Virgin Atlantic recently completed the first ever commercial flight using LanzaTech’s new sustainable aviation fuel, marking a big step forward for the airline industry.
Reducing carbon emissions is a big priority for the airline and innovations such as this could have a significant impact on their long-term carbon footprint.
"The LanzaTech process is so exciting because this fuel takes waste, carbon-rich gases that would otherwise go up the chimneys of steel and aluminium mills and gives them a second life – so that new fossil fuels don’t have to be taken out of the ground," explains Richard Branson.
"It has the potential to produce up to 125 million gallons per year in the UK - enough to fuel 100 per cent of Virgin Atlantic’s flights departing Britain. This would result in nearly one million tonnes of CO2 savings per year, equivalent to 2,100 roundtrips flights between London Heathrow and JFK airports."
Back on the ground the airline has been busy making a number of other changes this year, as they aim to make the way they travel smarter and more sustainable. From working with top designers such as Vivienne Westwood to ensure sustainability, as well as style, is built into their iconic uniforms to raising sustainability standards across all their food offerings, the business is determined to change things for the better.
One area in which they’ve been able to make real headway is through their choice of company vehicles - not just in the air but on the ground.
In 2016 Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays moved into a shared office, with the aim of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. Throughout 2018 work has continued to make the base for the businesses as sustainable as possible, including how people travel to the office.
"We’ve been trying really hard to improve our sustainable travel to our office buildings so that includes running a car share scheme and we’re making some really positive improvements in our fleet of company vehicles , transitioning where we can to electric cars and for the rest to hybrid cars,” explains Virgin Atlantic’s Lee Hill, Facility Services. “Energy emissions, although small relative to our aircraft emissions are still really important for us to reduce."
To find out more about the airline’s sustainability programme, Change is in the Air, head over to the Virgin Atlantic website.