|Category: Brand Ratings -> Airline Companies -> Virgin America|
Average Fleet Age: 3
Greenopia Environment Achievement:
Virgin is positioning itself as a green leader in air travel and its actions back up its claims. Since Virgin is a relatively new airline, it has the most current fleet (about 3years old on average). This means that Virgin’s planes are very efficient in both fuel consumption and emissions. Virgin installs winglets on its planes which lead to better fuel efficiency (and therefore fewer emissions). Virgin has made progress with biofuels and has even done several flights with planes solely powered by biofuels. Virgin has a comprehensive recycling program and hopes to divert 50% of its waste by 2012. Presently, Virgin has an in-flight recycling rate of around 47%. While many airlines have yet to add any environmental or ethically sourced food options, Virgin has risen to the challenge and serves only fair trade coffee and also has some local or organic options. Virgin offers passengers the ability to offset their carbon footprint when flying and the projects they source are good mostly revolving around green energy generation. Lastly, Virgin’s headquarters is LEED certified and that its new terminal at San Francisco Airport has received LEED Gold status..
Although Virgin does very well in all of our categories, there are a few airline chains that have been more successful with their in-flight recycling programs (in terms of recycling rate). Also, Virgin has not released an updated sustainability report for some time, which is very surprising given how much effort they put in their original reports.
In spite of some outdated environmental reporting, Virgin is still our greenest overall airline for the fourth straight year.