SAA is one of the first six airlines worldwide to be rated environmentally friendly in terms of Stage One of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) environmental assessment.
The assessment is a two year initiative to develop and establish an environmental standards and management system among the more than 240 IATA members. The initiative involves general recycling, on-board recycling, efficient flight and airport operations, the limitation and reduction of carbon emissions, general energy efficiency and environmentally aware procurement procedures.
“We are proud of being one of six global airlines to achieve Stage One status. As part of SAA’s environment strategy and in the airline’s continuous effort to become one of the world’s greenest, customers can fly SAA assured we are taking steps to establish ourselves as a market leader when it comes to environmentally friendly operations, efficient aircraft, green buildings and environmentally conscious employees,” SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said.
IATA’s Paul Steele, who heads up the environmental initiative for the Association, said SAA was now “one of the world’s leading carriers in the areas of environmental responsibility and sustainability”.
Among the goals the national carrier has set for itself are working towards reducing its carbon footprint; working towards minimising and preventing pollution; minimising waste and implementing recycling initiatives; integrating environmental concerns with all planning; operating with the most energy and water efficient practices; increasing environmental awareness among employees and finding new and innovative ways to improve SAA’s environmental programmes.
The airline has also committed itself to industry goals including capping carbon dioxide emissions from 2020 onwards and working to an average fuel efficiency improvement of 1.5% a year from 2009 to 2020.
Reduced emissions will come from more fuel efficient aircraft – SAA is rejuvenating its fleet and will buy 25-30 long-haul aircraft, which will replace its existing less fuel efficient long haul Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft, from 2017. Boeing’s 787-8 Dreamliner and Airbus’ A350-900/1000 are being considered.
Meanwhile, SAA will receive two new A320s from Airbus this month and another two next month as part of its order for 20 of the type. The remaining 16 will be delivered by 2017 and will replace the 17 Boeing 737-800s operated by SAA and the four 737-800s flown by low-cost subsidiary Mango.