The airline industry is well known for being a heavy producer of greenhouse gasses – aviation accounts for two percent of greenhouse gas production worldwide. However, the relatively new U.S. carrier Virgin America has been ranked by Greenopia as the greenest domestic airline due to its fuel conservation, recycling programs, and other green practices.
Virgin America’s relatively new fleet of airplanes aids in its fuel efficiency, but the airline also makes a conscious effort to equip their aircraft with the best in fuel efficient technology and employs fuel-saving practices like single-engine taxiing and reduced thrust takeoffs. Virgin America also leads in green building efforts. For example, their headquarters are LEED Silver Certified, a designation for green building developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
In addition, Virgin America was one of the first U.S. airlines to make public it’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the Virgin parent company has pioneered the practice of offering carbon offset programs to customers.
About the author: Dave Pflieger is the CEO and Managing Director of Air Pacific, Ltd., Fiji’s national airline. An experienced airline executive who served as Senior Vice President at Virgin America, Mr. Pflieger is also an attorney and former military pilot and flight instructor.
Air travel is a highly intensive creator of greenhouse gasses. With 2-3% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions produced by commercial aircraft, taking a flight has an impact on the environment. Virgin Atlantic was one of the first airlines to publish their greenhouse gas emissions and is working to help reduce greenhouse emissions through greener practices as well as through offsetting carbon emissions.
With the Virgin Atlantic’s Carbon Calculator, found at http://www.virginatlantic.myclimate.org, travelers can calculate the amount of carbon needed to offset their travel. For example a round trip economy flight from New York City to Los Angeles would cost about $16 to offset. Those dollars would help to reduce or remove the carbon emitted from the flight so there is no net gain in greenhouse gasses.
Virgin Atlantic aims to be transparent about the carbon impact of their flights, as well as to partner with organizations that find innovative solutions to climate change.
About the Author: Currently the CEO and Managing Director of Air Pacific, Ltd., Dave Pflieger has served as Senior Vice President at Virgin America, where he also served as a pilot. David Pflieger trained as a pilot and an attorney, he has experience both as general counsel and as a pilot and flight instructor.
In addition to the marine activities for which Fiji is renowned internationally, the country offers numerous inland pursuits for visitors. River and coastal sea kayaking are popular activities, as is whitewater rafting in the interior of the country’s main island, Viti Levu. This island’s Wainikoroiluva River and scenic Upper Navua Gorge are characterized by Class II and III whitewater rapids that offer a challenging yet comfortable course for novices and experienced rafters alike. Cultural attractions are also a major part of Fiji’s appeal. The islands of Denarau, Sigatoka, and Nadi offer distinct and varied artwork and handicrafts. Island marketplaces are ideal for obtaining great deals on wood carvings, exquisitely crafted jewelry, and ornamental tanoa bowls for kava. Food lovers have an abundance of tropical fruits, vegetables, and pungent Indian spices from which to choose.
About the Author
As Chairman of Tourism Fiji, David Pflieger oversees campaigns that seek to highlight visitor entertainments in the island nation. He is also the CEO of Air Pacific, Ltd., which is soon to be rebranded as Fiji Airways.
When David Pflieger, a former Virgin America executive, took charge of Air Pacific in 2010, he faced stagnant passenger loads and negative returns. Initially, he increased on-time service and improved customer relations. He upped ridership, cut costs, and ordered new Airbus A330 jets to improve flight range and fuel efficiency. Pflieger’s changes have already increased ridership and profits. On October 10, 2012, Air Pacific debuted its rebranding effort, which will focus on the island roots of Fiji’s national airline.
After May of 2013, Air Pacific will change its name to Fiji Airways. The airline will complete its rebranding process before January of 2014. The change in brand will make it easier for consumers and travel agents to identify the airline’s core mission: providing excellent service for tourists who wish to vacation in Fiji. The new look includes native Fijian artwork on the bellies, wings, and tails of the planes. The chosen symbols represent the friendly welcomes, white sand, and blue waters for which Fiji is known. In addition, the new airplanes feature more comfortable seating with 110-volt plug-ins so that travelers can recharge their electronic devices in flight.
The second part of this article will discuss how David Pflieger’s innovations will increase the airline’s international recognition.