Nature Air voluntarily compensates 100% of its carbon emission through the preservation of tropical forests in Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula. The company offsets more than 6,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually through the purchase of local carbon credits that help conserve one of the region’s most biologically diverse regions. Since 2004, Nature Air has helped protect more than 350 hectares of privately owned forests. In addition, Nature Air managed to decrease its carbon output by more than 7% through improvements made in their operations, scheduling and flight plans.
The company is committed to opening up new destinations and offering both international travelers and local residents the opportunity to travel to 15 exciting destinations in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama in just minutes.
More than ten years ago, no reliable airlines existed in Costa Rica or Central America serving adventure travel destinations. Services were often slow, chaotic and inconvenient for international and regional tourists. Whole communities were essentially cut off from the world in certain seasons. The catch was that these destinations were often the most beautiful and most in need of sustainable tourism projects to preserve their natural richness.
The conditions were ripe for a new airline. Travel Air had been founded by two Alaskan bush pilots in 1990. The original owners had a handful of routes to select tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Meanwhile, a consulting company called Naturegate out of San Francisco, California was working in Central America on sustainable tourism projects. The Naturegate team knew from personal experience that road travel was long, arduous and even dangerous. They also struggled with the viability of tourism projects in beautiful destinations, but without adequate transportation infrastructure.
In 2000, when working on a sustainability project in Costa Rica – Alex Khajavi, CEO of Naturegate, found out that Travel Air was for sale. Without any airline experience, but with more than 25 years in sustainable tourism development and investment banking, the Khajavi family essentially sold their homes, packed their bags and moved to Costa Rica permanently to run the newly formed airline- Nature Air.
Just several months after the family established Nature Air, September 11 happened and the nascent company faced its biggest challenge. No advisers, investors, industry experts, newspapers, and local tour operators expected the business to survive. Nature Air proved everyone wrong, and since the first year they have gone from flying 18,000 passengers annually to more 120,000 in 2010. Business has grown from one plane to six - offering both scheduled and chartered flights. Growth has been at more than 35% annually compounded, and Nature Air is predicted to be one of the fastest growing companies in Latin America.
Today Nature Air is just one part of the Nature Group family. Also included is the original company, Naturegate, an Eco Resort consulting firm, the oldest Flight Academy in Latin America, the largest travel magazine in the region, NatureKids- a non-profit educational foundation that teaches English to children and their parents to help better their futures, and Nature Vacations - a travel department that has created a 100% carbon neutral vacation itinerary.
Nature Air offers 74 daily flights to 15 exciting destination in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. In May 2005, Nature Air began operating daily flights to the Arenal Volcano, one of the most well known tourism icons in Costa Rica. This flight was a watershed moment in tourism for the Arenal area. More recently, the airline began flights to the Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro in Panama, as well as the capital of Nicaragua.
In keeping with the adage, “The journey is half the fun," the planes are painted in vivid colors reflecting tropical animals and destinations. Nature Air’s planes are roomy, climate controlled and deliver a smooth ridee. In addition the large, flat windows allow unobstructed views of the volcanic activity, tropical waterfalls and even simultaneous views of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Nature Air continues to endorse Nature’s Group mission statement: Creating Destinations for Rare Experiences.
Nature Air's commitment to quality of service is clearly demonstrated by the way they have structured their programs; not from the perspective of a business owner, but from that of a traveler.
Nature Air has grown 5 times in annual revenues since it implemented the Carbon Neutrality program and is one of the fastest growing airlines in all of Latin America. The company has also been able to reduce carbon emissions through the use of bio diesel, replacing light bulbs, limiting copy paper, and recycling. Its efforts are showing travelers an airline can be carbon neutral, and help the environment, not harm it.
With Nature Air’s carbon emissions program the airline is proud of being the first carbon neutral airline in the world, but their social and environmental responsibility. The airline keeps its carbon output down by improvements made in their operations, scheduling and flight plans. Their fleet is mostly made up of De Havilland Twin Otters, which are acclaimed to be the quietest and most fuel-efficient engine option available. This provides guests the least intrusive way to journey through environmentally sensitive areas. Studies show Nature Air outputs as much carbon dioxide in a year compared to what one commercial flight outputs in 10 days from New York to London.
100% of NatureAir’s carbon emissions are compensated through the protection and reforestation of tropical forests in southern Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity zones of the Osa Pensinsula. Nature Air privately pays for 3rd party audits to be conducted of the land to ensure that these forests are being conserved and protected. In addition, Nature Air has met with and encouraged other airlines to participate in this program as a way of using tourism and transportation to protect the destinations to which they serve and benefit from, as well as offered lectures free of charge all over the world about the benefits and challenges of becoming Carbon Neutral.
Nature Air's "green" projects are ongoing. The company is an active participant and ally of various conservation and sustainability efforts including ProParques, CANAECO, Rainforest Alliance, FONAFIFO and Yaguara.
Costa Rica been named one of the world's most popular travel hot spots. To better serve tourists in the regions it serves Nature Air formed its own environmentally friendly vacations department - Nature Vacations. Nature Vacations guides and educates travelers about the eco-friendly and sustainable lodges Costa Rica has available. Our Travel Designers are fluent in English and Spanish and live, work and play here in Costa Rica. They can offer first hand experience to travelers, not just hypothetical information read from a book or imagined from a single picture in print. The travel designers will tell guests from their experience how wonderful the sounds of the Macaw’s are as the sun sets over your balcony overlooking the rainforest canopy to where it touches the Pacific.
In spring 2008 Nature Vacations created a 100% carbon neutral itinerary. From the time travelers step foot in San Jose, Costa Rica until the time they leave 100% of the carbon created will be offset. The vacation package includes guided nature walks, sustainable jungle tours, accommodations at some of the most sustainable hotels in Costa Rica, domestic airfare by Nature Air, and all transfers in a carbon neutral bio-diesel van.
Nature Air places equal emphasis on commercial success and social responsibility. Studies indicate that English speakers in Costa Rica earn on average 40 percent more income across all industries. In 2004 Nature Air created NatureKids- a non-profit organization that teaches low-income children English reading and writing and computing skills. NatureKids currently has a school in Drake Bay where more than 60 students attend twice-weekly classes, as well as workshops on computing, recycling, and environmental issues. Classes are for entire families, from children to grandparents. In 2007 The NatureKids Foundation expanded its English program, and broadened the environmental education programs for its students. The program is initiating efforts to clean up water in smaller communities and collect and recycle garbage. Environmental lessons are also given to the children to help install a sustainable practices foundation in the younger generations.
Nature Air is a member of several environmental organizations through which it educates both travelers and industry of its program, these include: