|FEBRUARY 4, 2008—In a groundbreaking move, Virgin Atlantic will test biofuel on a Boeing 747 flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Amsterdam later this month.|
The test flight with no passengers is biofuel’s virgin commercial air voyage.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, air travel contributes about 12 percent to global warming, but airlines are particularly interested in finding alternatives to crude oil as prices skyrocket.
Environmentalists and the airline industry are watching the test flight closely.
“The demonstration flight will give us crucial knowledge that we can use to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint,” Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic, said in a statement.
Virgin Atlantic teams with GE Aviation and Boeing for the experimental flight that will run on a mixture of 80 percent jet fuel and 20 percent biofuel.
The new fuel mixture needs to meet with Federal Aviation Administration approval before it can be used on commercial flights.
“There will be extensive testing before this reaches the commercial market,” former industry executive Henry Harteveldt, an airline industry analyst with Forrester Research in San Francisco, told the San Francisco Chronicle.