Category Archives: Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways to early retire its Boeing 777-300ER fleet

777-300 fleet to be retired in late 2021 or early 2022

Etihad Airways will retire its Boeing 777-300ERs after this year according to its CEO and Reuters.

Etihad wants to become profitable in 2023 and will shrink its operations to become profitable.

At least half of the 24 777-300ERs are already parked and some are operating as freighters.

Top Copyright Photo: Etihad Airways Boeing 777-3FX ER A6-ETE (msn 34601) DUB (Greenwing). Image: 932226.

Etihad aircraft slide show:

Etihad Airways trials the IATA Travel Pass on flights to North America

Etihad Airways has made this announcement:

Guests traveling with Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, from now until 31 May from Abu Dhabi to Chicago, New York, Washington and Toronto, will be the first to trial the IATA Travel Pass app to easily manage their travel health credentials.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “With the dynamically changing health requirements for travel, Etihad believes that a digital health passport solution will provide additional clarity and ease for travelers. Etihad has partnered with IATA so that together, a globally unified approach to a travel pass can be simplified to make travel easier once governments decide what regulations are required to cross borders in either direction.”

To participate in the trial, guests simply download the IATA Travel Pass app from the Apple App Store and book an appointment with Life Diagnostics at Sultan Bin Zayed the First Street or BioGenix Labs at Masdar City. At the clinic, guests inform reception they are participating in the IATA Travel Pass trial and should be ready to show their passport and mobile device with the IATA Travel Pass app downloaded. Once the test result is ready, travellers will be able to view it on both the IATA Travel Pass app and through the testing clinic’s own digital platform.

“Etihad Airways trial of IATA Travel Pass will help build confidence among governments and travelers that digital health apps can safely, securely and conveniently help restart aviation. The app gives travelers a one-stop-shop to help them comply with the new rules for travel, and for governments complete assurance in the identity of the passenger and the authenticity of the travel credentials being presented,” said Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.

The IATA Travel Pass will enable Etihad’s guests to create a ‘digital passport’ to receive Covid test results and verify they are eligible to undertake their journey. Importantly, IATA Travel Pass will keep passengers in control of their data and facilitate the sharing of their test with airlines and authorities for travel. It will also make it convenient for passengers to manage travel documentation throughout their journey.

Guests participating in the IATA Travel Pass pilot will benefit from priority queue access at Life Diagnostics and Biogenix Labs for their PCR test, faster check-in at the airport and a free 90mb Wi-Fi voucher to use in-flight. Guest who do not wish to participate in the trial can continue to follow the existing method of sharing PCR test results with Etihad by presenting a printed copy of their results at check in.

Etihad Airways first scheduled flight from Abu Dhabi lands in Israel

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on April 6 launched its regular flight service between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv. Additionally, on Monday, Israel was added to Abu Dhabi’s ‘green list’, giving quarantine-free travel for visitors arriving in Abu Dhabi.

The launch of scheduled operations comes as the next historic step in developing diplomatic, trade and tourism ties between Israel and the UAE, which were inked as part of the Abraham Accords in September 2020.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways EY598, the first scheduled flight from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Ben Gurion International Airport, took to the skies this morning (Tuesday) at 10:05 (UAE time). On board the flight was a diplomatic and economic delegation representing the UAE. The delegation includes H.E. Mohamed Al-Khaja, UAE’s first Ambassador to Israel, Eitan Nae’eh, Israel’s Head of Mission to the UAE, and Tony Douglas, Etihad’s Group CEO.

The flight landed at Ben Gurion Airport at 12:30 (Israel time) and was received with the traditional water cannon salute. A welcome reception followed, with speeches given by the UAE’s Ambassador to Israel, Etihad’s Group CEO, and Shmuel Zakay, CEO, Ben Gurion International Airport.

The route will be operated by one of Etihad’s flagship aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. With 290 seats – 28 Business studios and 262 Economy smart seats, the Dreamliner features Etihad’s renowned e-box entertainment system and inflight wi-fly connectivity network.

