About Virgin Australia
Virgin Australia’s commitment to minimising environmental impacts from their operational activities is taken very seriously.
Over 99% of their direct emissions are produced from aircraft fuel burn, and therefore their strategic approach towards climate change is primarily focussed on fuel efficiency and renewable jet fuel development as well as carbon offsetting.
Virgin Australia continues to invest to ensure it maintains a young and fuel efficient fleet. It operates a mainline fleet of fuel-efficient Boeing 737 and 777 aircraft, Embraer E-190s, ATR 72s and Airbus A330s and they also continually endeavour to improve fuel efficiency via technological and operational initiatives such as reducing aircraft weight, enhanced aircraft operations and air traffic management.
When launched in 2007, Virgin Australia’s carbon offset program was the world’s first government certified airline offset program. Today, it is recognised under the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) – Carbon Neutral Program – a robust framework comprised of strict methodologies to ensure that offset emissions are accurate and the abatement credits sourced are of the highest quality.
Carbon neutral certification under NCOS
NCOS certification involves a Greenhouse Gas inventory, an Emissions Management Plan (EMP), offsetting unavoidable emissions using certified offsets and an audit by a suitably qualified auditor.
Virgin Australia engaged Balance Carbon to audit their NCOS Life Cycle Analysis for the ‘Fly Carbon Neutral‘ program to maintain NCOS certification.
Key NCOS audit services provided by Balance Carbon for Virgin Australia included:
- Providing assurance on emission factors and calculation methodologies,
- Ensuring robust controls and processes for data capture and reporting,
- Confirming the greenhouse gas ‘Fly Carbon Neutral’ product inventory boundary and scope;
- Confirming eligibility of greenhouse gas abatement including efficiency measures, renewable energy purchases and offsets.
Virgin Australia’s path to sustainability
Virgin Australia is committed to addressing its climate change impacts through a combination of fuel efficiency, sustainable biofuels and carbon offsetting.
- Fuel efficiency is critical to managing the airline’s carbon footprint in the short to medium term. Virgin Australia is already ahead of many of their industry peers in this regard as they already operate a young and fuel efficient fleet, with an average age of just 4.9 years. The airline has a dedicated Fuel Management team charged with identifying and implementing fuel saving initiatives across all aspects of the business.
- The focus of the Virgin Australia renewable fuel strategy is to assess credible and viable alternatives to traditional fossil based Bio Fuel. The principal objective is to be able to procure a sustainable, reliable, and economic supply of aviation fuel to meet the Virgin Australia aspirational target of 5% renewable fuel use by 2020. Virgin Australia has partnered with a number of stakeholders to encourage the commercialisation of bio fuel production in Australia. These partners include GE, Airbus, Brisbane Airport and SkyNRG.
- In 2007 Virgin Australia launched the world’s first government certified airline offset program, under the Australian Government’s Greenhouse Friendly program. Fly Carbon Neutral is now certified under the National Carbon Offset Standard.
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