Virgin Airlines reveals fuel-efficiency plans due to new software shake-up

9 Nov 2012

Virgin Airlines is aiming to lower its fuel emissions by 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually as a result of a new software system to increase fuel efficiency that went live in July.

Virgin estimates its new fuel management tool could help the airline save stg£20m (circa €25.1m) and 92,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

In its latest sustainability report, Virgin said 99pc of its carbon footprint comes from the fuel it uses to power its planes. Back in 2007, the airline set the target of reducing its CO2 emissions by 30pc by 2020.

According to Virgin, the new software will monitor where fuel can be used more efficiently by monitoring 300 parameters during each flight. Virgin said the software will allow its operational and flying teams to drive efficiencies around areas such as how arrival delays affect fuel usage, as well as around pilot techniques and fuel use on the ground.

The software itself has been developed by OSyS, a subsidiary of Rolls Royce.

Virgin is also introducing seven new Airbus A330 aircraft this year. The airline said the new planes will be 1.3 tonnes lighter as a result of lighter airframes, seats and galleys.

In addition, Virgin is continuing to work with the New Zealand company LanzaTech, which is specialising in the development of low-carbon fuels. Virgin is planning to have a demo flight in 2013 using the low-carbon fuel it is developing with LanzaTech.

“Our vision is to be a leading airline on sustainability, driving solutions for our industry. It’s always a challenge, and we’re not claiming to be there yet, but we are certainly leading the way,” said Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic