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Richard Branson uges airlines to be greener

Date 27 Sep 2006
Author The Editor

The global aviation industry must work together to tackle climate change, Sir Richard Branson has said. The Virgin boss believes up to 25% of the world's aviation carbon dioxide emissions could be cut if airlines, airports and governments worked together.

Sir Richard last week pledged Virgin profits worth £1.6bn towards renewable energy initiatives.

Sir Richard has written to airlines, airport operators and engine manufacturers stressing the need for the industry to increase the pace at which it changes its practices. The tycoon has stressed that more efficient use of aircraft at the world's busiest airports could make a big difference. He has outlined a ‘starting grid system’ he claims could save "billions of tonnes" of carbon dioxide and cut fuel consumption before take-off by up to 90%.

“Instead of sitting on planes with CO2 spewing out of those planes for anything up to 60 minutes to 90 minutes [while waiting for take-off] you would be towed by a small tug to the starting grid," said Richard Branson. "Then the pilot would turn on the engines ten minutes before take-off and then take off." Sir Richard believes that if all airlines adopted a slower and smoother descent method this would significantly reduce fuel used in landing. This would also result in lower noise levels and cleaner air for those living near the airports.

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