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Etihad kicks off Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week with a special eco-flight


Picture not describedPassengers on a Brussels flight were treated to brand new sustainable features.

Tree huggers, rejoice! Etihad Airways has given us a glimpse into what the future of sustainable travel can look like.

On 14 January, the UAE airline operated a special flight to illustrate its commitment to sustainable practices both on the ground and in the air.

To celebrate the start of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2020, flight EY 57 from Abu Dhabi to Brussels using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner undertook a range of eco-driven initiatives before, during and after the flight.

One big change was the reduction of single-use plastics. Plastic and paper wrapping from blankets, headsets and amenity kits were removed and meals were served in aluminium dishes with lightweight metal cutlery. Water and hot beverages were also served in recyclable boxes and cups.

Business-class passengers got to test out wheat-based plates for on-demand meals.

Other initiatives used to support Etihad's "eco-flight" included the following:

  • Following an optimised flight route to help reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption
  • Electric tractors to ferry luggage and freight between the terminal in Abu Dhabi and the aircraft
  • Expedited taxi time from the Abu Dhabi terminal to the runway to reduce holding time with engines running
  • Use of ground power at both terminals instead of the aircraft's fuel-powered auxiliary power unit

Of the flight, group chief executive officer of Etihad Aviation Group, Tony Douglas, 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 of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in which Etihad is a critical driver of both social and economic development".

This isn't the end either. This eco-flight is just part of a bigger sustainability commitment by Etihad. Called the Etihad Greenliner Programme, it will see the airline's entire fleet of Boeing 787s used as flying tests.

Etihad is considering or in the process of implementing the following sustainability initiatives:

  • The reduction of single-use plastics by 80% by 2022
  • Waterless cleaning of aircraft exteriors to remove grease and dirt. This will minimise aerodynamic "drag" and "smooth" the fuselage
  • "Eco-wash" cleaning of aircraft engines to minimise emissions and improve fuel efficiency

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