It isn’t easy being eco friendly as an airline. The basic principle of what you do involves something that is relatively unfriendly to the planet. That said, when you start an airline from the ground up (like Virgin America had to do), there are steps you can take to become environmentally friendly.
Here are some of the measures Virgin America put in place to become one of the most environmentally friendly airlines in the world:
The airline operates a brand new fleet of aircraft that operate up to 25% more efficiently than other domestic fleets. During ground taxiing, their aircraft use a single engine.
In January 2009, Virgin America became the first airline in the U.S. to allow customers to purchase carbon offsets through Carbonfund.org. These offsets can be purchased through RED, their award winning in-flight entertainment system. The airline also offsets the carbon footprint of their headquarters through Carbonfund.org sourced projects in California. All their measures, and a comprehensive overview of exact emissions are published yearly in their Annual Climate Report.
Virgin America is affiliated with the Virgin Group, who are investing all their transport related profits in renewable fuels research. Last year, a Virgin Atlantic jet took a test flight powered by a coconut bio-fuel blend.
Of course, at the end of the day, they still operate an airline, and until planes burn non polluting fuels, there will always be emissions, but the measures taken by Virgin America are far more impacting than any other airline.
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