Etihad will initially offer two weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv. The return flight, EY599 will connect passengers from Tel Aviv into Abu Dhabi, who will no longer be required to quarantine on arrival, now that Israel has been added to the Abu Dhabi ‘green list’. As well as connecting with the UAE, passengers traveling from Tel Aviv can take advantage of onward connecting flights to 35 destinations worldwide, including major cities across Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Australia.

There is significant travel demand anticipated between Israel and the UAE and beyond, for both business and leisure travel purposes. This is bolstered by the fact that Israel and the UAE boast two of the highest vaccination rates in the world, giving potential for a vaccine corridor to further ease travel between the two destinations.

Etihad and the national carrier of Israel, EL AL, are continuing preparations for wide-ranging cooperation on the route, and beyond. The partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2020 covering codeshare on each other’s operations, a frequent flyer tie-up and cooperation in cargo, training and maintenance services.

Etihad has established a reputation as one of the leading airlines in response to the pandemic. In February 2021, Etihad was the first airline in the world to announce it is operating with 100% of its crew on board vaccinated.

The airline introduced Etihad Wellness, an industry-leading programme to ensure wellbeing at every stage of the customer journey and provide greater peace of mind when traveling. Etihad Wellness is championed by specially-trained Wellness Ambassadors who are available 24/7 to provide essential travel health information and care pre-flight through a live chat function on etihad.com, at the airport, and on board.

To reinforce the effectiveness of Etihad Wellness, the airline provides global Covid insurance with every ticket, so passengers are covered when they are away from home.

As a further commitment to safety, Etihad was the first airline in the world to require 100% of passengers to show a negative PCR test result before departure and retesting on arrival in Abu Dhabi.

All photos by the airline.

Etihad flight schedule (AUH-TLV):

Flight no. Departure Airport Departure Time Arrival Airport Arrv Time Freq Aircraft
EY  0598 AUH 10:05 TLV 12:30 Wed / Sun 787-9
EY  0599 TLV 15:15 AUH 19:35 Wed / Sun 787-9

Aircraft type – Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

 

The route will be operated by Etihad’s flagship aircraft type, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. With 290 seats – 28 Business studios and 262 Economy smart seats, the Dreamliner features Etihad’s renowned e-box entertainment system and inflight wi-fly connectivity network.

Etihad Airways accelerates transformation plan to mitigate impact of pandemic

Etihad Airways issued this statement:

Etihad Airways accelerates transformation plan to mitigate impact of pandemic
  • 4.2 million passengers carried in 2020 with seat load factor of 52.9%
  • Network capacity reduced by 64% to 37.5 billion ASKs in wake of pandemic
  • Industry-leading Etihad Wellness program developed to safeguard travelers
  • First airline in the world with 100% of operating flight crew vaccinated

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Airways has announced its financial and operating results for 2020, recording a 76% fall in passengers carried throughout the year (4.2 million, compared to 17.5 million in 2019) as a result of lower demand and reduced flight capacity caused by the unparalleled global downturn in commercial aviation.

As a consequence of the COVID pandemic and ensuing flight and travel restrictions, total passenger capacity was reduced by 64% in 2020 to 37.5 billion Available Seat Kilometers (ASKs), down from 104 billion in 2019, with the seat load factor declining to 52.9%, 25.8 percentage points lower compared to 2019 (2019: 78.7%).

The airline recorded US $1.2 billion passenger revenues in 2020, down by 74% from US $4.8 billion in 2019, due to fewer scheduled services and drastically fewer people traveling. A contributing factor to this was the total suspension of passenger services into and out of the UAE from end of March until early June 2020 to limit the spread of COVID, in line with a UAE government mandate. More than 80% of total passengers carried in 2020 were flown during the first three months of the year, demonstrating the precipitous drop in demand as the global crisis deepened over the course of the year.

The airline’s cargo operation, on the contrary, recorded an extremely strong performance, with a 66% increase in revenue from US $0.7 billion in 2019 to US $1.2 billion in 2020, driven by huge demand for medical supplies such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and pharmaceuticals, paired with limited global airfreight capacity. Cargo yield saw an improvement of 77%.

