Virgin Atlantic is considering charging Upper Class customers higher fuel surcharges to offset their environmental impact.
Speaking during a trip in support of tourism to Kenya, chairman Sir Richard Branson said the airline wants to make surcharging fairer across different types of ticket.
He explained that passengers in Upper Class cabins effectively produce a carbon footprint double that of an economy-class customer. No figures have been finalised for the new proposals.
Branson said: “[Addressing that problem] would cut fuel charges in economy class.”
“The airline industry has a responsibility to try to tackle the problem of CO2 emissions. At Virgin we are putting resources into clean energy and trying to combat global warming.”
He revealed that he believes the aviation industry will see more airlines collapse in the current economic climate. He predicted the cost of oil would hit $200 a barrel by 2010, which would force many under-performing airlines with older fleets out of business.
Branson said the debacle at Terminal 5 was bad for the global image of the UK but he admitted: “We have had a lot of customers who have come over [from British Airways].”
He also said Virgin Atlantic was desperately in need of the 787 Dreamliner aircraft in order to expand to destinations such as Toronto and Bangkok.
He said: “If the 787 was here today we would have 50 of them straight away.”
Virgin is investing in developing environmentally friendly fuels including using algae and has experimented with carbon fibre aircraft.