Sustainability has had an extensive impact on the world we live in and it is going to have a greater significance in a post-Covid world. Embarking on a journey to greener skies, Etihad Airways is committed to its sustainability goals and is shaping the future of airline sustainability. The national airline of the UAE remains at the forefront to pioneer new and effective ways of mitigating aviation’s environmental impact to reduce carbon emissions and create cleaner and more sustainable transportation for future generations.
Etihad leads the industry in creating, testing and implementing technologies that make travel safer, more sustainable, more enjoyable and with passenger wellness as the priority.
While aviation sustainability is ever-evolving, Etihad Airways took on key initiatives, showcasing how the airline is committed to being ‘Greener Together’. Through these initiatives, Etihad unites industry-wide sustainability action to responsible aviation as a sustainable corporate leader.
Etihad has committed to purchasing carbon offsets, to completely neutralise the CO2 emissions of its flagship “Greenliner” 787-10 aircraft for a full year of operations in 2021. The initiative is the start of the airline’s journey to reduce CO2 emissions to 50 percent of 2019 levels by 2035, and to achieve full net zero emissions by 2050 – a first for any airline in the Gulf and one of the first to set a target of this scale in the industry. Separately the airline will implement an additional voluntary offset programme for passengers via its website (etihad.com) in 2021. Etihad’s plan is centred on a Tanzanian forestry project and will initially purchase 80,000 tonnes of CO2 offsets.
Supporting the ecoDemonstrator programme
In August 2020, Etihad and Boeing worked together on the seventh iteration of the ecoDemonstrator programme to test innovative technologies in the air, building on the core innovation and sustainability tenets. Now, in December 2020, Etihad Airways inaugurated the pioneering 2020 ecoDemonstrator aircraft into commercial service.
The usage of Sustainable Aviation Fuel
For the last decade, exploring the usage of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) has been at the core of Etihad’s business. One of the airline’s first stints with SAF was in 2012 when it fueled its first flight using plant-based fuel. The highest permittable blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) was used throughout the programme, as well as on the delivery flight from Charleston to Abu Dhabi. As a result, over 60 tonnes of emissions were avoided on the delivery flight alone. These initiatives are progressive and exciting as Etihad continues to learn about sustainable fuels with the aim of making them less expensive and more widely available.
Zero net carbon emissions by 2050
In January 2020, Etihad announced its commitment to zero net carbon emissions by 2050 and a halving of 2019 emissions by 2035. These ambitious environmental targets will be achieved through a mix of optimised fuel management, internal initiatives, collaboration with industry partners and adoption of a comprehensive program of relevant carbon offsets, to be developed with specific focus on the requirements of the UAE and markets served by the airline.
Partnership with Boeing
In November last year, Etihad signed a groundbreaking global strategic partnership with Boeing, centered on the Boeing 787 ‘Greenliner’ to test cutting-edge technologies and explore ‘blue sky’ opportunities to improve airspace efficiency, reduce fuel burn, and cut CO2 emissions and noise pollution. Etihad’s Greenliner programmer, is an Industry-leading strategic partnership focused on innovation, collaboration and corporate/consumer engagement to minimise the impact of climate change.