CHICAGO, April 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) today unveiled the merged company's new environmental commitment with a focus on reducing its impact on the environment in the air, on the ground, at facilities, with its business partners and across its communities.
To celebrate Earth Day, the company is introducing Eco-Skies, its initiative and commitment to protecting the environment. As part of this program, today the company is donating up to $2 to Conservation International for every customer who uses a mobile boarding pass, and sponsoring the Earth Day Festival at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago.
"With our commitment to the environment at the new United, we lead commercial aviation as an environmentally responsible company by taking responsible actions today that shape an environmentally sustainable future," said Toby Enqvist, vice president of environmental affairs and security for United.
Eco-Skies and Commitment to the Environment
United and Continental share a common focus on protecting the environment, and the integrated environmental programs of the new company will be known as Eco-Skies. As its commitment to the environment, the company will:
- Reduce fuel use and improve fuel efficiency of its aircraft and vehicles through technology and process innovation
- Advance and utilize environmentally responsible and cost-efficient alternative fuels
- Improve the sustainability of products and its facilities, and responsibly manage wastes generated by its business activities
- Work together with its co-workers and partner with its stakeholders – customers, airports, business partners, suppliers, governments and NGOs – to promote accountability and protect the environment while achieving its business goals
Making Strides in Sustainability
"We are expanding upon the solid track records that United and Continental have built by improving aircraft fuel efficiency and introducing sustainability programs," said Enqvist.
Some examples of the companies' environmental accomplishments are:
- Improved fuel efficiency by 32 percent since 1994: New Boeing and Airbus aircraft on order are more than 20 percent more fuel efficient than the planes they will replace, and adding winglets to existing planes improves fuel efficiency by up to 5 percent.
- Leading the industry in advancement of alternative fuels: Continental was the first North American carrier to perform a two-engine aircraft flight demonstration using sustainable biofuels derived from algae and jatropha, and United made the first U.S. commercial flight using synthetic fuel made from natural gas. At its stations, more than 3,600 of the company's ground service equipment are alternatively fueled or zero emission.
- Improving sustainability of products and facilities: Over the last five years, the companies recycled more than three million pounds of aluminum cans and plastic items from waste generated in-flight. At its hubs and facilities, the company reduces waste, recycles and builds LEED-certified office space when possible.
- Partnering with its customers, employees and business partners to make a difference: The companies provide customers the option to save paper and use mobile boarding. Customers also may go carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets through the company's nonprofit partner Sustainable Travel International.
Donating to Conservation International for Every Customer Who Uses Mobile Boarding
For every customer who uses a mobile boarding document to board on Earth Day, the company will donate $1 to help Protect an Acre with its global nonprofit partner Conservation International.* For customers who use the Continental Mobile App for Android® or iPhone®, the company will double the contribution to $2. Conservation International's Protect an Acre initiative works to curb tropical deforestation, a leading cause of climate change, while preserving the livelihoods of local communities and the natural habitats of threatened species.
More than 10 million customers have used their cell phone or PDA at 89 domestic and international airports equipped to accept mobile boarding passes since the airlines introduced the program in 2007. United and Continental customers have saved approximately 1,200 trees by opting to board using a mobile device in lieu of a printed boarding pass.
Customers scheduled to travel on Friday, April 22 are encouraged to select the mobile boarding pass delivery method when they check in for their flight.
Sponsoring Earth Day Celebration in Downtown Chicago
In addition, United is sponsoring the Earth Day celebration in its hometown, Chicago, where it will unveil Eco-Skies and its commitment to the environment and showcase an electric baggage tractor. Alex Marren, United's Senior Vice President of System Operations Control and United Express, will speak at the event along with several distinguished guests from the City of Chicago. The event takes place in Daley Plaza today from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
About United Continental Holdings, Inc.
United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) is the holding company for both United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Together with United Express, Continental Express and Continental Connection, these airlines operate an average of 5,820 flights a day to 373 airports on six continents from their hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark Liberty, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. United and Continental are members of Star Alliance, which offers 21,000 daily flights to 1,160 airports in 181 countries. United and Continental's more than 80,000 employees reside in every U.S. state and in many countries around the world. For more information about United Continental Holdings, Inc., go to UnitedContinentalHoldings.com. For more information about the airlines, see united.com and continental.com, and follow each company on Twitter and Facebook.
* Terms and conditions:
United Continental Holdings will contribute to Conservation International's Protect an Acre program as part of this promotion matching each use of mobile boarding pass on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, 2011, with a $1 contribution and $2 for each use of the Continental Mobile App for Android® or iPhone® up to a maximum of $50,000 for the combined company representing both United and Continental subsidiaries. Mobile boarding documents are sent directly to your mobile device by e-mail for qualifying itineraries. Standard data rates apply. Offer subject to change.
SOURCE United Continental Holdings, Inc.