Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates has announced that the airline is committed to a minimum target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050 and halving its 2019 net emission levels by 2035.
The company’s ambitious environmental targets will be achieved through a mix of internal initiatives, collaboration with industry partners and adoption of a comprehensive program of relevant carbon offsets, to be developed with a specific focus on the requirements of the UAE and markets served by the airline.
Mr. Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group said: “The global focus on the environment and the urgency of reducing carbon emissions have never been greater. Etihad Aviation Group, together with its partners, is taking an active role in reducing the impact of aviation on the environment through initiatives ranging from optimised fuel management on sustainable financing practices.”
This announcement came as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week during the middle of January every year, an annual event in the capital of the UAE, where Etihad is headquartered.
Mr Douglas said the entire air transport industry, from airlines and suppliers to airspace providers, was responsible for helping to reduce aviation’s emissions, and solutions needed to be holistic and coordinated, not isolated and sporadic.
“Airlines have attracted significant scrutiny in the global discussion of the environment, and our collective challenge as a fast-growing industry is to deliver meaningful initiatives which can quickly help to contain and reduce carbon emissions,” he said.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that the number of passenger journeys will more than double within 20 years, from 4.5 billion in 2019 to an estimated 9 billion by the late 2030s.
The International Transport Forum (ITF) at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) adds that international aviation will experience compound annual growth of 3.8 per cent to 2050, forecasting that traffic will reach 16.5 billion passenger-kilometres or 3.6 times 2015 volumes.
Recent sustainability initiatives taken by Etihad Aviation Group include:
Continued induction of the latest-generation, most fuel-efficient aircraft, including additional Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and plans for three new types – the wide-bodied Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 777-9, and narrow-bodied Airbus A321neo. The next Dreamliner is due to arrive next week;
Commencement of the Etihad Greenline Programme, in which the airline’s entire fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft will be used during normal scheduled flights as ‘test beds’ for sustainable products and practices;
Becoming the first airline to secure commercial funding conditional upon compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. In partnership with First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Global Markets, Etihad recently secured 150 million Euros to help finance the development of a multi-storey ‘eco residence’ for cabin crew living in Abu Dhabi.
The airline is now exploring more opportunities for this style of funding; Commitment to reduce single-use plastics by 80 per cent by 2022, and; Partnering in the development of sustainable aviation fuels including biofuel developed and refined in Abu Dhabi from saltwater-tolerant plants, and commitment to supporting the development of another sustainable jet fuel from municipal waste in Abu Dhabi.