take a continuous glide path toward their arrival airport rather than "stepping down" in levels of altitude. Eliminating the steps reduces fuel consumption and noise levels. In other cases, we are early adopters of new technological approaches to air traffic control, such as those associated with the "NextGen" program of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States.

The FAA asked UPS to be the first airline to demonstrate the effectiveness of text communication between pilots and air traffic controllers, because of our track record of working with the agency and operating efficiently and safely. In 2010, we equipped nearly 100 aircraft with the necessary technology and began a new era for UPS Airlines.

Get Started

Select the Contact UPS button, or contact your UPS representative for more information.

Contact UPS

Take a Look

  • Biofuel Video
    Watch and Discover: Biofuel
    UPS powers its sustainability efforts with a biofuel blend. See how this small adjustment can lead to big changes.