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Environmental Sustainability | Virgin America

Virgin America is proud to lead the industry in fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. However, absolute reductions are challenging for a growing airline that is projected to nearly triple its fleet size by 2019. As a result, Virgin America continues to make large–scale investments in its fleet and facilities while aggressively reviewing every niche of its operations to reduce its footprint.

Virgin America’s current Airbus A320 Family fleet is already up to 25% more fuel efficient than other domestic fleets. In 2011, the airline committed to even more efficient operations by becoming the launch customer for both the Airbus A320neo aircraft and the GE/CFM LEAP™ engine – which together will deliver one of the world’s most fuel-efficient commercial aircraft as of 2016. The new aircraft will yield a more than 15% improvement in fuel efficiency, corresponding improvements in carbon efficiency and double-digit reductions in NOx emissions. The A320neo also offers reduced engine noise, lower operating costs and up to 500 nautical miles in additional range.

As Virgin America continues to expand by adding over 200-500 new teammates per year, the airline is investing in sustainable facilities and the implementation of best practices. The airline’s Burlingame, California Headquarters has been upgraded to a LEED®-certified Silver standard and has an Energy Star Rating of 87 out of 100, with features including dual-flush toilets that reduce water use by as much as 243,000 gallons annually.

In April 2011, Virgin America opened its sleek and sustainable new home at San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 2 (T2). As the only airline headquartered at SFO and as an anchor tenant, the airline had the opportunity to inform the T2 design from the earliest stages. The Terminal has since achieved LEED® Gold–certification. Additionally, Virgin America is investing in its T2 office spaces and “Virgin Village” teammate lounge to ultimately achieve the highest possible LEED® Platinum–certification. The LEED® Gold and Platinum certifications are the first such certifications given to a major commercial airport in the U.S. For more on how Virgin America partnered with SFO to help create the nation’s most eco–efficient major airport, click here.

Consistent use of sustainable practices and the latest technology on the ground and in the air have made Virgin America’s fleet one of the most carbon efficient – up to 25% more efficient than the U.S. average. The airline 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 dynamic cost index flying – the practice of regulating cruising speed to reduce fuel burn. For more on the airline’s practices, click here.

Small changes add up: The airline is focused on furthering waste minimization and recycling efforts at Virgin America’s headquarters, onboard aircraft and AT airport facilities. For more on the airline’s waste reduction and recycling efforts, click here.

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