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 up to 20% 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 fleet is the youngest in the U.S. and up to 20% 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 to 4% additional fuel efficiency across the network. Future deliveries in 2015 and 2016 will also be equipped with the fuel-efficient sharklets.
In 2011, we opened our sleek and energy-efficient new home at San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 2 (T2). The Terminal 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 efficiencies. 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