Royal Mail is cutting the number of domestic flights it operates in half as it looks to reduce carbon emissions and improve reliability for customers.

The mail transport business says the move will save 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, as well as improve reliability for customers and help meet the growing demand for next-day deliveries, as road vehicles are less likely to be delayed by bad weather and road fleets are less capacity-constrained.

A total of 18 domestic flights are being axed.

Royal Mail said the move is a “significant step” in helping it achieve its target of being net zero by 2040, and part of the company’s wider modernisation and transformation programme.

The first wave of 11 flights made their final journeys in June, with an additional three flights stopping in July and a further four early next year.

The only domestic flights that will remain are those that are essential for Royal Mail to fulfil its Universal Service Obligation to provide a next day delivery service to all 32 million addresses in the UK.

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Royal Mail COO Alistair Cochrane, said: “The removal of half of our domestic flights is our biggest step yet in reducing our use of air to transport mail and a major step towards our Net-Zero by 2040 target.

“Not only will this reduce carbon emissions, transporting more mail by road will also help us provide a more reliable service for customers and increase our capacity to meet the increasing demand for next day parcel deliveries.

“Moving letters and parcel by air has played a significant role in Royal Mail’s history, enabling us to fulfil our commitment to provide a next day delivery service to every address in the UK. However, we are continually modernising and these changes to our network mean that we can reduce our reliance on air which is good for our customers and the environment.”

Last month, Royal Mail said it had saved an estimated 2,000 tonnes of waste a year by using reusable trolley sleeves.

It has also used over 10 million litres of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) to power its heavy goods vehicle (HGV) fleet, marking its first milestone in the rollout of renewable fuel across its HGV fleet.

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