Virgin Atlantic to test biofuels on an upcoming flight

A flight's high carbon output has long been an issue for environmentally conscious travelers. But if entrepreneur Richard Branson succeeds with his latest endeavor, flying may be getting greener. The New York Times reports that Virgin Atlantic will test biofuels on a flight from London to Amsterdam in February.

The initiative is a combined effort between Boeing, GE Aviation, and Virgin. The test plane will be a 747-400, and the flight will span an hour and twenty minutes. The plan is for the plane to run off a combo of 20 percent biofuels and 80 percent standard jet fuel. There will be no passengers on the test flight.

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According to GE Aviation, "the test plane would be configured with one of its CF6 engines, which would not require any modifications to burn biofuel. The new fuel would also have no effect on the engine's performance or range." Such a statement gives me hope that these positive updates won't necessarily translate to higher ticket prices. Theoretically, biofuels could even lower prices if less high-priced petroleum is used.

Last year, Branson committed $3 billion to fight global warming, with an emphasis on ending dependence on fossil fuels. I'm pleased to see he's following through with his promise, and hope other airlines follow his example.

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