Minding Our Impact on the Planet

Southwest operates more than 4,000 daily flights during peak travel season. Even small improvements can add up to a large cumulative impact, so we strive to constantly reduce our environmental footprint however we can. By working to minimize our environmental impact, we can safeguard our ability to protect our planet for both current and future generations.

Key Accomplishments


We have improved jet fuel efficiency by 31.8% on a revenue ton mile (RTM)3636) A revenue ton mile (RTM) is one ton of revenue traffic (passenger and cargo) transported one mile. basis since 2005.

Our CO2e intensity ratios have improved for the 6th straight year
675,000 lbs.

We repurposed 675,000 pounds of used leather, diverting this material from landfills.

Key Topic

Energy Use

Operating an airline requires energy use, so we are always looking for new ways to use energy more wisely. From our new fuel-efficient Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to the innovative ways we are automatically reducing energy use at our Headquarters in Dallas, we continually work to reduce our energy consumption and minimize our environmental footprint.

Smart Investments
Smart Investments
Amount invested in fuel efficiency improvements since 2002.
Planning for Better Fuel Efficiency
Planning for Better Fuel Efficiency
Refining our fuel planning calculations and flight planning procedures enabled us to save more than 8.5 million gallons of fuel in 2017.
Key Topic

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

Our position as the largest domestic airline55) As measured by the U.S. DOT’s O&D Survey for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2017 based on domestic originating passengers. O&D stands for Origin and Destination. allows us to carry out our Purpose day by day: connecting People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. We continue to be a leader in the domestic airline industry in emissions reductions through increased fuel efficiency, part of our focus on living responsibly and decreasing our impact on the planet.

6 years
In a row of improving our CO2e intensity ratios
Replacing fossil-fuel ground support vehicles with electric ones saves fuel and helps us keep costs low. As part of our program to modernize our Ground Support Equipment (GSE) fleet, Southwest invested $7.9 million in electric vehicles in 2017.
Pieces of electric GSE systemwide
Key Topic


We see waste as an opportunity. Repurposing and reusing resources instead of throwing them away isn’t easy—it takes time, thought, and effort. However, breathing new life into used material provides a tremendous opportunity to improve our impact on the planet. At Southwest, we emphasize recycling and reuse throughout our Company, as we seek to do more with our planet’s finite natural resources.

Limiting e-Waste
Limiting e-Waste
Last year, over 200,000 pounds of our used electronic equipment was refurbished and then resold, extending its lifecycle.
Landfill Diversion
Landfill Diversion
Our recycling and energy recovery efforts kept 3,737 tons of waste out of landfills in 2017.

Looking Forward11) The 2017 Southwest Airlines One Report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Specific forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements related to (i) the Company’s Vision; (ii) the Company’s network and growth plans, strategies, opportunities, and expectations; (iii) the Company’s financial position, outlook, goals, targets, strategies, plans, expectations, and projected results of operations, including specific factors expected to impact the Company’s results of operations; (iv) the Company’s plans and expectations with respect to its new reservation system and other technology initiatives, and the Company’s related multi-faceted financial and operational expectations and opportunities; (v) the Company’s capacity plans and expectations; (vi) the Company’s fleet plans, strategies, and expectations, including its fleet modernization initiatives, and the Company’s related financial and operational expectations; (vii) the Company’s operational initiatives and related plans and expectations, including with respect to its technology initiatives; (viii) the Company’s expectations related to its management of risk associated with changing jet fuel prices; (ix) the Company’s expectations and goals with respect to returning value to Shareholders; and (x) the Company’s other initiatives, including construction, safety, and environmental initiatives, and related plans and expectations. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them. Factors include, among others, (i) changes in demand for the Company's services and other changes in consumer behavior; (ii) the impact of a continually changing business environment, economic conditions, fuel prices, actions of competitors (including without limitation pricing, product, scheduling, capacity, and network decisions, and consolidation and alliance activities), and other factors beyond the Company’s control, on the Company's business decisions, plans, strategies, and results; (iii) the impact of governmental regulations and other governmental actions related to the Company's operations; (iv) the Company’s dependence on third parties, in particular with respect to its fleet and technology plans; (v) the Company's ability to timely and effectively implement, transition, and maintain the necessary information technology systems and infrastructure to support its operations and initiatives; (vi) the Company’s ability to timely and effectively prioritize its initiatives and related expenditures; (vii) the impact of labor matters on the Company’s business decisions, plans, strategies, and costs; (viii) changes in aircraft fuel prices, the impact of hedge accounting, and any changes to the Company’s fuel hedging strategies and positions; and (ix) other factors, as described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the detailed factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2017.

