Boeing Joins Virgin In Biofuel Effort

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Boeing and Virgin Atlantic announced on Tuesday that they will work together to develop biofuels for jet aircraft and will demonstrate the results using a 747-400 by next year. The demonstration will be the first by any commercial airline. The two companies also said they would work together to reduce fuel burn and cut aircraft emissions on the ground by exploring alternatives to traditional operations at airports. For example, by towing airplanes to "starting grids" close to the runway before running the engines, fuel consumption and carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 50 percent. Trials in London and San Francisco have produced positive results, and work continues to develop effective procedures. Virgin also announced that it has ordered 15 of Boeing's fuel-efficient 787-9 Dreamliners. "This revolutionary aircraft will bring a step change to the industry, substantially reducing environmental impact and incorporating innovative design and advanced technology, while providing an enhanced flying experience for our passengers," said Steve Ridgway, CEO of Virgin Atlantic. Further details about the biofuel project will be announced later this year.