Virgin Atlantic Airways has ordered 15 Boeing 787 planes as part of an environmental partnership with the company that includes joint research into biofuels for use in jet engines, The New York Times reports.
Virgin says that the 787 will be 27 percent more fuel-efficient per passenger than an A340. Analysts said the fuel-efficiency claims remained to be proved, as Virgin Atlantic has yet to choose between Rolls-Royce and General Electric engines.
An industry insider believes that Virgin’s move could pressure British Airways to follow with its own order for greener aircraft.
Virgin and Boeing also plan to test biofuel on one of the carrier’s 747-400 jets sometime in 2008.