News

sustainability

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Carbon pricing and carbon offsetting: What is the difference?

At Virgin Australia, we are committed to being a leader in sustainability in the aviation industry.

One example of how we have led the way for the industry is our carbon offset program, Fly Carbon Neutral. Launched in 2007, it was the world’s first government-certified airline carbon offset program.

As we know, the Australia Government will introduce a carbon price in Australia in July 2012 and last week we provided details of how it will affect our airfares. However, some have rightly asked:

‘Why should I offset my flight if I’ve already paid for the carbon price as part of my fare?’

The answer is – they are different means to different ends.

Funds raised from the Australian Government’s carbon price will go towards assisting households and small businesses transition into a clean energy future. It won’t be until 2015, when the carbon price changes to a fully flexible cap and trade scheme, that some of the funds raised begin to be used for investment in activities that offset carbon emissions.

Therefore, for the next three years at least, the carbon price is designed to provide additional incentive for companies and households to reduce emissions. It does not offset your flight and you will not be flying carbon neutral.

Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard

Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard

Conversely, our carbon offset program provides an immediate way to address carbon emissions.

Every time a Guest takes up the voluntary option to offset their flight, the money goes directly towards purchasing carbon credits that “offset” the emissions attributed to their flight.

We only purchase credits that are approved under the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Scheme to ensure that they are of the highest quality.

For example, one of the projects supplying credits to our program involves a new water treatment facility in Thailand which captures methane gas (a powerful greenhouse gas). Previously waste water was treated in an open pond system and the methane was released into the atmosphere.

The project has also resulted in a number of other environmental and social co-benefits, including:

* The re-use and recycling of water within the production process

* Improving local air quality

* Producing clear and fresh water in the lagoons, free from pollution

Waste water being used for irrigation of local farms, providing better yields

Funds donated from the project being used to support a local school with computer equipment and library facilities.

It is also important to note that the carbon emissions offset by our Guests are not used by us to reduce our liability under the carbon price.

At Virgin Australia, we are committed to minimising the carbon emissions from our operations. Some of the ways we are achieving this:

We maintain a very young fleet of fuel efficient aircraft, the average age being 4.9 years. We have invested in a $2.5billion fleet renewal program over the next six years to ensure our fleet remains modern and fuel efficient. An example of this is the introduction of ATR turboprop aircraft to our fleet, which are up to 40% more fuel and greenhouse efficient than existing aircraft on our short to medium haul routes.

We have a dedicated fuel efficiency team that is examining ways to further reduce emissions through improving operations, adopting new technologies and working with airports and air navigation service providers to improve air traffic management.

* We actively support the development of sustainable, aviation biofuel and are working towards sourcing 5% of our fuel requirements from these fuels from 2020. Last year, we announced our support of two highly promising Australian projects that use sustainable means and methods, such as the eucalypt mallee tree, to achieve high-quality bio-crude oil.

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So there is a significant difference between the Australian carbon price and our carbon offset program. We know there won’t be one quick solution to achieving sustainable air travel, so we are working with a range of stakeholders and we look forward to engaging with the sustainability initiatives that result from the carbon price.

For more information about our sustainability strategy and our carbon offset program, please our website here.


Image from The Big Red Box

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Sustainability at Virgin, and what is The Big Red Box?

If sustainable lifestyles were a big red box, what would you find inside?

Organic produce, a bicycle, solar panels?

This question was posed to Virgin CEOs around the world and their responses have been captured in a new short film, which can be seen below. Read more »

Take a Hamilton Island Breakation

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Breakations launches Hamilton Island holidays, Facebook app and exclusive offer

What happens when an overdue break meets a short vacation? They run away together on a Breakation.

But what is a Breakation you say?

The team at Blue Holidays, the holiday partner of Virgin Australia, have essentially created the “new” short vacation, where your much needed break becomes a mini holiday!

