Virgin Blue backs Branson campaign

Australia’s Virgin Blue has thrown its support behind Sir Richard Branson’s global call to reduce aircraft fuel emissions.The six year old airline which already operates one of the world’s most fuel efficient fleets, will target up to 5% further reduction of aircraft emissions per aircraft by 2008 and will commit to work proactively with energy providers to support the development and trialling of new green fuels.

Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said “We wholeheartedly endorse Sir Richard’s sustainable aviation vision.”

“Naturally there’s a commercial benefit to operating a fuel efficient fleet but the larger responsibility is related to climate change. It is time critical and no airline, airport, Government, regulator, environmental group or energy provider can solve it alone.”

“We are prepared to set ourselves a challenge to further reduce our own emissions and we are willing to consider investment in initiatives which support development of alternative fuel technologies or changes in aviation operational processes” he added.

Virgin Blue has achieved a 15% reduction in aircraft carbon emission output per aircraft following its decision in 2001 to replace its launch fleet with all new Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG) aircraft.

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Under its New World Carrier strategy Virgin Blue formed a Fuel Management Group to examine aircraft fuel utilisation and greenhouse gas reductions through fuel burn efficiency.

The group has completed a comprehensive study of Virgin Blue’s fuel management practices and has launched a program to achieve even greater operational efficiency through factors ranging from APU (auxiliary power unit) usage and more efficient flightpaths, to aircraft weight reduction.

As part of its company-wide commitment to protection of the environment, Virgin Blue has also introduced the first of a series of initiatives including:

? Development of minimisation and recycling strategies for office, airport and aircraft waste;

? Design of Virgin Blue’s new $25-million Brisbane maintenance hangar to include eco-efficiency features such as an integrated waste management program, high efficiency lighting and 50,000 litre rainwater recycle system for aircraft washing;

? Incorporation of eco-efficiency initiatives such as environmentally sustainable development (ESD) rated products, high energy lighting, low emission paints in the airline’s new offices and airport lounges;

? Development of environmental management plans for mainline ports;

? Active participation along with airport authorities, regulatory agencies and community groups to manage aircraft noise abatement;

? Implementation of eco-efficiency initiatives in partnership with Planet Ark and Lexmark;

? Recycling of desktop and laptop computers through Green PC.
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