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Virgin, Alaska Airlines, Continental Get Green Nod From Greenopia

Virgin, Alaska Airlines and Continental won the top tthree spots in Greenopia’s rankings of the most environmentally friendly airlines as the website updated its rankings yesterday.

Virgin won points for its young fleet, only 2 years old on average, making it more fuel efficient, and has installed winglets on its aircraft to make them more efficient still. It’s use of biofuels (some flights have been powered solely by biofuel) and its voluntary carbon offset program also help move up its ranking, though it looses a few points for its lack of LEED terminals and office buildings.

Alaska Airlines has one of the younger fleets in Greenopia’s ratings with an average fleet age of around 6 years. It also uses some of the more efficient plane models presently available. Among its initiatives, Alaska Airlines recycles on its flights and has one of the more comprehensive recycling programs in the industry as a whole.

Continental, meanwhile, came in third. It also scored points for its young fleet (though at an average of 9 years, not quite as young as Virgin’s), carbon offset program, winglet use and environmental program, as well as using LEED elements in some of its buildings and the use of electricity to power its ground vehicles, rather than fossil fuels. It also got the nod for other energy saving strategies such as single-engine taxiing and engine washing.

Meanwhile, US Airways came in last on the list, although it received a commendation for improving its environmental reporting.

The new rankings come out as Air Canada announced the expansion of its Voluntary Carbon Offset program with two new carbon offset projects, including a landfill gas recovery project in Ontario and a tire recycling program in Quebec. Air Canada has already been offering carbon offsets through a reforestation project in British Columbia. Air Canada operates its carbon offset program in collaboration with Zerofootprint.

Air Canada was not listed among the airlines reviewed by Greenopia.

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