Why Alaska Airlines Will Plant A Tree Each Time It Flies To Hawaii

Alaska Airlines has partnered with the Hawaii Tourism Authority to plant one tree for every flight it operates to Hawaii. As part of the Malama Hawaii initiative, the carrier is set to plant up to 900 trees through the end of 2020 with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI).

Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines is working with local organizations to preserve the Hawaiian environment. Photo: Alaska Airlines

A tree for every flight to Hawaii

Alaska Airlines has committed to preserving the Hawaiian environment by planting hundreds of trees this year, one for each flight to Hawaii. The airline is working together with HLRI, an organization striving to offset the harmful impact of commercialization and agriculture across the islands.

The airline is set to plant around 900 trees on Oahu island. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Trees will be planted on the island of Oahu at Gunstock Ranch to help restore the local ecosystem, providing a natural habitat for the island’s birds, insects, and wildlife. In a blog post, the airline provided details of its latest program and why it is so important for the ecosystem of Hawaii,

“By planting an Alaska Airlines Legacy Tree and helping to offset your carbon footprint during your stay in Hawaii, you’ll be making a difference for our island home.”

Alaska Airlines customers can get personally involved in the project by sponsoring an Alaska Airlines Legacy Tree. For $60, customers will receive their tree’s ID number, GPS location, and an electronic certificate of sponsorship. The tree which will be planted is the Milo tree, long considered sacred by natives. An Alaska Airlines spokesperson has confirmed with Simple Flying that sponsored trees will be in addition to the 900 trees they have already committed to planting.

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Malama Hawaii projects

The Malama Hawaii initiative aims to preserve Hawaii’s natural environment by encouraging both businesses and tourists to participate in various projects. Along with Alaska Airlines, major hotel chains, including Sheraton, Marriott, Hilton, and Four Seasons, are participating. According to the Malama Hawaii website,

“Volunteer projects range from reforestation and tree planting to self-directed beach cleanups, ocean reef preservation, and creating Hawaiian quilts for our Kupuna (elders).”

As tourists look set to return to Hawaii in the coming months, local authorities hope to instill awareness and respect for the natural environment. The Malama (care for in Hawaiian) Hawaii initiative was set up to do just that. Daniel Chun, an executive for Alaska Airlines and board member of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, explains,

“As we welcome visitors back to Hawaii, we want to support awareness of mindful travel to the Islands—both in the air and on the ground,”

Alaska Airlines and the environment

The tree-planting project in Hawaii is the latest environmental initiative undertaken by Alaska Airlines. Ben Minicucci, President of Alaska Airlines, has already been spotted planting native trees in Hawaii at Gunstock Ranch. In October, the airline announced a partnership with Microsoft to reduce its CO2 emissions through sustainable aviation fuel.

Why Alaska Airlines Will Plant A Tree Each Time It Flies To Hawaii
Alaska Airlines president Ben Minicucci plans a Milo tree at Gunstock Ranch. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines also rolled out another unique initiative in the same month with surf forecasting website Surfline. Airfare discounts at top surfing hotspots, including Hawaii and California, are directly tied to the size of the waves – the bigger the waves, the bigger the discount.

Will you get involved by sponsoring a tree or joining a volunteer project?