flight 'another Branson stunt' - 26th February
The Daily Telegraph)
The world's first commercial aircraft
to be powered partly by biofuel has flown into
controversy as environmental campaigners denounced
the inaugural flight as a publicity stunt.
passengerless Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 yesterday
flew from London to Amsterdam, with one of the
four main tanks carrying 80 per cent standard
jet fuel and a 20 per cent mix of coconut and
Atlantic president Sir Richard Branson said the
flight was a "historic" step to using
biofuels on commercial flights with the aim of
reducing carbon emissions.
he said commercial biofuel flights, still some
years away, were likely to use feedstocks like
algae rather than the mix used.
fuel was developed in partnership with Boeing,
engine maker General Electric and Imperium Renewables.
groups say biofuel crops are raising food costs
in developing countries, damaging the environment
and displacing indigenous local populations.
Virgin boss said his fuel was "completely
environmentally and socially sustainable",
with the coconut oil sourced in the Philippines,
one of the world's top three producers, and the
babassu oil taken mostly from a wild palm found
said the process did not compete with food supplies
or cause deforestation, and the oils were also
in everyday cosmetic products like lip balm and
Richard said no modifications were needed for
the aircraft or engines, making such fuels easy
to introduce, and argued the UK Government should
ease passenger taxes for airlines which cut emissions,
thus encouraging airlines to compete in taking
Government has so far left aviation, which produces
about 3 per cent of all EU carbon dioxide emissions,
out of its impending climate change bill, which
aims to cut CO2 output at least 60 per cent by
chief scientist Doug Parr said: "This is
a company hell-bent on unrestrained airport expansion,
starting with a third runway at Heathrow which
would almost double the number of flights from
one of the world's biggest airports.
can often cause more damage to the environment
than fossil fuels, and Virgin is using this flight
to divert attention from an irresponsible, business-as-usual
attitude to climate change."
said although potential biofuel from algae should
to be looked at, the so-called "first generation"
biofuels based on existing food crops were not
a necessary first step.
Tingle of Bondi Beach, Sydney writes:
Richard Branson and Virgin Enterprises Limited
are making an effort, and that's why I prefer
to do business with Virgin when possible. Sure,
he's also a showman and self promoter, but there's
a ton more substance than show and hype. Richard
Branson will continue to make history as a switched
on businessman, environmentalist and humanitarian,
and something else... not all of his good deeds
go reported, and I'm close enough to know this.
Disclaimer: This article was written by The Daily
Telegraph and the comment by Greg Tingle was published
on The Daily Telegraph website. Greg Tingle has
done business with Virgin, some of their partners
such as Webjet, in addition to enjoying business
relationships with some of their competitors such