On 23 October, Etihad Airways operated its most sustainable flight ever, leveraging the learnings developed over the last two years of its sustainability programme to reduce carbon emissions 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 Programme – a two-year partnership between Etihad and Boeing using Etihad’s Boeing 787 fleet as a test bed for sustainability improvements in partnership with organisations across the industry.
It required huge collaboration across the aviation ecosystem to deliver a sustainable in-flight product, coordination with airspace management for optimised flight routing, new technology flight deck tools, sustainable aviation fuel, 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 tonnes CO2.
Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “When Etihad committed to achieve net zero, it was acknowledged that it was only possible if the airline worked collaboratively and positively with our industry partners.
“That is exactly what Etihad has done with the Sustainable Flight. Of equal importance, Etihad, Boeing and its partners – airports, ANSP, and suppliers – used the flight to learn where further improvements could be made.”