Global travel firms unite in climate-change drive

LONDON - A global consortium of travel companies, including Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and easyJet, are joining forces for an initiative called 'Flying Matters' to demonstrate that the industry is taking climate change seriously.

Airlines, aircraft manufacturers and airport operators, as well as other travel and non-travel groups including VisitBritain, will pool their resources in work expected to launch this month.

The consortium is being led by Virgin Atlantic, following Sir Richard Branson's call on the aviation industry to develop a shared solution to climate change last September. The work will be overseen by Virgin Atlantic's Michelle de Lio; EasyJet will also play an organisational role.

Last year, Virgin Atlantic outlined its plans to invest $3bn in renewable energy over the next 10 years. The funds will be invested in schemes to develop renew-able energy technologies  through an investment unit called Virgin Fuels.

The airline has teamed up with engine maker GE Aviation and Boeing to research, develop and formulate a carbon-free jet bio-fuel. It hopes to run a test flight of a 'green' Boeing 747-400 in 2008.

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