The Australian is calling the Virgin Atlantic biofuel flight a “stunt”. The fact that a Virgin publicity exercise involving Richard Branson is being called a stunt shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone.
What is a surprise to me is that after reading the press release I am disappointed with Virgin Atlantic. Here was a great opportunity to show the world that biofuels were a viable option for airlines. Instead we get an overblown press release about how a flight involving an empty 747 with one engine running on a mixture of coconut and babassu oil:
…marks a biofuel breakthrough for the whole airline industry.
The truth is this is a test flight of which we know very little detail. Before the results have been collected Virgin is trumpeting that they are:
…becoming the first airline in the world to fly on renewable fuel.
…is helping to pioneer renewable fuel sources for aviation.
This is stretching the truth too far in my opinion. When any airline can demonstrate the flight of one of their aircraft powered completely by a sustainable biofuel that has been certified for use in that aircraft type we will witness a breakthrough for the whole airline industry. Until then lets keep things in perspective.
I hope the post flight press release contains more detail and less hype.
Source: The Australian, PR Newswire.com