Abu Dhabi (Etihad) Etihad Airways has recently been able to operate the most sustainable flight ever, 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. Flight EY20 from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi was able to reduce by 72% of CO2 emissions, in absolute terms, compared to a similar flight operated in 2019.
The flight comes as part of the Etihad Greenliner programme, a two-year partnership between Etihad and Boeing, in 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 processes and procedures related to condensation paths. Handling at the airport.
In an industry first, flight EY20 explored ways to avoid condensation paths. The consortium worked with the UK-based company, SATAVIA, to develop a plan to identify the areas most prone 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 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 100kg, or 0.48t of CO2 emitted.
Mohammed Al Bulooki, Chief Operating and Commercial Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “The flight generated noteworthy savings. It is also worth noting that when the Union 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 is exactly what the Federation has done with its 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 would like to 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 without the joint cooperation between all parties, and our commitment to achieving the savings we have achieved. Each of these partners played a significant role in achieving this giant step.”
The cooperation came to cover three phases, pre-flight, on-board and post-flight planning. This included preparing the aircraft, engines, optimum flight and take-off planning systems, flight and landing trajectories, and reducing the formation of condensation trajectories. Etihad also collaborated with its guests to carry light baggage, with a reward for those who meet this condition.
The Federation was keen to choose 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, at the end of its service life, it is returned to the factory to be ground and re-cooked again. Guests also received special eco-friendly water bottles made from plant-based materials, and limited-edition pouches recycled from end-of-life materials on board. As a result, 80 percent of single-use plastics have been saved.
Upon the flight’s arrival in Abu Dhabi, it was received by the Etihad fleet of electric ground vehicles dedicated to logistical services such as unloading baggage. In cases where the use of electric vehicles is not permitted, Etihad has purchased biodiesel for its other vehicles such as buses transporting passengers between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which means that all passengers, including those departing to Dubai, had a completely carbon-neutral trip.
The data collected on the flight was added to Etihad’s growing data on flight performance, and was analyzed using analytics tools from Greenliner partner General Electric Digital to improve understanding of flight performance and allow for rapid identification of unsustainable activities.