Etihad Airways operates its most sustainable flight ever

2019 "Greenliner" special livery

On Saturday, October 23, 2021, Etihad Airways operated its most sustainable flight ever, leveraging the learnings and efficiencies developed over the last two years of its comprehensive sustainability program to reduce carbon emissions (CO2) by 72% in absolute terms compared to the equivalent flight operated in 2019.

The London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi flight is part of the Etihad Greenliner Program – a two-year partnership between Etihad and Boeing using Etihad’s Boeing 787 fleet as a test bed for sustainability improvements in partnership with organizations across the industry. It required huge collaboration across the aviation ecosystem to deliver a sustainable in-flight product, coordination with airspace management for optimized flight routing, new technology flight deck tools, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), contrail reduction and airport handling processes.

In an industry-first, EY20 was the first commercial flight to explore contrail-avoidance. Working with UK-based SATAVIA, the team identified potential areas of ice super-saturated regions in the atmosphere where harmful contrails are likely to form, and the flight route was adjusted to avoid these areas. Based on the original and adjusted flight plan, the strategy avoided the production of approximately 64 tonnes of CO2e, with a fuel penalty of only 100kg, or 0.48 tons CO2.

The contributions covered three phases, planning, in-flight and post-flight. This included preparing the aircraft, engines and route planning systems to optimize take-off, en-route and landing flight paths and trajectories, minimizing contrail formation, working with our guests to reduce their luggage and rewarding those that travelled light.

Etihad provided catering that was appropriately sourced and served on sustainable crockery and with light-weight cutlery. The crockery itself is part of a circular recycling process where they are returned to the manufacturer at the end of their serviceable life and ground down to its raw material and remade. Guests were also provided with environmentally friendly plant-based water bottles and limited-edition tote bags from upcycled aircraft materials. 80% of all single use plastics were eliminated.

Once the aircraft arrived at Abu Dhabi, it was serviced by Etihad’s new fleet of electric vehicles for ground logistics such as baggage unloading. Where electric vehicles were unable to be used, Etihad purchased bio-diesel to fuel equipment such as the airline’s passenger coach service between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, meaning all passengers, including those transiting to Dubai, were completely carbon neutral for the entirety of their journey.

The data gathered from the aircraft’s sensors was added to Etihad’s growing database on flight performance, and analyzed using tools from Greenliner partner, GE Digital to improve understanding of flight performance and allow quick recognition of unsustainable activities.

Video:

Top Copyright Photo: Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner A6-BMH (msn 60765) (Greenliner) FRA (Marcelo F. De Biasi). Image: 951389.

Etihad Airways aircraft slide show:

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