Hawaiian Airlines announced on Monday it is the first airline in the world to earn aviation-based carbon credits. They are credits which help the environment, being earned one flight at a time.
In the same way a clean car engine helps you get better gas mileage, Hawaiian Airlines said the eco-friendly system it's been using to clean the engines on their planes has helped reduce the company's carbon footprint in the air.
The jet engines are pressure washed with pure water two to three times a year, with water that is recycled.
"As a result of it, we've been flying cleaner and more fuel-efficiently everyday," said Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines.
Since using the Eco-Power engine-washing system on all its 767 jets, Hawaiian Airlines has saved more than 2.5 million gallons of fuel and reduced it's carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 22,000 metric tons over the last six years.
That's a lot when you consider the average car driver emits 8 to 10 metric tons of CO2 in one year. It's that emission reduction that's earned Hawaiian the carbon credits, a first in the aviation industry.
"When they're issued a carbon credit, it says its not only have we done something that's good for the environment, but we now have quantified that impact," said Michael Carim, an associate with First Environment, the agency that verifies carbon credits.
Each carbon credit represents one metric ton of greenhouse gas emission reduction.
The airline has been making other efforts to save fuel, such as acquiring a fleet of more fuel-efficient aircraft and lighter passenger seats and service carts. These are steps that save the company and customers money.
But these carbon credits are something -- globally -- we can all bank on.
The engine-wash is right now only used on Hawaiian's international and mainland wide-body fleet, but the company hopes to expand that to its 717 planes, those that service the neighbor islands.