In August 2016, Virgin America celebrated nine years of service to passengers throughout the United States and Mexico. Looking back over nearly a decade of operations, the California-based airline released the 2016 Sustainability Report, detailing its numerous environmental initiatives and the significant measurable impact they have had on the carrier’s overall sustainability, as well as the sustainable goals it plans to pursue moving forward.
Since its first flight in 2008, Virgin America has successfully implemented 25 fuel-efficiency initiatives that have yielded fuel savings of more than 12 million gallons, allowing the airline to exceed the industry average for fuel efficiency. The carrier has also worked to reduce waste generated by its own operations and those of its partners, emphasized recycling, and leveraged new technologies to limit noise pollution.
Virgin America’s fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft outshines comparable US fleets in terms of age and fuel efficiency, and additional innovations ranging from sustainable engines to advanced navigational systems have allowed the airline to further improve its environmental sustainability. In 2008, Virgin America invited passengers to help offset their personal carbon emissions via a unique interface included in its seatback entertainment system, and since then, the airline has taken measures to counter more than 15 million pounds of C02 emissions.
In acknowledging nine years of environmentally conscious operations, Virgin America also took the opportunity to highlight new sustainable goals for the future. Seeking to maintain its role as an industry leader in sustainability, Virgin seeks to achieve year-on-year fuel efficiency increases of at least 1.5 percent until 2020, at which point it plans to achieve a net carbon emissions cap. Following this, the airline plans to operate on a carbon neutral basis, and by 2050, Virgin America hopes to have cut carbon emissions by 50 percent compared to levels recorded in 2005.
While serving as the managing director and CEO of Fiji Airways, experienced aviation business leader David Pflieger led the company to achieve a positive impact on its local communities. In addition to guiding Fiji’s largest national airline in initiatives to bolster sustainability and preserve the island nation’s natural environment, Mr. Pflieger orchestrated key partnerships that benefited public health.
In a joint effort with Zens Medical Centre, Fiji Airways helped to establish Fiji’s first wellness clinic in May 2013. The Fiji Airways Wellness Clinic now provides a wide range of preventable health resources aimed at curbing many of the most common avoidable causes of death among Fijians, including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. The partnership between Fiji Airways and Zens Medical Centre has also helped to promote the importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet for long-term health. Beyond facilitating the clinic’s inception, Fiji Airways contributed $40,000 to pay off financing for the facility’s dialysis machine and made an additional three-year pledge of $100,000 to provide free preventive care to both Fiji Airways employees and the general public.
Within its first month of operation, the Fiji Airways Wellness Clinic served more than 70 patients and provided preventive health care screenings for over 500 individuals in 2014. Going forward, the clinic expects to treat approximately 960 patients each year.
About David Pflieger
David Pflieger - Senior Airline Executive