SAN FRANCISCO, April 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin America, the only California-based airline, is partnering for the fourth consecutive year since their 2007 launch with the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) for Earth Day to support vital environmental restoration projects across the state. Virgin America teammates pitched in at San Francisco's Candlestick Point State Recreation Area last weekend where they planted native trees to help restore the park to benefit both humans and wildlife alike. Virgin America teammates in all of its U.S. cities are participating in local environmental clean-up events throughout the month. In addition to Virgin America's efforts on the ground, the airline is encouraging guests to do their part in the air by using the Red™ seatback touch-screen entertainment system to make a donation to CSPF or offset the carbon emissions of their flight with non-profit Carbonfund.org this Earth Day. In return for their charitable efforts, Virgin America is toasting do-gooder guests with a complimentary in-flight cocktail from the airline's wide selection of beverages, including the first carbon neutral spirit – VeeV.
"We are pleased to continue our partnership with Virgin America for the fourth consecutive year," said Elizabeth Goldstein, President of California State Parks Foundation. "The airline has proven to be a true leader in the aviation industry for their environmentally friendly efforts, and their annual contributions of time and financial resources to Earth Day in our state parks will continue to help us in our mission to restore and preserve these natural treasures."
In 2009, Virgin America became the first domestic airline to offer carbon offsets in-flight via its touch-screen seatback Red™ entertainment platform and Carbonfund.org. Virgin America and Carbonfund.org selected offset projects focus on emissions reductions and energy efficiency primarily in California. As with all projects supported by Carbonfund.org, these projects are independently verified. Virgin America offsets the carbon footprint of its headquarters operation on an annual basis, by purchasing verifiable CO2 offsets.
Virgin America teammates' efforts at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area helped to expand and improve the park's community garden and shoreline. Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is the state's first "urban" park and includes a community garden, open wildlife areas and other public spaces that support a better way of life in this underserved Bay Area neighborhood. Virgin America's efforts stretched across the nation with cleanup projects at the Charles River in Boston, Ballona Wetlands in Southern California, Turtle Creek in Dallas Fort-Worth, Lake Fran near Orlando, Rockaway Beach in New York, Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, as well as efforts in Fairfax, San Diego and Las Vegas and South Beach, Florida.
Just last week Virgin America and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) welcomed flyers to its beautiful and sustainable new home at Terminal 2 (T2) at SFO. Virgin America is an anchor tenant at the new eco-friendly terminal which is slated to achieve LEED® Gold-certification. Virgin America is making additional investments within its T2 spaces to ultimately achieve LEED® Platinum-certification. Both Gold and Platinum level certification would be the first such certifications for a commercial airport in the U.S. In line with Virgin America's commitment to sustainability, in 2010 the airline announced that its Burlingame, CA-based headquarters had achieved LEED® Silver status.
Since it launched, Virgin America has made environmentally sustainable practices part of its training and operations. The carrier operates a new Airbus A320-family fleet that is up to 25% more CO2 efficient than other domestic fleets. In January 2011, Virgin America announced plans to nearly triple its fleet size by 2019 with an order for 60 new Airbus A320 Family aircraft – including the first order for the new eco-efficient Airbus A320neo. The A320neo will offer 15 percent gains in fuel efficiency, along with the accompanying improvements in carbon efficiency – including double digit reductions in NOx emissions. The airline employs progressive practices to reduce its footprint, such as minimizing use of auxiliary power units, single engine taxiing, idle reverse landings, utilizing advanced avionics to fly more efficiently, and cost index flying — the practice of regulating cruising speed to reduce fuel burn.
In 2009, Virgin America became the first U.S. airline to become a member of The Climate Registry and annually publishes its Climate and Sustainability Report, which includes comprehensive emissions data for all six internationally-recognized greenhouse gases (GHGs). The report benchmarks the airline's performance versus other domestic carriers and includes information on the sustainability best practices it employs.
Virgin America is proud to be affiliated with the Virgin Group, which has committed to reinvesting all profits from Virgin-transport related businesses to renewable fuels research and other initiatives that combat climate change. Virgin America's sustainability principles can be found at: http://www.virginamerica.com/va/html/sustainability.pdf
Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun and Chicago (starting May 25, 2011).
About Virgin America: Headquartered in California, Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. The airline's new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat for electronic gear. Virgin America offers Gogo™ in-flight internet service on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the North American skies via the touch-screen Red™ platform. In just over three years flying, the carrier was named "Best Domestic Airline" in the Conde Nast Traveler 2008, 2009 and 2010 Readers' Choice Awards and "Best Domestic Airline" in Travel + Leisure's 2008, 2009 and 2010 World's Best Awards. Virgin America is a U.S. owned and operated airline that has created 2000 jobs and welcomed more than 11 million guests since its August 2007 launch. On April 14, 2011, the airline opened its new home as an anchor tenant at SFO's new beautiful and sustainable Terminal 2.