Virgin Atlantic's purchase of 15 Boeing 787-9s includes an agreement with General Electric and The Boeing Co. to advance founder Richard Branson's environmental interests. The companies plan to develop biofuels for jet aircraft and to demonstrate results using a 747-400 by next year. A sister company of Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Fuels, will supply the fuel.
Boeing and Virgin also say they will work together to conserve fuel and reduce aircraft emissions on the ground by exploring alternative operations. For example, towing planes close to runways before starting the engines could lower fuel consumption and carbon emissions by up to 50%.