SAN FRANCISCO, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin America, the only California-based airline, is partnering for the third consecutive year with the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) for Earth Day to support vital environmental restoration projects across the state. Virgin America teammates pitched in at San Francisco's Candlestick Point State Recreation Area last weekend where they planted native trees, "gopher-proofed" garden boxes and installed split-rail protective fencing around a seasonal lagoon to protect wetland plants and wildlife. Virgin America teammates in other cities around the country are also participating in local environmental clean-up events.
Virgin America is encouraging guests flying on the airline today to use the Red(TM) seatback touch-screen entertainment system to make a donation to CSPF or offset the carbon emissions of their flight with non-profit Carbonfund.org.
"As San Francisco's hometown airline, sustainability is important to our community, teammates and guests -- and has been part of our Company's DNA from day one. We're pleased to continue our partnership with the CSPF for the third year in order to help protect and restore our state's incredible natural resources -- especially those in underserved communities -- like Candlestick Point," said Frances Fiorillo, Senior Vice President of People and In-flight Services at Virgin America. "We're also proud to be the only airline able to offer travelers an opportunity to support environmental restoration and energy conservation projects via our in-flight entertainment system."
Virgin America teammates' efforts at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area helped to expand and improve the park's community garden and shoreline. Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is the state's first "urban" park and includes a community garden, open wildlife areas and other public spaces that support a better way of life in this underserved Bay Area neighborhood.
"We are thrilled to extend our partnership with Virgin America for the third consecutive year," said Elizabeth Goldstein, President of California State Parks Foundation. "Their contributions of time and financial resources will help us continue our mission to restore and preserve the state's historic and natural treasures."
In 2009, Virgin America became the first airline to offer carbon offsets in-flight via its touch-screen seatback Red(TM) entertainment platform and Carbonfund.org. Virgin America and Carbonfund.org selected offset projects focused on emissions reductions and energy efficiency primarily in California. As with all projects supported by Carbonfund.org, these projects are independently verified. Virgin America offsets the carbon footprint of its headquarters operation on an annual basis, by purchasing verifiable CO2 offsets.
Since it launched, Virgin America has made environmentally sustainable practices part of its training and operations. The carrier operates a new Airbus A320-family fleet that is up to 25% more CO2 efficient than other domestic fleets and employs progressive practices to reduce its footprint, such as minimizing use of auxiliary power units, single engine taxiing, idle reverse landings, utilizing advanced avionics to fly more efficiently, and cost index flying -- the practice of regulating cruising speed to reduce fuel burn. In October 2008, Virgin America became the first commercial passenger airline to join the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Climate Leaders program. Since that time, the airline has worked with EPA to review and approve the inventory of its annual GHG emissions. In 2009, Virgin America became the first U.S. airline to become a member of The Climate Registry and published its first annual Climate Report, which includes an overview of its industry-leading sustainability efforts as well as comprehensive 2008 emissions data for all six internationally-recognized greenhouse gases (GHGs). The report also benchmarks the airline's performance versus other domestic carriers and includes information on the sustainability best practices it employs.
Virgin America is also proud to be affiliated with the Virgin Group, which has committed to reinvesting all profits from Virgin-transport related businesses to renewable fuels research and other initiatives that combat climate change. Virgin America's sustainability principles can be found at: http://www.virginamerica.com/va/html/sustainability.pdf
Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Orange County (ends May 26), Fort Lauderdale, Toronto (starting June 23) and Orlando (starting August 19). The airline currently offers daily flights from: SFO to LAX, SFO to JFK, SFO to SAN, SFO to IAD, SFO to LAS, LAX to JFK, LAX to IAD, SFO to SEA, SEA to LAX, JFK to LAS, BOS to LAX, BOS to SFO, SFO to SNA and LAX to FLL and SFO to FLL. Virgin America has flown over 7.5 million guests since its inaugural flights in August 2007 and now counts over 1.3 million Elevate frequent flyer program members.
EDITORS NOTE: Virgin America is a U.S. controlled and operated airline and an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America.
About California State Parks Foundation: With its 115,000 members, the California State Parks Foundation is the only independent nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California's magnificent state parks. For more information about California's state parks, visit www.calparks.org.
About Carbonfund.org: Carbonfund.org is the leading nonprofit carbon reduction and climate solutions organization, making it easy and affordable for individuals, businesses and organizations to reduce their climate impact by supporting third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects. Carbonfund.org has over 450,000 individual supporters and works with over 1,400 business and nonprofit partners including Discovery, Motorola, Amtrak, Dell, Virgin America, and Staples. Please visit www.carbonfund.org.
About Virgin America: Virgin America is one of the fastest growing start-up U.S. airlines of all time. The airline's new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets at seat for electronic gear. Virgin America offers in-flight internet on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the U.S. skies via its touch-screen Red(TM) system. The airline was named "Best Domestic Airline" in the Conde Nast Traveler 2008 and 2009 Readers' Choice Awards and in Travel + Leisure's 2008 and 2009 World's Best Awards. For more: www.virginamerica.com.
SOURCE Virgin America