Operating costs meanwhile decreased by 39% year-on-year, from US $5.4 billion in 2019 to US $3.3 billion in 2020, due to a combination of reduced capacity and volume-related expenses, as well as a focus on cost containment initiatives. Overheads reduced by 25% to US $0.8 billion (2019: US $1.0 billion) in this timeframe, despite their fixed nature, owing to cash and liquidity management initiatives during the crisis, while the finance cost reduced by 23% through an ongoing focus on balance sheet restructuring.

Overall, this resulted in a core operating loss of US $1.70 billion (2019: US $0.80 billion) in 2020, with the EBITDA turning to negative US $0.65 billion (2019: positive US $0.45 billion).

Prior to the pandemic, Etihad was ahead of transformation targets set in 2017, having registered a 55% cumulative improvement in core results by end-of-year 2019. This momentum continued into the start of 2020, with a record first quarter (Q1) that showed year-on-year improvement of 34%. The airline is continuing to target a complete turnaround by 2023, having accelerated its transformation plans and restructured the organization during the pandemic into a leaner and more agile business.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “COVID shook the very foundation of the aviation industry, but thanks to our dedicated people and the support of our shareholder, Etihad stood firm and is ready to play a key role as the world returns to flying. While nobody could have predicted how 2020 would unfold, our focus on optimizing core business fundamentals over the past three years put Etihad in good stead to respond decisively to the global crisis. We have taken bold action to protect our people and our guests, develop an industry-leading health and hygiene program, and restructure our business to better position us for recovery. As the world’s first airline to vaccinate all our operating pilots and cabin crew against COVID, we are ready to welcome back travelers to experience best-in-class travel with Etihad Airways.”

Adam Boukadida, Chief Financial Officer, said: “We started the year on a firm footing by surpassing our transformation targets for Q1 and were looking forward to a strong performance for the year ahead – and then the pandemic took hold. As passenger revenues nosedived, we took immediate action to secure Etihad’s long-term financial health, with a wide range of measures to mitigate the impact of Covid on our business. Despite significant pressures on our cashflow, we maintained liquidity by focusing on cost control, maximising cargo revenue, enhancing our charter capabilities and raising innovative credit facilities such as the world’s-first sustainability-linked transition sukuk. This was supported by Etihad retaining an A with a ‘stable outlook’ credit rating by Fitch, making it one of a handful of airlines to maintain a pre-Covid rating.”

Summary of 2020 results:

2020 2019
Passenger revenue (US$ billion) 1.2 4.8
Cargo revenue (US$ billion) 1.2 0.70
Operating revenue (US$ billion) 2.7 5.6
EBITDA (US$ billion) (0.65) 0.45
Core operating result (US$ billion) (1.7) (0.8)
Total passengers (million) 4.2 17.5
Available seat kilometres (billion) 37.5 104.0
Seat load factor (%) 52.9 78.7
Number of aircraft 103 101
Cargo tonnage (leg tonnes ‘000) 575.7 635.0

 

 

Highlights of 2020

Putting health and wellbeing first

In 2020, Etihad established Etihad Wellness, an industry-leading program to ensure wellbeing at every stage of the customer journey and provide greater peace of mind when traveling.

  • A key service differentiator for the airline, Etihad Wellness is championed by specially-trained Wellness Ambassadors who are available 24/7 to provide essential travel health information and care pre-flight through a webchat on etihad.com, at the airport, and on board.
  • Etihad Wellness maintains the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene at every customer touchpoint, with aircraft deep cleaning and sanitization after every flight and complimentary wellness kits for every guest, among many other measures.
  • To reinforce the effectiveness of Etihad Wellness, the airline is providing global COVID insurance with every ticket, so passengers are covered when they are away from home.
  • As a further commitment to safety, Etihad is the only airline in the world to require 100% of passengers to show a negative PCR test result before departure and on arrival in Abu Dhabi. This safety measure was introduced in August 2020.

"Greenliner"

Above Copyright Photo: Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner A6-BMH (msn 60765) (Greenliner) AMS (Ton Jochems). Image: 952960.

