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Return to Normandy 2024: Departure

As soon as the WWII veterans made it through security in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s international terminal, a parade and a celebration throughout Concourse F ensued – led by The Dutchtown High School Band, who gave a rousing performance for the second year in a row. The entire terminal from customers to TSA agents cheered as the veterans marched past several gates and waved bon voyage to the heroes eager to board the charter. 

Following a special visit from Delta’s Honor Guard and water cannon salute, Delta flight 9994 to Normandy departed on time at 10 p.m., thanks to Delta’s all-veteran flight operations crew and dedicated in-flight service team.  

Delta is covering the cost of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to reduce the emissions impact of our Normandy charter, as part of the airline’s ongoing work to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. While the California-based SAF won’t be on the flight, Delta is displacing a gallon of conventional jet fuel for our California-based flying for each of the nearly 33,000 gallons of jet fuel consumed on the roundtrip Normandy charter. This “book and claim” model is the optimal way to utilize existing SAF without creating greater emissions by transporting it farther away from where it’s produced.  

SAF is the most important lever the aviation industry has to decarbonize today, however, there isn’t enough being produced to fuel global demand for even a week. With around 90% of Delta’s carbon emissions coming from jet fuel, we're innovating across the business to find areas to reduce fuel consumption, while advocating for the incentives we need to scale the SAF market. 

Beyond doing our part to scale the SAF market, Delta is taking measures to make the in-flight travel experience more sustainable through actions like: switching to compostable bamboo cutlery and testing paper cups; offering pre-select meals to streamline provisioning; swapping core ground support equipment with electric models, and more.  

Follow along for daily updates, including images and b-roll available for download.