Thu, Sep 28, 2006
Proposes Weight, Engine Use Reductions
Sir Richard Branson has a new cause.
Last week, he pledged to donate all profits from his rail and
airline companies to combat global warming. He says he'll use
profits to develop new, cleaner energy sources. On Wednesday...
Branson proposed a plan he says would cut aircraft emissions by up
Reuters reports the plan -- which Branson is asking all airlines
to consider -- suggests simple measures, like getting rid of trash
between legs, to reduce aircraft weight. He's also asking
manufacturers to look for ways to further reduce weight in their
Specific details in the proposal include changing the way
aircraft are moved on the ground at major airports. For example,
Branson suggests using tugs to position aircraft closer to the
runway before starting their engines. By utilizing these "starter
grids," Branson says carbon emissions for Virgin Atlantic would be
reduced by more than 50-percent at London's Heathrow Airport, and a
whopping 90-percent at JFK.
"Airlines, airports, air traffic controllers and governments
should seize these initiatives and ensure they're all implemented
within two years," Branson said.
Also part of the proposal -- but not specified in the report --
are changes in the way air traffic control handles arrivals and
departures at busy airports. Branson claims he also has a more
efficient model involving the way airliners descend.
As Aero-News reported in
July, the European Commission has proposed including
airlines in its emissions trading policy -- where industries trade
rights to emit carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for global
As of yet, there is no word on how Branson's new initiatives
might impact schedules, or safety... but as a reliable supply of
oil remains a major concern for airlines, Branson may find a
receptive audience for his environmental suggestions on that
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