Leading the way for sustainability

In 2020, despite the challenges of COVID, Etihad continued to pave the way for more environmentally friendly travel by implementing key sustainability initiatives.

  • In January 2020, the airline welcomed a unique, green-themed Boeing 787 into the fleet as the flagship aircraft of its Greenliner program. As part of a partnership with Boeing, the aircraft serves as a flying testbed for sustainable practices such as highly optimized route profiles to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
  • Under the Greenliner program, Etihad partnered with industry leaders Boeing, NASA and Safran on the 2020 ecoDemonstrator program. This saw an Etihad Boeing 787 aircraft test initiatives to enhance safety and reduce CO2 emissions and noise, including two innovative wellness technologies to combat COVID – a handheld ultraviolet light disinfecting system and an antimicrobial coating to prevent growth of bacteria on tray tables, armrests and other surfaces.
  • In January 2020, Etihad announced an ambitious target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050, with an additional goal of halving 2019 net emission levels by 2035. The company’s environmental targets will be achieved through a combination of internal initiatives and collaboration with industry partners to harness technology and innovation for operational efficiencies and the development of sustainable aviation fuels, supported by carbon offsetting.
  • In a global first for sustainable financing, Etihad became the first airline in the world to issue a sustainability-linked transition sukuk in October 2020, raising US$ 600 million. The deal is linked to Etihad’s carbon reduction targets, with the funds going towards investments in more energy-efficient aircraft and research and development into sustainable aviation fuel.
  • In another first, Etihad announced the launch of the Middle East’s first aircraft carbon offset program in December 2020 by committing to purchase carbon offsets to completely neutralize CO2 emissions of its flagship Greenliner aircraft for a full year of operations in 2021. The carbon credits are linked to Tanzanian forestry project Makame Savannah.

Mr Douglas added: “While dealing with the reality of the pandemic, Etihad has continued to lead the field in the development of more sustainable flying. Despite the present challenges, we cannot ignore the elephant in the room. The future of flying has to be sustainable for our planet and we need to take responsible climate action today to meet our obligations for the future.”

Taking care of the Etihad family

The airline continued to do everything possible to support employees while having to restructure its business to cope with the pandemic.

  • In September 2020, Etihad was able to offer early enrollment to frontline staff, including pilots and cabin crew, into the UAE’s national vaccination program. Etihad’s percentage of vaccinated staff has continued to grow through an internal drive to increase awareness and understanding of the vaccine.
  • The airline was one of the first companies in the UAE to offer staff the option of receiving the vaccination in the workplace after its aeromedical centre became an approved vaccination clinic.
  • More than 75% of the airline’s total UAE-based workforce has now received the vaccine, with Etihad becoming the first airline in the world to have 100% of its operating flight crew vaccinated. This milestone was reached in February 2021.
  • Due to the prolonged nature of the pandemic and curtailed capacity, the airline was forced to rationalize its manpower and make redundancies across several areas of the business.
  • The airline’s total workforce stood at 13,587 employees by the end of 2020, down by 33% from 20,369 the year before. In order to minimize job losses as much as possible, the airline introduced temporary company-wide salary reductions ranging from 25% for non-managerial roles to 50% for management and executives.

A modern fleet built around the Dreamliner

Etihad took delivery of two new Boeing 787 Dreamliners in 2020, bringing the total fleet count to 103 aircraft, with an average age of only 6.2 years. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner continues to be the backbone of the Etihad global fleet – one of the youngest and most efficient in the world.

  • With 39 Dreamliners in total, Etihad is one of the world’s largest operators of this highly efficient aircraft type.
  • The airline’s operations in 2020 have focused on B787-9 and B787-10 flying due to the aircraft’s range, efficiency and belly-hold cargo payload capability, while part of the remaining fleet has been parked due to reduced passenger operations.

Connecting travelers through Abu Dhabi

Etihad is continuing to gradually resume services and grow its global network as international borders reopen, in line with entry and health regulations set by UAE authorities and those at the end destination.