  • Continue Repurposing Program
    We will continue to look for innovative ways to repurpose and recycle materials.
  • Increase number of Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX 8
    By the end of 2018, we expect to have 26 additional 737-800s and 19 additional 737 MAX 8s to end the year with a fleet of 752 planes.
  • Deepen Partner Relationships
    We will continue to collaborate and deepen our relationships with partners who will help make progress toward our environmental
    goals and priorities.

Planet Data Table

Five Year Summary
Environmental Impacts
Total energy consumption (megawatt-hours (MWh))3737) Conversions to MWh are based on default densities and heating values from the CDP guidance document, “Technical Note: Conversion of fuel data to MWh.” We use this unit of measurement for consistency with our CDP reporting.79,203,01177,366,03273,688,16169,827,29470,493,624
Production activity (revenue ton miles (RTMs3636) A revenue ton mile (RTM) is one ton of revenue traffic (passenger and cargo) transported one mile.))13.0 billion12.6 billion11.9 billion10.9 billion10.6 billion
Intensity ratio (MWh/1,000 RTMs)
Water consumption (gallons)3838) Water consumption is primarily for domestic use at our facilities.85 million83 million80 million 83 million 69 million
Intensity ratio (gallons/Employee)1414) Active, full-time equivalent Employees as of Dec. 31 for specified calendar year.More than 1,500More than 1,500More than 1,600Nearly
More than 1,500
Greenhouse Gas Inventory (Scope 1 and Scope 2 Emissions)
Scope 1 emissions (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e))20,148,91019,664,62218,731,06217,784,22717,956,473
Scope 2 emissions (metric tons of CO2e) 51,63453,26448,81051,22847,680
Total Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions (metric tons of CO2e)20,200,54419,717,88618,779,87217,835,45518,004,153
Intensity ratio (metric tons CO2e/1,000 RPMs)1212) A revenue passenger mile (RPM) is one paying Passenger flown one mile. Also referred to as “traffic,” which is a measure of demand for a given period.0.1570.1580.1600.1650.173
Intensity ratio (metric tons CO2e/1,000 ASMs)1010) An available seat mile (ASM) is one seat (empty or full) flown one mile. Also referred to as “capacity,” which is a measure of the space available to carry Passengers in a given period.0.1310.1330.1340.1360.138
Intensity ratio (metric tons CO2e/1,000 RTMs) 1.551.561.581.631.70
Greenhouse Gas Inventory (Scope 3 Emissions)
Capital goods—production of aircraft (metric tons CO2e)62,90043,60026,50053,00032,000
Waste generated in operations—waste to landfill and burned for energy recovery (metric tons CO2e)3939) Our scope 3 emissions for Waste Generated in Operations for 2013 through 2016 have been revised to reflect the current and historical re-refining of our used oil, rather than the assumption it was burned for energy recovery.1,9002,7002,4004,6005,100
Employee commuting—estimate based on survey (metric tons CO2e)214,200218,600183,600174,000188,000
Other Air Emissions
NOx emissions (tons)4040) NOx and SOx emissions are reported in our annual emissions inventories for our DAL and PHX facilities. Data is from prior year due to air emissions reporting cycle.
SOx emissions (tons)4040) NOx and SOx emissions are reported in our annual emissions inventories for our DAL and PHX facilities. Data is from prior year due to air emissions reporting cycle.
Regulatory Compliance
Number of environmental violations resulting in finesNone163None
Total environmental fines $ — $ 3,303$ 7,497$ 5,738$ —
Environmental Conservation
Fuel efficiency (ASMs/gallon) 75.274.473.972.871.7
Fuel efficiency (RPMs/gallon) 63.162.561.860.057.4
Fuel efficiency (RTMs/gallon)
Total number of electric & solar Ground Support Equipment (GSE)1,5061,3361,2291,088963
Purchases of renewable energy certificates (kWh)Nearly 25 millionMore than 25 millionMore than 25 millionMore than 25 millionMore than 25 million
Waste Management & Recycling4141) Waste and material recycled from aircraft and select facilities as part Southwest’s waste management and co-mingled recycling programs. Does not include international flights due to regulations that require waste from international flights to be incinerated. Does not include AirTran flights.
Total waste generated (tons) 9,8589,69011,135
Total waste recycled (tons) 3,7373,3484,148
Percent of total waste recycled 383537
Recycled co-mingled waste—paper, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard (tons)More than 3,000More than 2,600More than 3,700More than 3,000More than 2,700
Recycled industrial waste (tons) 730721631520660
Hazardous waste generated (tons) 21.624.125.116.514.9
Hazardous waste managed through recycling and beneficial reuse (tons)
Intensity ratio (pounds of hazardous waste generated/aircraft)6167715044

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