Aircraft not only emits carbon dioxide but also emits hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, black carbon, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, lead etc. into the atmosphere causing substantial environmental pollution (Johnston, 2013). The operations of the airline sector have been causing degradation to the environment which evidently implies that the principles of sustainable development are not followed effectively. One of the significant parts of the sustainable development is environmental protection which supports the enforcement of anti-pollution laws and other pollution control measures. The fact that airlines like Virgin Atlantic have been causing air pollution in the environment proves that the airline companies do not comply with the principles of sustainable development.
Another important principle of sustainable development is the integration of environmental and economic decisions which state that companies like airline companies must make economic and profitable decisions by reflecting on the effects on the environment, human health and social impacts (Kaur Sahota, 2016). The tourism especially air tourism does not comply with sustainable development as there is a strong conflict between tourism and environment. This implies that social well-being, economy and environment are not effectively managed to impart benefits equally to the present as well as the future generations.
The sustainability programme of Virgin Atlantic is named as “Change is in the Air” which aims to focus on areas that have the greatest impact on the environmental footprint. The focus of the project is to reduce aircraft emission by innovating fuels, reducing wastes and operating efficient and quieter aircraft. Virgin Atlantic has been working with the buyers, suppliers and designers to ensure that environmental standards are maintained. The future development of Virgin Atlantic in the area of sustainability and carbon reduction has the capability to address and mitigate the disharmony between tourism, environment and sustainable development. Virgin has been supporting the global carbon deal in order to reduce carbon emission.