  • For the majority of 2020, point-to-point travel to and from Abu Dhabi was restricted to citizens and residents, but as a result of the UAE’s rigorous testing and safety precautions, Abu Dhabi reopened to tourists from a permitted ‘green list’ of countries on 24 December 2020.
  • At the end of 2020, the airline operated to 50 passenger and seven cargo destinations from Abu Dhabi, representing approximately 35% of its pre-COVID capacity.
  • June 2020 saw Air Arabia Abu Dhabi start operations as the first low cost carrier (LCC) based out of Abu Dhabi. A joint venture between Etihad and Air Arabia, the carrier closed the year serving eight markets, increasing Abu Dhabi’s air connectivity, diversifying the travel offering to and from the UAE capital, and complementing the Etihad passenger network.
  • Following the historic normalization of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel in 2020, Etihad announced daily year-round scheduled services set to commence between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi in March 2021.

Supporting the world through COVID-19

At the onset of the pandemic, Etihad began operating special humanitarian charters to bring much-needed medical supplies and equipment including respirators, PPE, and more recently vaccines to impacted countries.

  • The airline operated 183 such charters, ferrying more than 2,500 tonnes of essential cargo to 129 countries, with destinations including Asunción (Paraguay), Havana (Cuba), St. Kitts and Nevis (Caribbean Islands) and Lima (Peru) to name just a few.
  • In November 2020, Etihad joined the Hope Consortium, an Abu Dhabi-led coalition formed to facilitate the distribution of COVID vaccines across the world, with a complete end-to-end supply chain solution covering demand planning, sourcing and world-class facilities for transporting temperature sensitive cargo at ultra-cold conditions up to -80⁰.
  • The vaccines are being distributed by Etihad, the first carrier in the Middle East to receive IATA’s Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) certification for pharmaceutical logistics. By year-end 2020, Etihad had transported more than five million vaccine doses as part of the consortium.

Picking up industry awards:

Etihad continued to gain recognition for its leading product and service proposition throughout the year.

  • In recognition of the airline’s focus on customer wellbeing, Etihad was officially rated a Five-Star Global Airline by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) in December 2020 and awarded the Diamond status by APEX for Health Safety in January 2021.
  • Etihad received two accolades at Business Traveller Middle East Awards 2020, including ‘Best Economy Class’ for enhancing its Economy travel experience to provide greater control, choice and personalization, and ‘Best Frequent Flyer Program’ for its Etihad Guest loyalty program, which was transformed to provide greater member benefits.
  • Etihad was presented with three awards at Aviation Business Awards 2020; ‘Environmental Initiative of the Year’, for Etihad’s industry-leading commitment to driving the sustainability agenda, ‘Training Provider of the Year’ for Etihad Aviation Training and Pride of Aviation’ for demonstrating outstanding steadfastness in the face of an unprecedented industry crisis.
  • Etihad Cargo was named Best Cargo Airline – Middle East by leading airfreight industry magazine, Air Cargo Week, for the major role it played in keeping key trade lanes connected and delivering aid around the world in 2020.

Etihad Airways aircraft slide show:

Etihad Airways welcomes the reopening of Abu Dhabi

Etihad Airways has made this announcement:

Following an announcement by the Abu Dhabi Emergency Crisis and Disasters Committee, effective December 24, 2020, entry restrictions into Abu Dhabi will be relaxed. International tourists, residents and travelers from selected destinations, flying with Etihad Airways, will be allowed to enter the emirate without the need to self-isolate for 14 days.

The list of countries eligible for entry without quarantine, referred to as ‘green’ countries, will be reviewed by the Department of Health on a two-week rolling basis. Travelers from ‘green’ countries will need to self-isolate until they receive a negative PCR test result. Those entering the Emirate from countries not on the ‘green’ list will be subject to a reduced quarantine period of 10 days.

On arrival into Abu Dhabi International Airport, all passengers will undergo thermal screening and COVID-19 PCR testing. This applies to all arrivals, excluding children under 12. Once passengers arriving from ‘green’ countries receive their negative test results, they will be allowed to enjoy Abu Dhabi without the need to quarantine or wear a medical wristband. Guests staying more than six days must conduct another PCR test on day six and then again on day 12 for longer stays. Tests start from AED 85 in the UAE. Guests traveling from other destinations will be required to follow quarantine guidelines, which have been reduced to a period of 10 days.

