Thursday, May 3, 2007

Branson's Virgin Planes Go For Green

Fueling A Green Revolution
Sir Richard Branson says jet planes could be running on biofuel within two years. Virgin has already promised to give the profits from its airline business to the development of eco-friendly technology. He talks to Sky about his plans to go green.

Branson's Virgin Planes Go For Green

Updated: 16:19, Tuesday April 24, 2007
Passengers could travel in aircraft run on "green" jet fuel within two years, according to Virgin Atlantic.
Boss Richard Branson is announcing that the group has teamed up with Boeing and engine maker GE to design biofuel that can be used in commercial aircraft.
The aim is to make the airline industry more environmentally friendly.
The group aims to test the fuel in a Boeing 747-400 aircraft by the end of next year.
Although this will not carry any passengers, the move would be the first time that biofuel has ever been used to run a commercial aeroplane.
Virgin Atlantic is hoping the first passengers could even be flying in an aircraft run on the "green" jet fuel within two years.

Virgin Atlantic 787 Contract Includes Diet Plans For Branson, Boeing Chairman

Wed, 02 May '07
Environmental Groups Fail To See Humor

As they say... always read the fine print.
A recent environmental agreement signed by Boeing and Virgin Atlantic -- which includes the purchase of up to 43 Boeing 787 airliners, as well as a pledge to deliver a biofuel for jets -- also contained a weighty stipulation for Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson (right) and Boeing Chairman Jim McNerney to drop some weight. Literally.
The Daily Mail reports the clause in the agreement signed April 24 states "The parties hereby agree that each of the signatories will lose at least one stone [14 lbs] in weight within the next four years in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 36lb on the delivery flight."
Branson's communications director, Paul Charles, says the text was planted in the contract as a joke by staffers, to see if the men would read the fine print.
"Clearly, neither of them reads contracts properly before they sign them," he said. "They had no idea they had agreed to lose weight until after their signatures were down on the dotted line. They thought it was very funny."
Branson -- whose measurements and weight were helpfully reported in the Daily Mail (gotta love British media -- Ed.) -- is classified as overweight, according to the National Institute of Health.
"We are doing our bit to tackle carbon emissions, but losing weight was an additional element thrown in for added effect," Charles added, tongue firmly in cheek. "If you are carrying lighter people in the plane, you need even less fuel. Perhaps the Government should consider adopting it as a way to combat obesity and climate change in one go."
Boeing declined to disclose McNerney's vitals, but did confirm the Boeing chairman would honor the agreement.
It was meant to be a good-natured joke, but environmentalists failed to see the humor -- or, at least, the humor intended.
"Branson's fleet produces 7.4 million tonnes of CO2 each year," retorts Joss Garman, of the anti-flying group Plane Stupid. "He and McNerney are both very carbon-obese men, but they seem to have mistaken a low-carb diet for a low carbon one.
"It's the flying that's the problem, Richard, not the frying," Garman added.

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