Delta has set aside $1 billion towards a target to become ‘first carbon neutral airline in the world’.

Over ten years, the cash will be invested in technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere, and offsetting such as reforestation programmes, as well as plans to improve the airline’s efficiency such as its use of jet fuel.

Delta said 98% of its emissions come from its aircraft but pointed to research that suggests only 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions are accounted for by the aviation industry.

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Its carbon reduction plans include renewing aircraft, weight reduction, ‘improved flight operations’, and an increase in use of ‘sustainable fuels’.

Offsetting projects will include wetland restoration, grassland conservation, marine and soil capture and investment in carbon capture technologies.

Delta also plans to encourage its partners and stakeholders to reduce carbon use.

“There is no substitute for the power that travel has to connect people, which our world needs today more than ever before,” said Delta chief executive Ed Bastian. “As we connect customers around the globe, it is our responsibility to deliver on our promise to bring people together and ensure the utmost care for our environment.

“The time is now to accelerate our investments and establish an ambitious commitment that the entire Delta team will deliver. There’s no challenge we face that is in greater need of innovation than environmental sustainability, and we know there is no single solution.

He added: “We are on a journey, and though we don’t have all the answers today, we know that our scale, along with investments of time, talent and resources will bring meaningful impact to the planet and ensure the sustainability of our business for decades to come.”