UAE residents who have participated in the vaccination trials or National Vaccination Program are also exempt from quarantine in Abu Dhabi.

Flying to, from, and via Abu Dhabi is supported by the airline’s fully redesigned Etihad Wellness sanitization and safety program, which ensures the highest standards of hygiene are maintained at every stage of the customer journey. This includes specially trained Wellness Ambassadors, a first in the industry, who have been introduced by the airline to provide essential travel health information and care on the ground and on every flight, so guests can fly with greater ease and confidence.

As part of the Etihad Wellness program, all passengers traveling with Etihad receive complimentary COVID-19 insurance. Etihad is the only airline in the world requiring 100% of its passengers to show a negative PCR test before departure, and on arrival in Abu Dhabi, offering travelers an extra level of reassurance as they visit the Emirate.

Video:

Etihad Airways launches first aircraft carbon offset program in Middle East

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has committed to purchasing carbon offsets, to completely neutralize the CO2 emissions of its flagship “Greenliner” Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner 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 program for passengers via its website (etihad.com) in 2021.

Etihad’s Greenliner carbon offset program has been sourced in partnership with Respira, an international carbon offset finance house specializing in tailored offset schemes across multiple sectors. Etihad’s plan is centered on a Tanzanian forestry project and will initially purchase 80,000 tonnes of CO2 offsets.

The Makame Savannah REDD project – developed by Carbon Tanzania – employs a unique community-based model to curb deforestation and promote better management of local natural resources across over 100,000 hectares in the southern extension of the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem.

The offset scheme is verified and certified by VERRA, an independent carbon offset quality assurance body, under its Verified Carbon Standard. This ensures carbon offsets are quantifiable, additional, and fully sustainable. In addition, the Tanzanian project conforms to Climate, Community and Biodiversity standards, which protect endangered species and local communities. The scheme’s first offset vintages were certified in early November 2020.

The launch of the Greenliner carbon offset program complements Etihad’s ongoing work to develop and test Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs), with the goal of making them commercially viable for widespread adoption by the industry.

To support Etihad and Abu Dhabi’s long-term sustainability objectives, Respira will establish operations in the Capital of the UAE at the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the Emirate’s international financial centre, to bring its offset expertise to the Middle East.

Etihad Airways aircraft photo gallery:

Etihad Airways aircraft slide show:

Etihad Airways announces new route to Israel

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, will launch daily scheduled year-round flights to Tel Aviv, the economic and technological center of Israel.

The launch of flights follows the normalisation of diplomatic ties between the two nations, and the signing of the Abraham Accords between the UAE and Israel in Washington D.C. on  September 15, 2020. Only a month later, Etihad became the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Tel Aviv on October 19, 2020.

 

Etihad makes bold changes to organizational structure to address impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Etihad Airways has made this announcement:

etihad-organisational-structure-changes
  • Decisive steps taken to implement new operating model for Etihad as mid-sized carrier
  • New streamlined structure is leaner, flatter and scaleable to support organic growth as air travel resumes
  • Continued focus on safety, security and service and industry-leading Etihad Wellness program

Etihad Airways has announced a new organizational structure that will position the business to deliver on its mandate in the wake of COVID-19 and meet the challenges of the global downturn in aviation head on.

The restructuring sees the airline continuing its transformation into a mid-sized, full-service carrier concentrating on its fleet of widebody aircraft, with a leaner, flatter and scaleable organisational structure that supports organic growth as the world returns to flying.

By embedding the new structure, the airline will strengthen its focus on its core offering of safety, security, service; continue developing its industry-leading health and hygiene programme Etihad Wellness, and prioritise innovation and sustainability, which are essential to the future of the airline.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “After our best-ever Q1 performance, none of us could have predicted the challenges that lay ahead in the remainder of this year. I’m extremely proud of the way my leadership team and the whole Etihad family have navigated the COVID-19 crisis so far, and I must express my gratitude to each member of the team for continually proving our adaptability to the most unexpected of circumstances.

