New software is saving Virgin Atlantic £20 million a year in fuel costs and reduced CO2 emissions by 92,000 tonnes.
Rolls-Royce subsidiary OSyS developed the software that monitors 300 different data points during a flight allowing the airline to pinpoint accurately where fuel can be used more efficiently.
Using the fuel management system, Virgin can determine how delays and holding patterns increase fuel burn, how pilot technique and flights plans can improve fuel efficiency, and what role maintenance and ground activity can play.
The savings, reported in the airline’s latest annual Sustainability Report, are helping the airline reach its target of cutting CO2emission by 30% between 2007 and 2020.
Last year, the airline’s aircraft emissions, which account for 99.7% of its scope 1 and 2 carbon footprint, stood at 4.617 million tonnes, slightly up on last year but Virgin says it is confident that it is still on course to meet the 2020 target.
“We are known for our innovation, and our adventurous spirit means we’re not afraid to push boundaries in following our sustainability agenda,” says Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive Steve Ridgway. “We want to be one of the leading airlines on sustainability, driving solutions for our industry.”
Along with the new software system, Virgin is also introducing seven new Airbus A330 aircraft, which are 15% more fuel efficient per seat than the airline’s current aircraft. In 2014, the airline hopes to start flying the first of 16 new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are around 27% more efficient per seat.
The airline is also continuing its relationship with New Zealand firm LanzaTech on its technology to produce aviation fuel from waste gases.