- The UAE’s national airline leading the world in sustainable aviation, ahead of COP 28 next year
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has been named ‘Environmental Airline of the Year 2022’ in the annual Airline Ratings awards. The ranking recognises Etihad’s industry-leading strategy to improve aviation sustainability for both the airline itself and the entire industry.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change chose the UAE as host for COP 28 which will take place in 2023. Etihad’s achievement is fully aligned with Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s own commitment to work with the international community to accelerate global efforts to address climate change and environmental protection and create a more sustainable economic future.
The airline recently published the Etihad Airways Sustainability Report which Airline Ratings deemed as a benchmark for the industry, demonstrating the potential advancements to be made in sustainable aviation by a wide range of initiatives.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Our ambition to become a leader in aviation sustainability has taken us on a journey to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment, not just for Etihad, but for the entire industry.
“We continue to explore and test all possible ways to decarbonise – from research into sustainable aviation fuels and contrail avoidance to offsets and reforestation through the Etihad Mangroves. The Sustainability Report we published earlier this year is a culmination of our efforts demonstrating the work we have done and what we have learned so far and I would encourage everyone to read it.”
Etihad’s sustainability initiatives began with a focus on creating operational efficiencies. The airline quickly went on to unite industry leaders and build the most comprehensive, cross organisational aviation sustainability initiative ever undertaken. This umbrella programme, now in its third year, includes partnerships with Boeing, GE, Airbus and Rolls Royce, as well as a wide range of collaborations with pioneering new-technology organisations, academic researchers, smaller businesses and start-ups.
Etihad’s flagship sustainability programmes include the Greenliner programme using the airline’s fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners as flying test-beds, as well as the Sustainable50 A350-1000 launched earlier this year.
Mr Douglas continues: “We are grateful to our partners from the major manufacturers to academics and small start-ups who have partnered with us on this mission, in particular through the Greenliner and Sustainable50 programmes. And we’re appreciative of our guests and corporate clients who have signed up to our green loyalty programme Conscious Choices or played their part by bringing a little less luggage or choosing to offset their flights.
“This accolade is testament to our efforts over the past few years to be the greenest airline in the sky and we’re proud to be awarded the Environmental Airline of the Year 2022. We are tremendously proud of this achievement but will not rest on our laurels as we have ambitious, industry-changing and climate critical action to continue to build on.”
Airlineratings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas said “Etihad Airways has shown its clear leadership in the push for sustainable flight with its Greenliner Boeing 787 programme and this year with its Sustainability50, A350 aircraft.
“At every touchpoint, Etihad Airways staff and management are committed to reducing the airline’s CO2 footprint and it shows. The mantra at Etihad Airways is a million things count in reducing emissions and thus the focus is all-consuming.”
Mr Thomas added that “the airline’s Sustainability Report 2020-2021 demonstrates the potential advancements to be made in sustainable aviation by a wide range of initiatives, coordinated to achieve a 20% reduction in emissions intensity in its passenger fleet by 2025, cut 2019 net emissions by 50% by 2035, and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.”
Over the past three years, the airline has conducted a vast number of research eco-flights demonstrating potential carbon emission savings of up to 72% on a single flight. Etihad has also tested and implemented world-first operational efficiencies and technology solutions including Jeppesen Flite Deck Advisor, SATAVIA contrail avoidance, GE Engine Foam Wash, eTech logs and lightweight Unit Load Devices
In addition to the airline’s comprehensive testing and innovation programme, Etihad became the first airline to secure commercial finance based on verified compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (UN SDGs).
The Etihad Mangroves Forest project was launched with plans to establish carbon-absorbing forests in countries where the airline operates.
In an initiative to involve its guests and corporate clients, Etihad offers the Conscious Choices programme with rewards for customers who take environmentally positive action such as offsetting their flights. Corporate clients can benefit from accredited solutions to reduce their Scope 3 emissions.