Virgin America Joins EPA Climate Leaders Program
California-based Company Becomes First Commercial Passenger Airline to Join Program
San Francisco — Oct. 8, 2008 — Virgin America, the California-based airline on a mission to make flying good again, today announced it has been accepted into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Leaders program, under which government and industry join forces to develop comprehensive climate change strategies. By becoming a member of Climate Leaders, Virgin America has committed to reducing the airline’s impact on the environment, beginning with an EPA-led inventory of the company’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“As a both a Virgin-branded aviation company and the only California-based airline, it is in our DNA to make environmentally sustainable practices a core priority in our business model,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. “Without a viable alternative to jet fuel, we hope that this partnership will allow us and the industry to find new ways to reduce our collective impact on the environment.”
Virgin America is the first commercial passenger airline to be accepted into the Climate Leaders program. Following the results of the company’s Emissions Inventory, Virgin America will work with EPA to set carbon reduction goals and annually report its progress.
Virgin America operates the newest fleet of commercial aircraft in the U.S., which is up to 30 percent more fuel and carbon efficient than the average fleet flying domestically. In addition, the airline has built sustainable practices into its training and operations since launching operations in August of 2007. Utilizing the latest in aircraft and engine technology, as well as the newest avionics on its aircraft, Virgin America employs practices that reduce fuel burn and emissions such as single engine taxiing, maximizing the use of airport ground power, idle reverse landings, and cost index flying – the practice of regulating cruising speeds to reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions.
“EPA applauds our corporate partners who are reducing their climate footprints in cost-effective ways,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Not only is Virgin America contributing to this country’s energy independence, the airline is proving that businesses can save green by going green.”
In addition to environmentally sound operational changes, Virgin America’s minority investor, the Virgin Group, has committed to reinvesting all profits from its transportation related business into the research of renewable fuels and other initiatives that combat climate change. Virgin America also has partnered with Ceres, a leading coalition of investors, environmental organizations, and public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges.
Virgin America currently flies to seven cities with daily flights from: SFO to LAX, SFO to JFK, SFO to SAN, SFO to IAD, SFO to LAS, SFO to SEA, LAX to JFK, LAX to IAD, LAX to SEA, and non-stop JFK to LAS.
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EDITORS NOTE: Virgin America is a U.S. controlled and operated airline and an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America.
About Virgin America: Launched in August 2007, Virgin America is a California-based airline that offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. Virgin America’s base of operations is San Francisco International Airport’s ultra-modern and convenient International Terminal. The airline’s new Airbus A320-family aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets for electronic gear. In September 2008, Virgin America was rated the “Best Business Class” among U.S. carriers in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2008 Business Travel Poll. In July 2008, Virgin America was named “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. In Zagat’s 2007 Global Airlines Survey, the airline was ranked #1 among U.S. carriers for quality in First/Business Class. To learn more:www.virginamerica.com