Virgin America the Official Airline of Governors Climate Summit
California Carrier Publishes 2008 Climate Report
San Francisco – October 1, 2009 – Virgin America, the California-based airline that is reinventing domestic travel, is serving as the Official Domestic Airline of the Governors’ Second Annual Climate Summit taking place in Los Angeles from Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Today, the airline publishes its first annual Climate Report, which includes an overview of its industry-leading sustainability efforts as well as comprehensive 2008 emissions data for all six internationally-recognized greenhouse gases (GHGs). Earlier this year, Virgin America became the first U.S. airline to join The Climate Registry and commit to reporting its emissions according to The Climate Registry’s independent and rigorous standards.
“As the only California-based airline and one that launched with the goal of making sustainability part of our business model, we’re proud to be a part of this year’s summit,” said David Cush President and CEO of Virgin America. “Convening leaders across the public and private sectors is critical if we’re to develop meaningful, economically-viable solutions to the challenge of climate change. Along with investing in newer aircraft and the latest technologies, the airline industry must partner with the public sector to incentivize the new fuels and innovation that will ultimately make air travel more environmentally friendly. In addition to being transparent about our emissions and
Today, Cush is scheduled to serve on a plenary session at the event with Governor Schwarzenegger, Governor Doyle, Governor Kulongoski and other industry leaders to discuss how the private and public sectors can help drive technological innovation and economic growth.
“From its launch in 2007, the San Francisco-based Virgin America has harnessed innovation to not only reinvent the typical amenities found on domestic flights – but also to reduce its carbon footprint,” said Linda Adams, California Secretary for Environmental Protection. “It is fitting that a California airline is taking a progressive lead to set benchmarks for its emissions and utilize best practices and new technology. We’re pleased to have them participate in the discussions today and serve as the Official Domestic Airline of this year’s summit.”
Since it launched, Virgin America has made environmentally sustainable practices part of its training and operations. The carrier operates a new Airbus A320-family fleet that is up to 25% more CO2 efficient than other domestic fleets and employs progressive practices to reduce its footprint, such as minimizing use of auxiliary power units, single engine taxiing, idle reverse landings, utilizing advanced avionics to fly more efficiently, and cost index flying – the practice of regulating cruising speed to reduce fuel burn.
Virgin America’s 2008 climate report includes the carrier’s inventory of its first full year of GHG emissions. The report also benchmarks the airline’s performance versus other domestic carriers and includes information on the sustainable best practices it employs. In October 2008, Virgin America became the first commercial passenger airline to join EPA’s Climate Leaders program. Since that time, the airline has worked with EPA to review and approve the inventory of its annual GHG emissions. For 2008, the carrier reported emissions of 573,296 MT CO2-e – the equivalent CO2 of104,999 passenger vehicles per year.
The Climate Registry sets consistent and transparent standards to calculate, verify and publicly report GHG emissions. Forty-one U.S. states, Washington D.C., 12 Canadian provinces and territories, six Mexican states and four native sovereign nations sit on its Board of Directors. For an emissions report to be accepted by The Climate Registry and labeled as Climate Registered™, it must include applicable data on all six internationally-recognized GHGs for all North American locations. The data must be reported according to the comprehensive and rigorous standards established in The Climate Registry’s General Reporting Protocol (GRP) and verified by an independent, third-party Verification Body that is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and recognized by The Climate Registry.
“We’re proud to join visionary California leaders in calling for transparency in reporting and controlling CO2 and other greenhouse gases. We hope to do our part to promote awareness about the impact our industry has on the environment. Today, we are one of the most carbon-efficient U.S. airlines and it is our goal to maintain that leadership and further decrease our CO2 footprint in the years ahead,” added Cush.
Earlier this year, Virgin America became the first airline to offer carbon offsets in-flight via its touch-screen seatback Red™ entertainment platform and Carbonfund.org. Virgin America and Carbonfund.org selected offset projects focused on emissions reductions and energy efficiency primarily in California. As with all projects supported by Carbonfund.org, these projects are independently verified. The new carrier also looked to Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) CarbonOffsetList.org to help it find a highly credible carbon offset provider and to select meaningful offset projects. Virgin America offsets the carbon footprint of its headquarters operation on an annual basis, by purchasing verifiable CO2 offsets.
Virgin America is proud to be affiliated with the Virgin Group, which has committed to reinvesting all profits from Virgin-transport related businesses to renewable fuels research and other initiatives that combat climate change. Virgin America’s sustainability principles can be found at: http://www.virginamerica.com/va/html/sustainability.pdf
Launched in August 2007, Virgin America offers travelers low fares and high-tech features, including touch-screen seatback entertainment, standard power outlets near every seat and Gogo® In-flight Internet on every flight. Virgin America’s mood-lit, custom-designed new cabins feature more comfortable, ergonomically correct leather seats and Red™ – the most advanced entertainment system in the U.S. skies. Most recently, the airline took the top honors for “Best Business/First Class” among domestic airlines in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2009 Business Travel Poll.
Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Orange County and as of Nov. 18, 2009 – Fort Lauderdale. The airline currently offers daily flights from: SFO to LAX, SFO to JFK, SFO to SAN, SFO to IAD, SFO to LAS, LAX to JFK, LAX to IAD, SFO to SEA, SEA to LAX, JFK to LAS, BOS to LAX, BOS to SFO, SFO to SNA and as of Nov. 18, 2009, LAX to FLL and SFO to FLL.
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Media Contact: Abby Lunardini firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITORS NOTE: Virgin America is a U.S.-controlled, owned and operated airline. It is an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America.
About Virgin America: Headquartered in California and launched in August 2007, Virgin America is one of the fastest growing start-up U.S. airlines of all time and currently employs over 1500 people. Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. The airline’s base of operations is San Francisco International Airport’s modern International Terminal. The airline’s new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat for electronic gear. Virgin America offers in-flight internet service on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the U.S. skies via its touch-screen Red™ seatback system. In just over two years flying, the airline was named "Best Domestic Airline” in the Condé Nast Traveler 2008 Readers’ Choice Awards and in Travel + Leisure’s 2008 and 2009 World’s Best Awards. For more visit: www.virginamerica.com.