Virgin America Named the Most Eco-Friendly Airline
Virgin America Wins SmarterTravel Editors’ Choice Award, Announces LEED-Silver Certification of Headquarters
San Francisco — May 26, 2010 — Virgin America was named the Most Eco-Friendly Airline in the SmarterTravel Editors’ Choice Awards. In addition to this recognition, the airline announced that it has recently completed the LEED certification process for its Burlingame-based headquarters with its landlord Equity Office.
Virgin America moved into its Burlingame, California headquarters in 2005, in a building which was originally built in 1995 and not certified. As part of Virgin America’s renewal contract, the airline worked with their landlord Equity Office to ensure that the building would be retrofitted to meet LEED Silver standards. The project was complete at the end of 2009 and was approved earlier this month by the U.S. Green Buildings Counsel.
In addition the airline is expanding its presence at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) by becoming one of two anchor tenants in the airport’s new Terminal 2 facility. The $383 million Terminal 2 project is also anticipated to achieve Silver LEED Certification — and when completed in 2011, will serve as the home base of San Francisco’s only hometown airline. Designed to improve indoor air quality and reduce energy consumption, the innovative sustainable elements included in Terminal 2 will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the facility by an estimated 1,667 tons per year. In addition — Terminal 2 will offer preferential parking for hybrid cars and the first airport dining program in the country to recruit Slow Food® vendors.
In addition to Virgin America’s headquarters growth, the airline is expanding its presence at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) by becoming one of two anchor tenants in the airport’s new Terminal 2 facility. The $383 million Terminal 2 project is also anticipated to achieve Silver LEED Certification – and when completed in 2011, will serve as the home base of San Francisco’s only hometown airline. Designed to improve indoor air quality and reduce energy consumption, the innovative sustainable elements included in Terminal 2 will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the facility by an estimated 1,667 tons per year. In addition — Terminal 2 will offer preferential parking for hybrid cars and the first airport dining program in the country to recruit Slow Food® vendors.
“We worked hard to make our headquarters operation as environmentally efficient as possible through recycling and electric and water efficiency upgrades, and we’re proud to have that same focus on sustainable operations reflected in the design of our new home at SFO’s Terminal 2,” said Len Sloper, Manager of Corporate Real Estate for Virgin America. “SFO has been a great partner in this project and we’re excited to share this new terminal with our guests.”
Since its launch Virgin America has operated a brand new fleet that is up to 25% more fuel and carbon efficient than the average fleet flying domestically. The airline employs practices such as single engine taxiing, maximizing use of efficient ground power, utilizing advanced avionics to fly more efficiently, and cost index flying – the practice of regulating cruising speeds to reduce fuel burn.
Virgin America is the first airline to list its carbon footprint according to internationally-accepted standards via The Climate Registry. The airline is also the first to offer guests the ability to offset the carbon footprint of their flight – in-flight via the touch-screen Red seatback entertainment through partner Carbonfund.org. Virgin America also voluntarily offsets its headquarters footprint on an annual basis. On October 1, 2009, Virgin America published 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). The report also benchmarks the airline’s leading performance versus other domestic carriers. In addition, Virgin America has initiated recycling pilot initiatives and currently recycles in-flight waste from approximately 47 percent of its flights. The airline intends to expand these recycling efforts further in 2010. Virgin America’s Company-wide Green Teams also involve teammates at all levels of the organizations to find new ways to reduce our collective footprint. For more on Virgin America’s climate record, please visit: http://www.virginamerica.com/va/aboutus.do?pageName=environmentalSustainability
SmarterTravel® editors’ 2010 picks include the best airlines, airports, reward/loyalty programs, providers and reward cards among others. Overall, SmarterTravel gave the highest marks to companies that have remained focused on providing value and service for great customer experience.
“Our editors follow the ins and outs of the travel industry every day and they have chosen the best of the best in each category,” said Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel. “These winners are meeting the needs of today’s traveler.”
Click here for more information on the winners and to see the full list.
As planned, Virgin America is still poised for major growth and expects to take delivery of six additional aircraft in 2010. By this time next year, the airline expects that its fleet will have grown by almost one-third. In addition to Orlando and Toronto, Virgin America intends to launch at least three more new destinations in 2010.
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EDITORS NOTE: Virgin America is a U.S. controlled and operated airline. 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. The airline’s base of operations is San Francisco International Airport’s International Terminal. The airline’s 28 new Airbus A320-family 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. Elevate is Virgin America’s first-of-its-kind loyalty program, which offers guests the ability to redeem points for any unsold seat on any Virgin America flight, at any time. For more: www.virginamerica.com
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