SAN FRANCISCO, April 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin America, the only California-based airline, is partnering for the fifth consecutive year with the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) for its 15th Annual Earth Day to support vital environmental restoration and clean-up projects across the state. Virgin America teammates (along with employees from presenting sponsor Pacific Gas and Electric Company) are pitching in today at San Francisco's Candlestick Point State Recreation Area where they are planting native trees, installing new redwood garden boxes and landscaping to help restore and preserve the park. Virgin America teammates in other cities across the country are also participating in local environmental clean-up events throughout Earth month. In addition to Virgin America's efforts on the ground, the airline was the first domestic airline to offer guests the ability to offset their carbon in-flight by using the Red™ seatback touch-screen entertainment system to make a donation to CSPF or to offset the carbon emissions of their flight via the nonprofit Carbonfund.org.
"As the only airline headquartered here in California, sustainability is important to our community, teammates and guests. We're pleased to continue our partnership with the CSPF for the fifth year in a row, in order to support their efforts to protect and restore our state's natural resources — especially those in underserved communities like Candlestick Point," said David Cush, President and CEO of Virgin America.
Virgin America teammates' efforts at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area will help restore 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 the underserved Bay Area neighborhood.
"We are proud to continue our partnership with Virgin America – an airline that has long supported environmental work and our efforts on behalf of state parks," said Elizabeth Goldstein, President of California State Parks Foundation. "Not only are Virgin teammates helping us on the ground by volunteering in state parks, Virgin also helps us from 35,000 feet by providing an in-flight donation option on its entertainment platform. The innovative contributions of time and financial resources from Virgin and its generous flyers really help us in our mission to restore and preserve California's natural treasures."
Virgin America's efforts will also stretch across the nation with clean-up and restoration projects at the Dockweiler State Beach in Los Angeles, Mission Beach Park in San Diego, Angle Lake Park in Seattle, Busse Woods Park in Chicago, Grapevine Park in Dallas Forth-Worth, Rockaway Beach in New York, Charles River in Boston as well as other clean-up efforts in Fairfax, Las Vegas, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. Volunteers include members of Virgin America's Green Teams – teammate-led groups that focus on finding new ways to reduce the Company's footprint – from better recycling efforts to green procurement.
"Our region has long been known as a model for the nation and the world in terms of championing sustainable best practices," said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. "I applaud Virgin America, which has embraced sustainable practices, whether through its investment in new planes, our new LEED-GOLD certified Terminal 2 at SFO or through its support of California State Parks Foundation environmental restoration projects like this one. Virgin America has demonstrated that sustainable practices can improve the bottom line and create jobs."
Since its 2007 launch, 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 the average U.S. fleet. The airline employs progressive practices, such as minimizing use of auxiliary power units, single engine taxiing, electronic flight bags, idle reverse landings, utilizing advanced avionics to fly more efficiently and cost index flying — the practice of regulating speed to reduce fuel burn. In 2011, the airline opened its doors as the anchor tenant at San Francisco International Airport's beautiful and sustainable Terminal 2 (T2) – the first major LEED® Gold-certified airport terminal in the U.S. Virgin America is making additional investments within its T2 spaces to ultimately achieve LEED® Platinum-certification.
In 2010, the airline announced that its Burlingame, CA-based headquarters (near Candlestick Point State Recreation Area) had achieved LEED® Silver-certification. In January 2011, Virgin America announced it would be the launch customer 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. Virgin America is 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. For more on the airline's sustainability efforts, visit: http://www.virginamerica.com/about/environmental-sustainability.html
About Virgin America:
Headquartered in California, Virgin America is a U.S. owned and operated airline that has created 2500 new jobs since its 2007 launch. The airline offers guests low fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. In 2011, the airline opened its new home at SFO's Terminal 2 – the first major LEED® Gold-certified airport in the nation. For more, visit: www.virginamerica.com