Virgin Atlantic to slash emissions by 100,000 tonnes

Virgin Atlantic is on track to reduce fuel emissions amounting to 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and save £20m a year, according to the airline's third annual sustainability report.

Published today, the report has revealed that the company is on track to meet its target to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% between 2007 and 2020.

The installation of new computer software allows Virgin Atlantic to accurately monitor fuel burn against a variety of conditions and variables. These include arrival delays, holding patterns at destination, pilot technique, flight plans and maintenance activities.

With an accurate fuel burn picture, the software developed by by OSyS, a subsidiary of Rolls Royce, allows Virgin Atlantic to drive fuel efficiency.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway insisted that despite the nature of the business, airlines could be environmentally responsible.

“An airline striving to be green is not the contradiction in terms that people may think and this report is a further statement of our commitment to meet those green ambitions,” he said.

Virgin Atlantic’s future fuel use is also expected to be significantly reduced due to this year’s introduction of seven new Airbus A330 aircraft. Each aircraft is up to 15% more fuel efficient on a per-seat basis than the aircraft they replace in the fleet.

Meanwhile work is continuing with New Zealand-based company LanzaTech on the world’s first low-carbon aviation fuel which uses waste gases that would otherwise be burnt into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

“Fuel use is our number one environmental issue – as well as a significant financial one. We have worked hard to develop innovative solutions to this matter and this is resulting in major benefits on two fronts as we reduce our carbon footprint and at the same time deliver major cost savings to the airline,” added Ridgway.

By 2050, the aviation industry has committed to reduce its net carbon footprint to 50% below 2005 levels.

Conor McGlone

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