Northwest Airlines has been honored as the recipient of a 2007 Minnesota
Governor’s Award for Excellence in Waste and Pollution Prevention.
Northwest Airlines’ application as “Conserving Resources - Doing
Our Part,” highlighted its fuel conservation and resource management,
focusing on proactive fleet modernization, fuel conservation, and
material recycling efforts.
“On behalf of my colleagues here at Northwest Airlines, I am
excited to accept this award for our efforts. This is another example
of our commitment to environmental sustainability and we will continue
to strive to be a conservation leader in the airline industry,” said
Tim McGraw, Director of Corporate Environmental and Safety Programs.
The Minnesota Governor’s Awards are given out annually to honor
organizations, businesses and non-profit institutions for programs or
projects that benefit the environment by reducing or eliminating waste
and pollutants at the source. Applications are judged on benefits to
the environment, economic efficiency, level of commitment and
leadership, innovation and ability of the project to serve as a model
In 2000, Northwest Airlines established a program of fuel
conservation and resource management including a $6 billion fleet
modernization effort. The re-fleeting program has resulted in a
savings of more than 250 million gallons of jet fuel per year which is
the equivalent of removing 500,000 cars from the road. The airline has
reduced its own carbon emissions by 25 percent since 2000 through its
transition to newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft, including the
recent delivery of its 32nd A330 aircraft. Northwest now operates the
world’s largest A330 fleet, the youngest international fleet and
youngest transatlantic fleet of any U.S. carrier.
In addition, Northwest has replaced fuel trucks with fuel carts at
the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. These carts are
stationed at each gate and connect to a system of fuel hydrants. This
change reduces the need for trucks on the ground resulting in fuel
Northwest also focuses on recycling and reclaiming most used
aircraft parts in many ways. The airline has an active system in place
for recycling significant amounts of scrap metal, aircraft parts,
tires, wood, chemicals, oil, paper and cardboard generated as a result
of normal operations.
The airline has received other environmental awards. The
combination of Northwest Airlines’ fleet replacement efforts and
collaboration with airport management recently earned Northwest
Airlines the 2007 “Environmental Capacity Award” from the Amsterdam
Airport Schiphol’s Board of Management. Northwest Airlines’
replacement of DC-10 aircraft with A330’s, which are quieter and
produce fewer emissions, was viewed by judges as an “active fleet
renewal with the best available technology”.
Northwest’s environmental initiatives are part of the airline’s
overall commitment to sustainability and corporate social
responsibility. In December 2007, Northwest launched its EarthCares
environmental program with a $1 million gift on behalf of the
airline’s employees and customers to its founding partner, The Nature
Later this year, Northwest customers will have the option of
contributing to wildlife and land conservation projects around
Northwest’s hubs in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, and Memphis as well
as China’s First National Park. Customers will also be able to
purchase carbon offset credits when they book their travel online.