In what some cynics see as a mere publicity stunt, Virgin airlines claim to have carried out the world"s first ever biofuel trip. The airline, headed by tycoon Richard Branson, performed a flight in February this year between London Heathrow and Amsterdam. The flight had no passengers and only engineers and experts participated on this potentially historic journey. Well, at least Branson himself views his airline"s attempt to publicize the importance of using renewable resources.
One of the engines of the aircraft was filled with a mixture of coconut oil and babassu oil, both being environmentally and socially sustainable materials. Critics have pointed out that although the burning of such materials does not devastate the environment so much as regular combustibles, arable land around the globe is logically under threat in order to make way for its production. Even still, it is worth pointing out that the airline industry is responsible only for 2% of the world"s pollution so the experts ask if it really is such a big deal anyway.
Despite criticism, Virgin aims to make its image greener for many years to come. Along with its partners, Boeing, GE aviation and Imperium Renewables, Virgin could become the green airline of the future. They have stated their aim to promote their own business through reducing passenger guilt about flying and harming the environment. Whether we are to believe the critics who call this a mere publicity stunt or not, it is undeniable that the airline at least has environmental issues on its mind. To employ a mass of technicians and specialists to combat the threat of dangerous gas emission is a step in the right direction whichever way we look at the situation.