Taking advantage of the experiences, studies and operational efficiencies it has developed over the past two years, since the launch of its intensive sustainability programme, Etihad Airways has been able to operate the most sustainable flight ever. Flight EY20, from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi, managed to reduce 72% of emissions CO2, in absolute terms, compared to a similar flight operated in 2019.
The flight came as part of the Etihad Greenliner programme, a two-year partnership between Etihad and Boeing, during which the two companies will use the Etihad fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft as a testbed to improve many aspects of sustainability, in partnership with leading organizations in the aviation sector. There is no doubt that the success of the process of reaching a sustainable product on board the aircraft requires the concerted efforts of several parties at the sector level, coordination with the airspace management, to obtain the optimal flight path, and possession of modern advanced technologies on board the cockpit, and sustainable aviation fuel, in addition to the related processes and procedures With condensing and handling tracks at the airport.
In an industry first, flight EY20 explored ways to avoid condensation paths. The Federation worked with Satavia in the United Kingdom to develop a plan to identify the areas most vulnerable to the formation of ice crystals in the atmosphere, which results in the formation of the harmful condensation path, after which the flight path is modified, and those areas are avoided. Based on the original and revised flight plan, the strategy was able to avoid the production of approximately 64 tons of CO2, resulting in a fuel fine reduced to 100 kg, or 0.48 tons of CO2 emitted.
Mohammed Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer and Commercial Operations at Etihad Aviation Group, said: “When Etihad pledged to reduce carbon emissions to reach zero, it was recognized that this matter would not be achieved without constructive and positive cooperation between the various partners and stakeholders in the sector. And that’s exactly what ITU has done, through the sustainable journey. Equally important, Etihad, Boeing and their partners, airports, air navigation service providers and suppliers, were able to take advantage of the flight to identify other areas that need further improvement.
Following the flight’s arrival, Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, said: “I particularly commend our partners Boeing, NATS, Eurocontrol, General Electronic Aviation, Vitol, Satavia, deStar, Sola Holland, ButterflyCup, Agthia, Jubail Island and dnata catering. This trip would not have been possible, had it not been for the joint cooperation between all parties, and our commitment to achieving the savings we have achieved.
The cooperation came to cover three phases, pre-flight planning, on-boarding, and post-flight planning. This included preparing the aircraft, engines, optimum flight path planning and take-off systems, flight and landing paths, and reducing the formation of condensation paths. Etihad also cooperated with its guests to carry light baggage, with a reward for those who meet this condition.
The Federation was keen to select all food products in a way that takes into account the conditions of sustainability, with the use of sustainable crockery and light cutlery. Noting that the crockery is subject to regular recycling, so at the end of its service life, it is returned to the factory, to be ground and re-cooked. Guests also received special eco-friendly bottles of plant-based water and limited-edition pouches, recycled from end-of-life materials on board. As a result, 80 percent of single-use plastics are saved.
Upon the flight’s arrival in Abu Dhabi, it was received by the Etihad fleet of electric ground vehicles dedicated to logistics services, such as unloading luggage. In cases where electric vehicles are not allowed, Etihad has purchased biodiesel for its other vehicles, such as buses transporting passengers between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, meaning that all passengers, including those departing to Dubai, had a completely carbon-neutral trip.
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