America’s Green Airline By David Pflieger

Virgin America is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and running an environmentally sustainable business. In 2010 it was named the Most Eco-Friendly Airline by the SmarterTraveler Editors’ Choice Awards, and in the same year completed LEED certification for its Burlingame, California headquarters.

Virgin America takes a variety of steps to maintain its reputation as an environmentally friendly business. Their aircraft are 25 percent more fuel efficient than the average domestic fleet, a level maintained through consistent efforts such as advanced avionics that increase efficiency, single engine taxiing, and cost index flying, which is the practice of regulating cruising speeds in order to reduce the burning of fuel.

On the ground, the airline is an anchor tenant at San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 2. The terminal was built to improve indoor air quality and to reduce energy consumption, using new methods that succeeded in reducing greenhouse emissions by more than 1,500 tons per year. In addition to its sustainable practices, the Virgin Group reinvests its profits into researching alternative and sustainable fuels.

About the author: David Pflieger was among the team leading Virgin America’s efforts to become a US airline.


Virgin America’s Earth Month Efforts, By David Pflieger

Sustainability and environmental responsibility is important to Virgin America. This past Earth Day, the airline partnered with the California State Parks Foundation for the fifth year in a row to support environmental clean-up and restoration projects across the Golden State. Virgin America employees helped to plant trees and restore landscaping in their effort to preserve the parks.

The airline’s environmental efforts weren’t limited to the month of April or just their home state. Virgin America, the only airline headquartered in California, also put effort into restoration projects in Seattle, New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, and many more parks across the United States. Virgin America maintains groups of Green Teams, which strive to find avenues to reduce the company’s environmental footprint, and it is volunteers from these teams and other departments who are working to clean up the nation’s parks.

About the Author:

A former Senior Vice President at Virgin America, David Pflieger led the airline’s effort to become a US airline during its certification process.

Virgin America’s Greening Efforts By David Pflieger

Since beginning operations in 2007, the California-based airline Virgin America has worked to make environmental sustainability an everyday part of business operations. The airline uses profits to finance renewable fuel research, and engages in numerous practices to reduce its environmental impact. These include policies such as single engine taxiing, idle reverse landings, reducing the use of auxiliary power units, and using electronic flight bags to minimize impact on the environment.

In addition, the airline carrier operates a fleet of Airbus A320 planes that have the capacity to be 25 percent more efficient in terms of CO2 emissions than average airplanes in the United States. Virgin America will also be launching a line of the A320neo aircraft next year, which are expected to be much more fuel efficient.

Eager to involve customers in environmental efforts to offset their carbon footprint, Virgin America was the first domestic airline to provide the option of making a donation to the non-profit organization directly from the plane via touch screens.

About the author: A former executive with Virgin America, David Pflieger was a leader in the airline’s effort to become a United States Airline.

The World’s Most Environmentally Friendly Airline By David Pflieger

Recently declared the world’s most eco-friendly airline, Virgin America is continuously making efforts to reduce its carbon footprint while also encouraging passengers to join in. Virgin America is committed to company-wide change and has taken several steps to heighten its green initiatives, including introducing new eco-efficient aircrafts, buying office energy from renewable resources, and providing means for customers to purchase carbon offsets that reduce personal use of fossil fuels.

Not content to rest with their carbon neutrality efforts, Virgin America and the rest of the Virgin Group, founded by Sir Richard Branson, are actively seeking new ways to improve their environmental impact. In 2008, the company tested an aircraft that utilized biofuel harvested from coconuts. Currently, Virgin Atlantic, the European arm of the Virgin Air Group, is lobbying for continent-wide reduction of airplane emissions by creating a one-sky partnership between airlines. This effort is designed to cut down the number of European flights by trading open seats between different companies, ensuring that all seats are booked per flight and lowering travel redundancy and wasted fuel for partially filled planes.

About the Author: David Pflieger, former Senior Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs, General Counsel, at Virgin America and now CEO and Managing Director of Air Pacific, was instrumental in many aspects of Virgin America’s environmental initiatives, including providing the Climate Registry with the company’s greenhouse gas emissions statistics.