It’s so perfect that St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. For the past few years, we have worked hard to turn the average Tuesday into our very own “Green Day” here at Southwest to remind ourselves of the importance of environmental stewardship and offer each other great tips on living and working green. Innovative suggestions are submitted by Employees to a dedicated Green e-mail address. Whether they are tips on recycling, how to save (reduce), or even how to take your family back to the 1920s and not be so “disposable” (reuse), I have really learned a lot from reviewing these great tips.
One of my favorite parts of working on our environmental efforts is being on the “ground floor” of a lot of our initiatives. One of the most exciting and industry-leading efforts we have is RNP – Required Navigational Performance – a really fancy term for satellite-based navigation. It will allow our aircraft to fly more direct routes, saving fuel and, most importantly, reducing emissions. We had our first demo flight with RNP procedures on Sunday, flying roundtrip between Dallas Love Field and Houston Hobby. There were about 19 of us on the flight, and I really felt like I was seeing history in the making: the culmination of two years of hard work, and a milestone in this six-year, $175 million project.
The initial data was really impressive – saving more than 904 pounds of CO2 on the roundtrip flight and, in a year, that could equal more than 8.42 million pounds or the equivalent of taking 699 passenger cars off the road for one year! Below is the RNP aircraft’s path (the green line) from Dallas Love Field to Houston Hobby, along with the other paths (yellow) an aircraft can fly.
David “Fig” Newton, one of our Pilots and leaders of the RNP project, wrote a much better explanation last year–-and it even had a St. Patty’s Day flavor!
I am very “lucky” (no pun intended) to be part of the Southwest Airlines Green Team, which is a Team of about 40 Southwest Airlines Employees from all major Departments who meet every month to discuss how to make Southwest Airlines more environmentally conscious and help put a green filter on business decisions. We also look for ways to take existing programs and make them even better. Great examples are implementing a more robust and consistent recycling program, introducing ride share programs and a pre-tax commuter benefit program, creating a Green Ambassador program of Employees all across our System, and producing an Environmental Stewardship Report.
All of the efforts at Southwest add up to a Green way of thinking and living, and I love being a part of it. Happy “Green” Tuesday!