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Q2 2015 Earnings

July 28, 2015
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Conservation Goals: UPS Air Fleet Efficiency

Airline emissions represent 53 percent of our global CO2 inventory. For this reason, we have long made air fleet efficiency improvement a part of our strategic planning. Following our overall de-carbonization synergy strategy, we take both long-term and near-term steps that complement each other.

Long-term steps include investing in younger, more fuel-efficient aircraft before most companies in the package airline sector (see the 2009 UPS Sustainability Report), and publicly declaring our commitment to use jet engine bio-fuels when they are ready.

Near-term steps include numerous operating initiatives that increase fuel and emissions efficiency in big and small ways, day in and day out, around the world.


We have developed numerous metrics specifically for managing and mitigating environmental impacts in our air operations. Two of the most important of these are presented and discussed on page 42 of the 2009 UPS Sustainability Report.

The first, concerning emissions efficiency, is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) we introduced in 2009 along with a long-term goal of reducing emissions from UPS Airlines 42 percent from our 1990 baseline and 20 percent from our 2005 baseline. We are on track to achieve that goal, and we believe we are well ahead of our competitors in air fleet emissions reductions.

The second KPI tracks air fleet fuel efficiency, for which our 2011 goal represents a 32% improvement from our 1990 baseline. We reached that goal ahead of schedule in 2008, and exceeded it by an even wider margin in 2009.

A third air fleet KPI addresses air quality near airports by dividing hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides emitted during aircraft takeoffs and landings (in kilograms) by the payload capacity of UPS aircraft (in units of 1,000 kilograms, weighted
by average annual aircraft cycles). This metric compares our near-airport emissions to how much air transport capacity we use during the year, and therefore gives us an indication of the emissions efficiency of our fleet during periods of relatively high fuel consumption (including taxiing, take-offs, and landings. We reduced these emissions in 2009, due in part to retirements of older, less efficient aircraft.

At the end of 2009, the metric yielded an overall result of 0.75, which brings us close to achieving our 2011 goal of 0.74. The emission and energy reductions were achieved through a combination of long-term planning and day-to-day operating efficiency.

UPS implemented numerous strategies and techniques for reducing aircraft fuel consumption and associated emissions, including:

  • lower flight speeds,
  • computer-optimized flight plans,
  • computer-managed aircraft taxi times,
  • fuel-efficient towing tugs,
  • bio-diesel in ground support equipment,
  • environmentally friendly paint that reduces drag, and
  • cleaner engines.

Source: 2009 UPS Sustainability Report

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