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Traveling well: Delta releases 2023 ESG Report

Delta shares their 2023 Environmental, Social and Governance report, which shows how the global, values-led airline is creating a safer, more equitable workplace that reflects the communities that it serves while advancing a more sustainable future of travel.
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Delta’s 2023 Environmental, Social and Governance report shares how the global, values-led airline is creating a safer, more equitable workplace that reflects the communities that it serves while advancing a more sustainable future of travel.

“In 2023, the people of Delta Air Lines led the industry, strengthening our trusted global brand by consistently delivering operational excellence, unmatched financial performance and the welcoming, caring and elevated service our customers deserve,” said CEO Ed Bastian. “Once again, Delta’s longstanding values of always putting people first set us apart from the competition.”

SAFETY FIRST, ALWAYS

At Delta, safety is first, always. Providing a safe and secure operation is the fundamental obligation to customers, colleagues and the communities that Delta is privileged to serve. As an airline, operating safely and securely is the non-negotiable foundation of Delta’s everyday work. Delta is proud to have transported more than 190 million customers in 2023, while achieving an award-winning on-time arrival rate.

In 2023, the airline made key investments to successfully support its people to integrate further safety measures within the day-to-day operation, including:

  • Enhancing data delivered directly to pilots via FlightPulse, a real-time performance review tool, which allows pilots to better see hazard-related risks and make adjustments mid-flight. Changes made last year enable new levels of transparency, inclusion and shared responsibility that empowers pilots to fly their best.
  • Making tech-enabled enhancements to help flight attendants more effectively handle in-flight medical events. 
  • Holding Delta’s second annual Safety and Environmental Summit, bringing together over 400 operational leaders, providing an opportunity to align on safety and environmental policies, procedures and trainings, and to extend these learnings to all aspects of the operation.

“Safe, reliable operations led by caring people – that’s how we earn our customers’ trust every day.” – Mike Spanos, Delta COO

The Delta difference: our people

Delta’s 100,000+ people are what sets the brand apart. That’s why the airline has strategically invested in attracting, retaining and developing employees who embody the “Delta Difference.” In 2023:

  • Delta’s “skills-first” approach to talent, which prioritizes experience and skills over traditional education requirements, gave Delta more options for recruitment across diverse talent pools.
    • 82% of all job openings filled externally in 2023 did not require a college degree. 
    • 35% of corporate and management openings in 2023 were filled with talent in frontline  roles.
  • Delta continued to invest in its people by increasing the starting rate to at least $19 per hour for ACS agents, Reservations and Care agents, and TechOps Stores and Stock Attendants. 
  • Delta continued its commitment to industry-leading total compensation for industry leading performance by paying $1.4B in profit sharing and providing a 5% base pay raise to employees.
  • Delta launched the Delta Emergency Savings Program to help employees prepare for life’s unexpected moments and jumpstart their financial wellness journey, providing a $1,000 contribution to eligible employees who completed financial coaching, education and savings requirements.
  • Delta expanded family benefits including fertility and surrogacy assistance as well as increased adoption assistance.

“Our people are our most worthy investment. We believe in a virtuous circle: When we take the best care of our people, our people will take the best care of our customers – who will then continue to make Delta their airline of choice.” – Joanne Smith, E.V.P. and Chief People Officer

Equity is the motive

While there’s always progress to be made, Delta continues to take action in support of its diversity, equity and inclusion goals for its people and the communities it serves, by:

  • Continuing to increase representation of women, Black, and Latin/Hispanic talent across the company through its Close the Gap strategy.
  • Deepening relationships with HBCUs. In 2023, Delta welcomed 55 students from 13 historically Black colleges and universities to the global headquarters for “From the Yard to Delta Boulevard,” an immersive, two-day experience that included the opportunity to interview for summer internships at Delta. Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina recently became the second HBCU to join Delta’s Propel Collegiate Pilot Career Path Program.
  • Sponsoring trips for over 1,000 Delta people, to date, to the Equal Justice Initiative museum and legacy sites in Alabama for an immersive, historically grounded understanding of the need for collaborative solutions to end systemic racial injustice.
  • Providing DEI education for all employees on a broad range of identities, including age, ability, citizenship, educational background, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, veteran status and more, through enterprise-wide learning experiences reaching more than 800 managers and contributors.
  • Training nearly 80% of Delta officers and senior leaders in a two-day Racial Equity Workshop focused on understanding systemic issues and finding ways to disrupt them.

"Delta’s eye toward creating equitable outcomes for all is rooted in our inside-out approach that begins with transforming our own organization and extends to standing on the power of our brand to drive change in the communities where we live, work and serve. With accountability and transparency as our foundation, we are making meaningful and measurable progress with actions aimed to connect all people with their potential.” – Keyra Lynn Johnson, Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer

Climbing toward a more sustainable future

Accelerating the work to deliver more sustainable travel experiences is good for the planet, communities, and business. Delta’s long-term strategy to decarbonize its airline operations and value chain supports its goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Delta took meaningful steps forward on its sustainability journey in 2023, including:

  • Saving a cumulative 21 million gallons in fuel driven by Delta’s Carbon Council through initiatives including optimizing routing and speed, reducing the weight on flights, and working with air traffic control authorities to find more efficient flight paths.
  • Taking delivery of 3.5 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel, more than double the amount from 2022.
  • Engaging in meaningful advocacy in support of policies at the state and federal levels that will incentivize production and kickstart investment in a robust SAF industry, including launching the first of its kind Minnesota SAF Hub as an anchor member in coordination with Greater MSP to collaborate across the SAF value chain to drive investment and production. 
  • Becoming a founding member of Americans for Clean Aviation Fuels, the first national SAF coalition focused on promoting the economic benefits of a robust domestic SAF market with a goal of spurring supportive SAF policies.
  • Launching a paper cup trial on board which, once rolled out across the operation, is expected to drive a reduction of an additional 7 million pounds of single-use-plastics.

“At Delta, we believe that what gets measured gets done, so our sustainability strategy embraces short-, medium- and long-term milestones to guide what we fly, how we fly and the fuel we use – all while supporting the elevated experiences Delta customers have come to expect.” – Amelia DeLuca, Chief Sustainability Officer

Creating a more sustainable and inclusive business is a journey. As part of Delta’s ongoing commitment to transparency, the company began sharing Corporate Responsibility Reports in 2009. For the latest on Delta’s ESG progress, visit: delta.com/about.

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