Environmental management

Icelandair is an environmentally-conscious company and recognises the impact that air travel has on the environment. The Company is dedicated to minimising its environmental impact by addressing its responsibilities to reduce emissions, conserve natural resources, as well as optimise the use of sustainable energy and recyclable materials.

Icelandair is certified to the highest level of IATA (The International Air Transport Association) Environmental Assessment program (IEnvA), which requires demonstration of ongoing environmental performance improvements. The IEnvA programme uses environmental standards and promotes best practices in the aviation sector. These are based on recognized environmental management system principles such as ISO 14001. Assessments are conducted by accredited independent organisations with competencies in aviation and environmental auditing.

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Sustainable business growth requires the Company to address its environmental impact, both globally and locally. As part of this effort, Icelandair participates in the work of various environmental working groups, such as with the Airlines for Europe (A4E). Europe’s airlines have committed to decarbonize air transport and accelerate their efforts to make Europe the world’s first carbon neutral continent by 2050 through the reduction of CO2 emissions in absolute terms, and through CO2 mitigation.

Sustainability challenges cannot be met in isolation and Icelandair therefore participates in a number of sustainability initiatives. These are for example, the Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation (NISA) and The Nordic Network for Electric Aviation (NEA). NISA is an association working to promote and develop a more sustainable aviation industry, with a specific focus on alternative sustainable fuels for the aviation sector. NEA is a platform where Nordic actors come together to accelerate the introduction of electric aviation in the Nordic countries. Their programs explore development of alternative fuels and electric airplanes.

Participation in sustainability initiatives plays an important role in the continuous development of the Company’s approach to addressing sustainability challenges.

Iceland can lead the way in carbon free domestic flights

Icelandair sets a high standard when it comes to environmental matters, and we believe that we are in a good position to become one of the first airlines in the world to make domestic flights carbon-free. In 2021, the Company signed two declarations of intent to explore emerging technologies in hydrogen and electric powered aircraft. The former with Universal Hydrogen, which has designed energy exchange equipment to turn Icelandair's Dash-8s into hydrogen-powered airplanes. The second is with Heart Aerospace, which is working on developing passenger aircraft powered by electricity.

Short routes and easy access to electricity from renewable sources place Iceland in a vital position in terms of energy exchange in domestic flights. The projects also fit well with the government's policy framework for the future of tourism, which aims to make Iceland a leader in sustainability.



Icelandair’s goal is to minimise waste and increase recycling in all operations where restrictions by laws and regulations do not restrict waste separation.

Total amount of waste generated by Icelandair was 688 tonnes in 2021. The geographical location of operations and the legal environment must be considered as in some cases these factors may restrict waste separation, as cabin waste is subject to national waste management controls that are strict to protect agricultural sectors. That means that all cabin waste that has come in contact with or is made from animal products must be incinerated.

The decrease in travel demand has had the side effects that the amount of waste generated from the Company is considerably less than in a normal operating year. The biggest impact there is the decrease in operations in the catering Kitchen at Keflavik Airport and the services on board were minimised to limit contact between passengers and crew members. To respond to the situation, the Company has, in co-operation with its waste service provider, changed the frequency of the waste collection to eliminate unnecessary trips with empty waste containers.

Icelandair has initiated various successful projects to improve waste recycling within the Company such as further usage of used oils, timber and metal that goes into appropriate recycling streams. In line with law and regulation, all hazardous waste is returned to certified parties to ensure their proper treatment.

The Company that handles all garbage collection and disposal for Icelandair is licensed by the Environment Agency.

Promoting responsible use of resources

The amount of indirectly consumed energy, electricity and heat, is not a significant aspect in Icelandair environmental management system.

The production of electricity and heat in Iceland are mainly from renewable sources and therefore have a low carbon footprint. Almost all (99%) electricity in Iceland is produced using renewable energy sources. Our use of geothermal energy for space heating, with heat distributed to buildings through extensive district-heating systems, results in about 85% of houses in Iceland being heated with geothermal energy.

Nevertheless, we have implemented the best available technology in house management systems in our newest buildings in Hafnarfjörður and the hangar in Keflavík, to monitor efficiency in usage of electricity and heat.

From our electricity provider we get a guarantee of origin for all our consumption.



Aircraft noise is a significant part of the environmental issues associated with aviation, impacting communities and habitats in the vicinity of airports. This noise is mainly caused by engines but also aerodynamic noise. Requirements have been set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the European Union Safety Association (EASA) to minimize the effect caused to the surroundings.

Icelandair complies with these limitation and guidelines and is, in addition, gradually replacing its older fleet with new generation aircraft that create less noise than older models. Procedures have been adapted to reduce environmental effect and close cooperation with local communities has had a positive impact in reducing noise pollution. Noise pollution from air traffic in 2021 was not a significant environmental issue to monitor in Icelandair's operation during the year.

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