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Management: What Will It Take to Become More Sustainable?

Addressing aviation’s effects on climate change requires an industry-wide effort. But what steps can your flight operation take to move toward sustainability? Sustainability champions say the first, most critical action is education.

“Each organization’s solutions will look a little different, but for every organization, sustainability starts with education,” said Jessica McClintock, vice president of global account management at FuelerLinx. “While a lot of the focus has been on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), it isn’t widely available [yet]. So, what can your organization do now?”

Book-and-claim options and carbon offsets help bridge the gap between current and future SAF availability, but industry experts urge operators to look at other ways to be sustainable.

“Everything – from how many documents you print to how many empty legs you fly – impacts your organization’s overall sustainability.”

Jessica McClintock Vice President of Global Account Management, FuelerLinx

“Look inward at your flight department’s infrastructure and operations,” said McClintock, who suggests utilizing technology whenever possible to create more efficient processes. “Everything – from how many documents you print to how many empty legs you fly – impacts your organization’s overall sustainability.”

Optimizing flight efficiencies – including minimizing empty legs, reducing taxi time and APU usage, flying at optimum altitudes and speeds, and even properly maintaining and cleaning the aircraft – are effective, low-cost or no-cost ways to reduce carbon emissions.

Many companies have formal sustainability plans. Is your aviation operation part of it? Don’t allow the flight department to be siloed in these efforts. Although aviation sustainability solutions might be different from those of other parts of the company, you’ll achieve greater results by working together and might be inspired by actions of other departments.

“As flight departments start their sustainability journey, they need to consider their larger organization,” said Brock Jordan, chief pilot at Netflix. “There might be sustainability efforts taking place, with appropriate tools and resources within the organization that they can be a part of.”

NBAA’s new Sustainable Flight Department Accreditation Program is designed to help entities meet sustainability goals by recognizing those that meet high sustainability standards. Entities may seek accreditation in one, all or any combination of the following four areas: flight, operations, ground support, infrastructure.

The program aims to reduce carbon emissions first, and then offset emissions that cannot be reduced. An entity must document a minimum of 10% carbon emissions reduction or offset, compared to their 2019 calendar year emissions output.

“As an industry leader, it is our responsibility to be out in front supporting NBAA’s initiative to advance the knowledge and awareness within our scope of influence,” said Scott Evans, director of demonstration, airborne customer support and corporate flight operations at Gulfstream, a Sustainable Flight Department Accreditation Program first-year applicant.

“We have been a pioneer in sustainability for more than a decade,” continued Evans, “and the NBAA accreditation program is another way we can show that. In short, sustainability is very important to us, and we will continue to find ways to advance our sustainability while also creating a culture of learning within our industry.”

Evans says Gulfstream’s experience with the program will not only help his organization learn to be more sustainable, but also will help the OEM support customers interested in becoming accredited. accredited.

Review NBAA’s sustainability resources at

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