Browsing Tag: Virgin Atlantic

Virgin and British Aiways Boeing 747-400's racing for the finish (yes, I am sure this is photoshopped)

Virgin and British Aiways Boeing 747-400's racing for the finish (yes, I am sure this is photoshopped)

Virgin Atlantic  and British Airways have had a cold war going on for years, according to Sir Branson. Now he is taking advantage of British Airways’ admission of financial difficulty by urging the British government not to financially assist the legacy carrier. He states that British Airways is, “not worth much.”

Although Sir Branson might be trying to stir up trouble, British Airways is not in the best financial shape. British Airways’ CEO Willie Walsh has a self-imposed June 30 deadline which he calls, “a fight for survival.”

He recently asked all 40,000 employees to work up to four weeks without pay in an effort to keep the airline afloat.

Sir Branson, who founded the privately held Virgin Atlantic, obviously has much invested if British Airways fails. “We and others are standing by ready to take on their routes and runway slots at Heathrow if they get into serious trouble,” Sir Branson stated re-assuring the government their nation would still have a viable transportation network.

A British Airways spokes person calls Sir Branson’s comments as “fantasy.” The airline stated, “There are no talks with the Government and there will be no talks. We have opposed state aid and our position has not changed.” Both British Airways’s CEO Walsh and finance director Keith Williams have announced they will work for free during the month of July.

Even if British Airways pulls through and Branson is just in fantasy-land, it is never a good sign having an airline (or any company for that matter) asking its employees to work for free.  In this economic time, nothing is impossible and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Source: dailymail Image: SamR
Test Pilot Captain Keith Pattie, right, Air New Zealand's Chief Pilot Captain David Morgan, left, pose with the company's CEO , Rob Fyfe before their test of a Bio Fuel mixture in the left hand engine of Boeing 747 in Auckland, New Zealand

Test Pilot Captain Keith Pattie, right, Air New Zealand's Chief Pilot Captain David Morgan, left, pose with the company's CEO , Rob Fyfe before their test of a Bio Fuel mixture in the left hand engine of Boeing 747 in Auckland, New Zealand

Back in late 2008 I talked about how Boeing was working with Continental Airlines on an algae-based bio fuel.

On Thursday Bill Blover, managing director of environmental strategy for Boeing Commercial Planes stated the new fuel could be approved and in commercial flights as early as early 2010. He states the technology is ready, but there isn’t enough plant stock yet to create enough fuel.

The New York Times reportsthat Boeing has been working with four airlines on four different fuel mixtures, “Virgin Atlantic flight using a coconut- and babassu-derived biofuel blend; an Air New Zealand flight using a jatropha-derived biofuel blend; a Continental Airlines flight using a blend of algae- and jatropha-derived biofuel; and a Japan Airlines flight using an algae-, jatropha- and camelina-derived biofuel blend.”

Air New Zealand showed a 1% improvement in fuel efficiency which might not sound like a lot, but a large jet burning fuel on a 12 hour flight, equates to about a savings of 1.43 metric tons of fuel and 4.5 metric tons of reduced carbon dioxide. Multiply that by the amount of flights going on globally on any given day, and that ads up to a lot of savings.

Even though we might start seeing some new biofuel in some jets starting in early 2010, they will still have to fight production ability and being cost effective compared to jet fuel and if the economy is down, it is most likely airlines won’t be willing to pay a premium for green fuel.

Image: AP Photo/NZ Herald, Paul Estcourt