Etihad gears up for 'eco-flight' to celebrate Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

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Etihad Airways will mark Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2020 by operating a special ‘eco-flight’ to Brussels.

The one-off service will feature a range of initiatives designed to illustrate the airline’s commitment to sustainable practices in the air and on the ground.

Flight EY 57, departing at 2.20am on Monday, January 13, will be operated with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the newest and most efficient type in the Etihad fleet, which consumes at least 15 per cent less fuel than any aircraft type previously flown by the airline.

The aircraft will follow an optimised flight route facilitated by the European airspace navigation service provider Eurocontrol to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Sustainable practice is a critical and continuing challenge for the air transport industry, which is striving to reduce carbon emissions and waste, while meeting soaring demand for air travel. It is also a key priority for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in which Etihad is a critical driver of both social and economic development.

“This year’s national theme of the United Arab Emirates is ‘2020: Towards the next 50’. Etihad is committed to working continuously with a range of partners as part of a broader national focus on environmental sustainability.”

In addition to the optimised flight route, initiatives to support Brussels ‘Ecoflight’ also include:

  • Minimal single-use plastics on board, including removal of plastic wrapping from blankets, headsets wrapped in paper (Economy) and velvet bags (Business), plastic-free amenity kits; lightweight metal cutlery, meals served in aluminium dishes, water served in recyclable tetra-pak boxes, and hot beverage cups to be replaced with recyclable cups
  • Innovative wheat-based plates for on-demand meals in Business
  • Electric tractors to help ferry freight and luggage between the terminal and the aircraft in Abu Dhabi. The airline has just received the first 10 of 94 such vehicles, to be introduced during 2020
  • Expedited taxi time from the Abu Dhabi terminal to the runway, to minimise or eliminate holding time with engines running
  • En-route use of a range of fuel optimisation techniques
  • The use of ground power at both Abu Dhabi and Brussels airport terminals instead of the aircraft’s own fuel-powered auxiliary power unit.

Etihad is also implementing or considering sustainability initiatives including:

  • Waterless cleaning of aircraft exteriors, improving presentation and removing grease and dirt to ‘smooth’ the fuselage and minimise aerodynamic ‘drag’
  • ‘Eco-wash’ cleaning of aircraft engines to help improve fuel efficiency and minimise emissions
  • Other on-board initiatives designed to reduce aircraft weight or optimise performance, resulting in lower fuel consumption and emissions
  • Reduction of single-use plastics by 80 per cent by 2022

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