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Richard Branson targets 25 pct cut in world aviation emissions


London (XFNews) - Sir Richard Branson, the chairman of Virgin Atlantic, today set out plans for radically more efficient aircraft movements at airports and the way planes land which he said could reduce the world's aviation emissions by up to 25 pct.

Speaking in New York, the entrepreneur proposed the creation of "starting grids" -- holding areas close to the runway -- for all aircraft departures.

The idea is that aircraft can be towed closer to a runway before take-off, substantially reducing the time that engines need to be running and hence fuel consumption.

Branson also proposed the wider use of Continuous Descent Approach flying. This involves aircraft beginning their descent from high altitude much earlier, leading to a slower and smoother approach before landing. This means aircraft descend at a more efficient speed, therefore reducing fuel burn.

He also called for a single European air traffic control organisation to replace the current 35. This would optimise air routings to the benefit of the environment.

"What we're suggesting would save over 150 mln tonnes of carbon emissions a year," said Branson.

"With global warming, the world is heading for a catastrophe. The aviation industry must play its part in averting that. Airlines, airports, air traffic controllers and governments should seize these initiatives and ensure theyre all implemented within two years."

Branson said he has written to other airlines, including British Airways PLC, easyJet PLC, and AMR Corp's American Airlines, engine and aircraft manufacturers such as Rolls-Royce Group PLC and Boeing Co and airport operators including Grupo Ferrovial SA's BAA in the UK, urging them to support a new cross-industry forum which will help to deliver practical ways of tackling climate change.

Last week Branson pledged his aviation and train companies would invest 3 bln usd in renewable energy initiatives over the next 10 years.

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