Celebrating 10 Years of our Carbon Offset program

We're delighted to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the world’s first government certified airline Carbon Offset scheme, Fly Carbon Neutral, with well over 4 million seats offset since the program’s launch in 2007.

Together you have helped us offset over 500,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, which represents the equivalent of eliminating 358,000 tonnes of waste before it hits landfill, powering 91,000 Australian homes for a year or flying to the moon 33 times!

We’re proud of these achievements, and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank our guests who have elected to fly carbon neutral with us over the last 10 years, for the contribution they have made to support the environment.


How does Carbon Offsetting work?

Put simply, flying impacts the environment because aviation fuel results in the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other emissions into the upper atmosphere. Fly Carbon Neutral provides our guests the opportunity to voluntarily offset these emissions associated with their flights.


How do we calculate the emissions for an individual guest on a Virgin Australia flight?

The process to calculate seat emissions is extensive and conducted annually. It includes calculating:

  1. Fuel use over the past year for the route in question
  2. Emissions associated with ground activities like electricity use in terminals and fuel used by airside vehicles
  3. Dividing this by the number of people that travelled this route during the previous year
  4. Subtracting an amount to account for the freight we carry
  5. Inputting this into an online calculator and…

Voila! We have determined the emissions attributable to your seat.

We then multiply this by the purchase price of greenhouse gas abatement projects (dollars per tonne) to determine the final purchase fee.

From here, Virgin Australia purchases and retires an equivalent amount of carbon offset credits - meaning the emissions from your flight are truly neutralised*.

PS: Even if your flight is a little longer than anticipated due to weather conditions like headwinds, or the aircraft is put into a holding patter by Air Traffic Control - never fear! The figures we quote you take all this into account.


How do we use your money?

Carbon offsetting involves investing in projects that either take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or avoid its release – effectively counterbalancing the emissions associated with your flight!

One such project Virgin Australia guests directly support when they offset their flights is the Tasmanian Land Conservancy’s (TLC) New Leaf Project, by protecting 12,000 hectares of native Tasmanian forest, containing entire watersheds of pristine ecosystems and habitats.

You can find more information about how TLC’s use science and technology to guide its carbon abatement and biodiversity conservation work on the the TasLand website.


I want to start flying Carbon Neutral from now on? How can I do this?

The good news is it’s very simple and can be done in the same transaction as booking your flight. You can even use your Velocity Frequent Flyer Points!

If you take up this option, the charge will be added to the cost of your flight. You’ll receive a receipt once the transaction is finalised.

Fun Fact: Guests departing Ballina Byron Airport are the most likely to offset their flight during booking!


Virgin Australia’s commitment to sustainability

Aviation has made the natural and urban wonders significantly more accessible to people.

We’re passionate about the destinations we fly to, so it makes sense we want to minimise the impact we have on the environment and have implemented a range of initiatives focussed towards sustainability including

  • Reducing emissions through carbon off setting
  • Seeking additional operational efficiencies
  • Reinvesting in our fleet to ensure it remains young and fuel efficient
  • Partnering with Greening Australia to launch Reef Aid, an initiative dedicated to reducing soil erosion and restoring water quality on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
  •  Partnering with OzHarvest to donate surplus food from Virgin Australia aircraft, resulting in food donations in excess of 110,000 kilos – that’s 330,000 meals for Australians in need.


So what’s next for Virgin Australia?

Virgin Australia’s strategy to achieve greater sustainability is constantly evolving, building on our previous successes.

In 2007, we were proud to develop the world-first Fly Carbon Neutral program and in 2017, we‘re proud to continue to champion sustainability in aviation.

Our latest initiatives sees the use and production of sustainable aviation fuels in Australia through a trial  of sustainable aviation fuel through Brisbane Airport’s fuel supply system.

We’re excited for what can be achieved in the sustainability space in aviation, and continue to seek new opportunities and solutions to lead the aviation industry, both in Australia and across the world.


**Since 2007 our data and methodology has been independently verified and then certified by the Australian Government’s Greenhouse Friendly program, which has since been replaced by the National Carbon Offset Standard Carbon Neutral program (NCOS CN).

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