“As a responsible business, we can no longer continue to incrementally adapt to a marketplace that we believe has changed for the foreseeable future. That is why we are taking definitive and decisive action to adjust our business and position ourselves proudly as a mid-sized carrier. The first stage of this is an operational model change that will see us restructure our senior leadership team and our organisation to allow us to continue delivering on our mandate, ensuring long-term sustainability, and contributing to the growth and prominence of Abu Dhabi.”

The new operational model will result in a number of changes to the executive leadership team to streamline the organizational structure.

Etihad Airways aircraft photo gallery:

Etihad makes history with the first commercial passenger flight from a GCC nation to Israel

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, will become the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Israel, to bring Israel’s top travel and tourism leaders to the UAE.

The historic flight, flown in partnership with the Maman Group, will depart Tel Aviv on 19 October, operated by an Etihad Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft for the three-and-a-half-hour journey from Israel to the UAE. The return journey will depart Abu Dhabi on 21 October.

As a travel trade mission, the flight will bring a group of tourism industry leaders, key corporate decision makers, travel agents, and cargo agents, along with media to experience Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE, at the invitation of Etihad Airways and representatives of Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry.

This is the latest development in a growing cooperation between the two nations following the establishment of diplomatic ties, and the signing of the Abraham Accords between the UAE and Israel in Washington D.C. on 15 September. It also follows Israeli national airline El Al’s first symbolic commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi on 31 August.

His Excellency Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Today’s flight is a historic opportunity for the development of strong partnerships here in the UAE, and in Israel, and Etihad as the national airline, is delighted to be leading the way. We are just starting to explore the long-term potential of these newly forged relationships, which will be sure to greatly benefit the economies of both nations, particularly in the areas of trade and tourism, and ultimately the people who call this diverse and wonderful region home.”

As an important facilitator of trade, the flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi will also carry commercial cargo sourced from, and destined for, points across Etihad’s global network, in addition to commercial guests.

Boeing and Etihad Airways concluded testing on the ecoDemonstrator program

Boeing and Etihad Airways concluded testing on the aerospace company’s 2020 ecoDemonstrator program last week with a cross-country flight using a 50/50 blend of sustainable and traditional jet fuel.

Flying from Seattle to Boeing’s manufacturing site in South Carolina, Etihad’s newest 787-10 Dreamliner used the maximum sustainable fuel blend permitted for commercial aviation. The transcontinental flight also demonstrated a new way for pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operations centers to communicate simultaneously and optimize routing.

Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program takes promising technologies out of the lab and tests them in the air to accelerate innovation. This year’s program evaluated four projects to reduce emissions and noise and enhance the safety and health of passengers and crew. All of the 787-10 test flights used a blend of traditional jet fuel and sustainable fuel produced from inedible agricultural wastes to minimize emissions, with the final flight operating at the maximum 50/50 commercial blend.

The fuel from World Energy and supplied to Boeing by EPIC Fuels has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials to reduce carbon emissions by more than 75% over the fuel’s life cycle.

The partnership between Boeing and Etihad Airways represents a longstanding collaboration to make flying more sustainable. The two companies were among the founding partners that created the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium in 2010. Based at Khalifa University near Abu Dhabi, the pilot project for a unique desert ecosystem produces sustainable fuel from plants that grow in the desert, irrigated by coastal seawater. Etihad used the initial batch of fuel from the pilot project in January 2019 on a passenger flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam.

In January 2020, Etihad took delivery of its signature green 787-10 using a fuel mix comprising 30% SAF produced by World Energy.

Boeing has been a leader in industry efforts to develop sustainable aviation fuel since before the first test flight on a commercial airliner in 2008. Along with others in the industry, the company worked to gain certification of sustainable fuel for commercial use in 2011 and collaborates around the world to create regional production roadmaps.

For more than a decade, World Energy and EPIC Fuels have produced and supplied SAF to Boeing for flight testing. Boeing offers airlines the option of using sustainable fuel for their airplane delivery flights. The first of these occurred in 2012 with an Etihad 777-300ER delivery flight from Everett, Washington, to Abu Dhabi.

Photo: Boeing.