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Sir Richard Branson Proposes Airline Changes

Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic, has expressed concerns regarding the rising contribution of aircraft to global warming. Sir Richard has written to airline executives iterating the urgency with which this matter should be attended. He has pledged 3 billion dollars on renewable energy and is now suggesting an industry forum be established to concentrate on the reduction of air pollution from air travel.

Sir Richard has proposed a number of practices which he believes could cut aircraft emmissions by a quarter over the next two years, such as towing aircraft to starting grids, changing landing approaches and unifying Europe's air traffic control systems to shorten flight routes.

Gatwick airport has already offered to run a trial of the proposal to tow aircraft to the starting grid.

Richard Dyer, aviation campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said many of these proposals were either in consideration or have been adopted already. He also raised the issue that high altitude flying and take-offs, when aircraft emit the most carbon dioxide, have still to be addressed. And suggested runway developments should not be supported as this will only contribute further to the growing concerns.

Sir Richard Branson has admitted parts of his proposal are not original ideas but believes there has been insufficient governing of them and greater attention and enforcement is needed to counter the effects of airline pollution sooner rather that later.

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