Our point of difference is that fact that these holiday packages are individually tailored to the different people planning the trip. It’s not just couples who can have fun and reconnect — there are short break escapes for everybody, from the boys’ adventure to the girls’ getaway and the much-needed mini family holiday. Read more »

Surf Life Saving Australia partnership with Virgin Australia

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Virgin Australia And Surf Life Saving Australia Join Forces To Promote Surf Safety This Summer

Australian beaches. Sun, surf, beach towels, lifesavers…Virgin Australia Cabin Crew? If you were at Coogee beach this morning, you may have been surprised to see this unlikely mix.

Rest assure – you weren’t seeing things; this morning’s events marked the beginning of an exciting new partnership. From today, Virgin Australia is the new official airline of Surf Life Saving Australia. Together, we will be raising awareness about the importance of surf safety for international and domestic tourists on our beaches. Read more »

Melbourne Lounge

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Virgin Australia Lounge Menu Updated To Begin 2012

We’ve heard from our frequent flyers that more hot food would be appreciated in our Lounges

In addition to the toasties, soups, salads, themed meal and pass-around pizza and cocktails pies (5-7pm), you can now enjoy a hot dog, curry, or Mexican feast. A sample of what’s on offer (Sydney lounge dinner menu) follows:

Luke Mangan self-service Hot Dogs

Pass arounds 5-7pm – mozzarella pizza, lamb and rosemary mini-pies; minestrone soup; Israeli cous cous, Thai noodle, potato with sour cream and herbs salads; make your own Greek salad – meatballs, tzatiki, Greek salad (no feta), marinated feta cheese, pita pocket, Mexican cantina – chickpea & chorizo, tortillas, avocado dip, sour cream, corn chips, caramel slice, and a cheese plate. While hot dogs are on Melbourne’s menu, and curry is in Brisbane.

This has of course been designed by our chef, Luke Mangan! Read more »

Virgin Australia 737 Business Class

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Virgin Australia Launches Business Class In Australia

Today is a landmark day for Virgin Australia.

Our airline has today launched Business Class on most domestic routes across the country that are operated by Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 aircraft, and on the airline’s fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft, giving Australian travellers choice in Business Class for the first time in over a decade. Read more »

Virgin Australia ATR72 at Emerald Airport

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Virgin Australia now flying to Emerald plus adds Airbus A330 services from Melbourne

Let’s start the year with good news!

Not only have we begun the year with the inaugural commercial flight between Brisbane and Emerald, but we have announced that from today, tickets are on-sale for a double daily return service between Melbourne and Perth, operated by our Airbus A330.

From May 14th 2012, the Airbus A330 will operate two daily return services including a daily peak-return morning service from Melbourne to Sydney. Read more »

Our Coast To Coast service tops with AusBT

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Virgin Australia Takes Out Two Titles at the AusBT Awards including Best Frequent Flyer Program

Australia’s leading website for frequent flyers and business travellers, Australian Business Traveller this week launched its inaugural awards and we are delighted to announce that Virgin Australia took out two titles – Best Frequent Flyer Programme and Best Trans-Continental Service.

The panel of judges, which consisted of business travellers, frequent flyers and the AusBT editorial team, picked our A330 trans-continental service as the best of any airline, which is a great compliment considering this is the longest direct route inAustralia! AusBT said the decision came down to the ‘consistency of planes and cabins, great meals and in-flight service’, as well as the limousine transfers available to our Guests in Business Class. Read more »

Virgin Australia working towards better Sustainability

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Virgin Australia Expands Biofuel Possibilities With New Partnership

At Virgin Australia, we are always keen to support projects that foster the environment, Australian innovation and regional economies. That’s why we were drawn to Licella; an Australian-based biofuel company that has developed a unique, new process that converts waste into sustainable, aviation fuel. Read more »

Virgin Australia Mackay Lounge

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Mackay Queensland now features new Virgin Australia Lounge

We have today announced the opening of our first-ever Lounge at Mackay Airport as well as including extra weekday flights between the central Queensland city and Brisbane.

On sale today for travel from 5 March 2012, the new service will see us operating a total of 78 flights per week between Mackay and Brisbane, which is the greatest frequency offered by any airline on this route (we also operate a daily direct, return Sydney-Mackay service on our Embraer aircraft). Read more »