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Trends Carbon Reduction 2/4


“Over 99% of our carbon footprint comes from the fuel we use to power our planes, so super efficiency is the name of the game,” says Virgin Atlantic, which believes it can reduce carbon emissions from the fuel it burns by 100,000 tonnes a year over the next five years – sav- ing £20 million annually in the process – through implementation of software that “pinpoints accurately where fuel can be used more efficiently, monitoring 300 different points during each flight, enabling us to reduce fuel burn signifi- cantly”.


A spokesperson says: “Further to this, we also expect to make significant carbon and fuel savings from our new fleet – the A330s currently in service, with more to come, as well as new 787s from 2014.” The airline has set a target of reduc- ing emissions by 30% between 2007 and 2020. Virgin says fuel efficiency is the “most crucial pillar” of its sustainability plans – not only because this is where emissions are highest, but also as fuel costs continue to rise.


The airline says: “The rising cost of jet fuel to all airlines is significant. This year, for example, we will use roughly the same amount of fuel as was burned


in 2009/10, but the bill will be some 80% greater this year – an 80% increase in cost in just three years.


“Because of the enormity of fuel bills, any solution that can deliver even a frac- tional saving will shave off millions. The cost of the software is therefore mar- ginal compared to the savings that can be delivered, and we expect the software to have paid for itself well inside a year after implementation.”


per flight.


Head of sustainability, Emma Harvey, says: “We know carbon emissions from fuel use is our biggest environmental issue, and the system gives us a signifi- cant step forward in the way we manage and reduce them. This is a double win, as fuel is one of our four biggest cost areas, but it also gives us significant car- bon savings.


“Like anything else – if you can measure it you can manage it better. The system is settling in – we’re now quality checking the data, which will enable us to focus on where we can achieve savings. “We’ve a lot of confidence in what we can monitor, and that small tweaks as a result will make a big difference.” The OSyS software means Virgin can monitor how arrival delays and hold- ing patterns at destination increase fuel burn; how pilot technique, flight plans and maintenance activities can improve fuel efficiency; and how activity on the ground impacts fuel consumption. The company believes it will save up to 1.4 tonnes of fuel per flight, with each tonne of fuel saved cutting 3.15 tonnes of CO2


– equating to 4.41 tonnes CO2


Virgin points out that, “as good as OSyS is as a piece of software”, it alone cannot deliver efficiencies. With this in mind, the business has implemented a formal governance structure “to ensure benefits are delivered”.


Multiplied by 21,000 flights a year, this comes to 92,610 tonnes of CO2


A spokesperson says: “Our fuel effi- ciency governance group is the high


annually.


Carbon emissions from fuel use is our biggest environmental issue, and the system gives us a significant step forward in the way we manage and reduce them


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