The commercial aviation industry could go from being one of the dirtiest to being one of the cleanest in ten years, according to one of the industry’s best-known figures.
[Virgin Airways Founder and President] Richard Branson says the world’s 7,000 airlines could switch to low-carbon jet fuels much faster than other forms of transportation because airplanes have very few “filling stations.”
“Unlike cars where there are millions of filling stations, there are only about 1,700 aviation stations in the world. So if you can get the right fuel, like mass-produced algae, then getting it to 1,700 outlets is not so difficult,” Branson said in an interview with The Guardian.
Branson’s Virgin Group, which owns a majority stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways, said the industry should aim for 50% sustainable fuels by 2020.
“Aviation fuel is 25-40% of the running costs of airlines so the industry is open to new fuels,” said Branson, who also heads up the Carbon War Room, an effort to work with and reward businesses that lead reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.