Protecting The Environment

Managing Our Resources

Part of being a good environmental steward is ensuring that we maximize our use of natural resources while generating the least waste possible in our facilities, offices and onboard our flights. Over the years, we have implemented many initiatives to prevent waste at its source; reuse and repurpose materials; and recycle aluminum cans, paper and plastic.

Onboard recycling

American's flight attendants began the industry's first onboard recycling program in 1989 and have since recycled more than 12 million aluminum cans each year, approximately the weight of four new Boeing 737 aircraft. In 2012, we expanded our onboard recycling with new efforts to collect paper and plastic at major stations. For example, through an alliance between American's Corporate Environmental Department and DFW Airport, we now support collection of paper, plastic cups and bottles. We also phased out glass mini-wine bottles in domestic coach, which will reduce the amount of waste we send to landfills by more than 500,000 pounds and help reduce fuel consumption.

American and DFW airport announce sustainability alliance

A new sustainability alliance between American and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was announced in December 2012. The alliance will target opportunities for innovation in airport operations, resulting in economic and environmental benefits for American, DFW Airport and our respective customers. Initial activities included the expansion of American's in-flight recycling program to accept paper, plastic cups and bottles.

Electronic alternatives

For example, we recently replaced the heavy paper manuals carried by pilots with Electronic Flight Bags as part of our "Paperless Cockpit Initiative." We secured FAA approval in August 2012 to become the first commercial carrier to use the Apple iPad as an Electronic Flight Bag in the cockpit during all phases of flight. We expect to reduce fuel consumption by 400,000 gallons through this initiative, which will generate more than $1.2 million in annual savings.

American Eagle also received approval from the FAA to test a new Electronic Inflight Procedures Manual (eIPM) program for Eagle flight attendants. The eIPM program will allow flight attendants to carry their required manual in digital format.

Annual targets for reduction

We track our success in reducing waste by setting annual targets for waste reduction and refining our ability to collect accurate data. For the first time, we were able to measure the annual results of recycling efforts at all of American's domestic and international stations, as well as all stations serviced by our regional affiliate, American Eagle.

We exceeded our 2012 goal of an annualized waste minimization rate of two million pounds, and we have upped the ante by 500,000 additional pounds as American's goal for 2013. Our 2013 goal for American Eagle will be to focus on consistent onboard recycling of aluminum cans.

Waste minimization201120122013 GOAL
Annualized Waste Minimization Rate (pounds)1,300,0002,036,9652,500,000

The Annualized Waste Minimization Rate encompasses various recycled and reduced waste streams. Recycling rates are calculated based on total recycling statistics for given airports, pro-rated for passenger traffic attributable to American.

Managing utilities

American proactively manages energy, water and waste at our offices, facilities and other locations. We look for opportunities to enhance our environmental performance while reducing costs and risks.

In 2012, we replaced the heating and cooling system from the 1960s at our company headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, which helped to contribute to a five percent reduction in electricity consumption at the headquarters offices.

We met our 2012 goal of increasing annualized utilities energy savings by $13 million, and we set a new goal for 2013 to achieve an additional $500,000 in utility energy savings.

Utilities – Electricity use2010201120122013 GOAL
Energy savings rate (millions of dollars)12.012.513.013.5

American monitors its water use at its major facilities, which includes its maintenance facilities and offices. All of the water used at these facilities comes from municipal sources. In 2012, the Alliance Maintenance Base in Fort Worth, Texas, recycled over 26 million gallons of water, which contributed to an 18 percent water decrease at the base. Despite this effort, American missed its goal to decrease overall water consumption by 30 million gallons.

Utilities – Water use2010201120122013 GOAL
Water use at major facilities rate (millions of gallons)543.2533.2511.4499.0

Environmental efforts world-wide

Our efforts to minimize the environmental footprint of our operations extend across all borders. While environmental regulations differ in each country, one common thread is the oversight of disposal of waste generated in flight. To prevent the entry and dissemination of plant pests and animal diseases, many countries require the incineration of waste from international flights, including recyclable items.

But that doesn't mean that items are not recycled. Several international stations have local sorting operations that sort out all recyclable items before incineration. For example, at Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT), paper, plastic and aluminum—representing about 30 percent of all incoming waste—are removed before incineration. At London Heathrow (LHR), all trash is incinerated at a location that is able to capture the energy content of the materials by generating electricity for the local community. In addition, the aluminum left after incineration is collected and recycled.

Our employees' interest in helping the environment and helping those in their local communities also knows no boundaries. Several airport stations participate in local environmental efforts that help their communities. For example, in Buenos Aires, paper and plastic bottles are donated to a children's hospital for recycling. Employees in Mexico collect pull rings from aluminum cans to donate to a local charity. The pull rings are recycled to help hospitals and are sent to rural communities where they are re-purposed into hand crafts. And in Shanghai, employees partnered with the Roots & Shoots organization to promote environmental awareness in the community.

Utilities Management
Roots & Shoots

American Airline partners with Root & Shoots to sponsor an eco-friendly bag design competition at a primary school in Shanghai.