In 2009, Virgin America became the first airline to report its annual greenhouse gas emissions. Air travel inherently produces a lot of carbon emissions, approximately 2-3% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions are produced by commercial aircrafts; making carbon emissions public was a bold move for the company. Most commercial airlines prefer to keep their carbon “wingprint” quiet.
Starting in 2012, the European Union required airlines flying to their alliance’s 27 countries to reduce carbon emissions, and Virgin America is meeting that challenge by purchasing new LEAP turbofan engines for their Airbus A320 aircraft. These fuel-efficient engines will bring a 15% increase in efficiency to an A320 fleet that is already up to 25% more fuel efficient than the fleets of competing airlines.
In addition to efficient engines, Virgin America also makes use of conservation strategies like single-engine taxiing, lower cruising speeds, conservative takeoffs, and using ground-based electricity when possible. This all combines to make Virgin America a leader in the effort to make flying commercially a greener activity.
About the Author: Dave Pflieger is a pilot, attorney, and business executive. Having piloted both civilian and military aircrafts, David Pflieger has also been an executive for Delta Air Lines, Virgin America, and Air Pacific, Ltd., where he currently serves as CEO and Managing Director.
Dave Pflieger, the Chief Executive Officer of Air Pacific, recently praised Fiji for its “stunning” beauty and the friendliness of its people. Pflieger, who also serves as Chairman of Tourism Fiji, plans to rebrand the island nation’s national airline as Fiji Airways during the spring of 2013. Tourism Fiji recently launched an international marketing campaign built around the slogan, “Fiji: Where Happiness Finds You.” The tourism board feels that this statement sums up the essence of Fiji’s appeal to travelers who are seeking a beautiful, relaxing, and exotic vacation destination.
In 2013, Tourism Fiji plans to focus its efforts on attracting more people on honeymoons, traveling with family, or seeking luxury destinations. The group has launched a tour of India to attract new business from the subcontinent, where Fiji has been growing in popularity after being featured in several successful Bollywood films. The country’s tourism industry recovered quickly after a recent cyclone, with many resorts using the disaster as an opportunity to improve and upgrade their facilities. Tourism Fiji hopes to attract 1 million annual visitors by 2016.
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.