Partner Spotlight: Alaska Airlines Shares Sustainability Strides


How long has Alaska Airlines been serving the San Francisco market?

Alaska Airlines is proud to have served the San Francisco market since 1979.  Some interesting facts about our SFO operation:

    • We have over 1,700 employees based in SFO
    • On a daily basis, we serve over 11,000 guests
    • We offer 80-90 daily departures
    • Our top daily destinations are: Seattle (SEA), Los Angeles (LAX) and New York City (JFK/EWR)
    • In addition to SFO, we also proudly serve San Jose (SJC) and Oakland (OAK) within the Bay Area

We are excited that Alaska Airlines is preparing to move to the Harvey Milk Terminal 1 in Summer of 2024. This will allow us to be near flights for American Airlines and our other oneworld member airlines, which is convenient for guests who have connecting flights, including to international destinations. Plus, the new gates will give us shorter taxi times and faster access to the runways – saving time and burning less fuel.



Why is sustainability a priority for Alaska Airlines? 

At Alaska Airlines, we are all about care – and that includes care for the over 120 places where we live and fly, and the planet we share. We have been around for over 90 years and know that being here for the long haul requires managing our business thoughtfully – including our environmental impact.

To do so, we have prioritized immediate actions and long-term investments to reduce carbon emissions and waste, and to protect local ecosystems. We know that we can’t make this journey alone – that’s why we are working closely with innovative partners across the globe to inform our work and enable new solutions for the future.


What has Alaska Airlines done historically to support sustainability?

Alaska Airlines has long been a leader in inflight sustainability – in fact, we developed the standard for onboard recycling in the 1980s, an effort started by our employees at Horizon Air.

Here are some other accomplishments:

    • 2018 – Alaska took a big step forward in being the first U.S. airline to eliminating plastic straws and plastic stir sticks from our aircraft.  
    • 2021- As part of our 2025 goals, we embarked on a path to eliminate one of the most common plastic products in flight, water bottles. We started in May, by replacing individual water bottles on regional flights and in the first-class cabin with Boxed Water. In November, we took another step forward by becoming the first U.S. airline to eliminate plastic bottles from our water service by expanding Boxed Water to all flights and all cabins.  
    • 2022 – Alaska became the first U.S. airline to pioneer an innovative electronic bag tag program, modernizing the check-in process and enabling us to reduce waste from bag tags in the future as this program grows.  
    • 2023 – In January, we reached another significant milestone by completing our elimination of plastic cups from our flights, another industry first. We are now serving all beverages inflight using FSC-certified paper cups or reusable glassware in the First Class cabin.

Additionally, we encourage guests to #FillBeforeYouFly by traveling with an empty water bottle and refilling it before boarding. We also require guests to pre-order their meals on our mobile app, which reduces food waste. In fact, in 2022, our guests helped reduce food waste by approximately 50%, or a total of 350K meals by using pre-ordering their meals. We also encourage guest to download our app to cut down on the need for paper tickets.



What are some of Alaska Airlines’ sustainability goals that are driving its work moving forward?

We have prioritized immediate actions and long-term investments to reduce carbon emissions and waste, and to protect local ecosystems. In order to reach our ambitious goal of being carbon net zero by 2040, we have set more immediate 2025 goals, which include

Be the most fuel-efficient domestic airline.
Reduce ground support equipment (GSE) emissions average by 50% on a per-unit basis. 
Minimize and optimize packaging for top five inflight food and beverage items.  
Restore Inflight recycling sorting performance to 2019 levels.  
Balance 100% of our water consumption via local habitat restoration projects.  


What are some new technologies Alaska Airlines is investing in? 

We’ve always been pioneers and we can’t wait for these technologies to come to us. That’s why we founded Alaska Star Ventures, an investment arm focused on identifying and enabling new technologies that can accelerate our path to net zero. Initial investments have been made with ZeroAvia, The Westly Group and UP.Partners.

Learn more here.