The idea behind Virgin America was to build a new kind of airline from the ground up. Since our 2007 launch, we’ve built sustainable practices into our operation from day one. Not only do we want to make our teammates and guests feel good when they fly us – we also want to make travelers feel good about flying with us.
Investment in new aircraft and engines, the latest navigational systems, and consistent use of best practices on the ground and in the air, have made our fleet more fuel efficient than the U.S. industry average. Although our emissions numbers continue to put us among the top in the U.S. industry in fuel efficiency, we are looking to the future for new ways to reduce our footprint even as we grow.
The most impactful way for an airline to minimize its carbon footprint is to have a young and fuel-efficient fleet and Virgin America's current Airbus A320 family fleet is the youngest in the U.S. and up to 15% more fuel efficient than other U.S. domestic fleets. In 2013 we took delivery of our first Airbus A320 family aircraft with sharklets, wingtip devices with the potential to help the airline realize up to 4% in additional fuel efficiency across the network. And in December 2015, we announced that beginning in 2017, we will begin adding state-of-the-art Airbus A321neo aircraft into our fleet. The neos are equipped with engines that will make them up to 20 percent more fuel and carbon efficient than our already very efficient current fleet - equivalent to cutting 5,000 tons of CO2 emissions per plane every year.
Our sleek and energy-efficient new home at San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 2 (T2) achieved LEED® Gold-certification, and Virgin America’s T2 office spaces in 2012 achieved the highest possible LEED® Platinum-certification. Both the Gold and Platinum levels are the first such certifications for a major commercial airport in the U.S.
As a Virgin-branded carrier and as the only airline headquartered in California, sustainability is important to our community, our guests and our teammates. And our employee-led Green Team continues to lead the charge at home by finding new ways to reduce our footprint.
Challenge and change have always propelled industries toward more innovation and greater efficiency. While no airline can be perfect, by continuing to lead the industry in operational best practices and making serious investments in aircraft and facilities, we hope to push ourselves – and the airline industry – toward a more sustainable future. We encourage you to explore this page for more on our efforts.
David Cush, President and CEO