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UAE National Carrier Etihad Airways, operates first ecoFlight for 2021 - the Etihad Greenliner

Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has operated its first ecoFlight for 2021, continuing research and testing...

Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has operated its first ecoFlight for 2021, continuing research and testing under the Etihad Greenliner program to assess environmental sustainability initiatives during scheduled services. This is Etihad’s fourth ecoFlight, operated on the airline’s signature Greenliner aircraft which is fully offset for all operations through 2021 as part of the airline’s mission toward carbon neutral flying.

UAE National Carrier Etihad Airways, operates first ecoFlight for 2021 - the Etihad Greenliner

The maiden 2021 ecoFlight, EY83, departed Abu Dhabi for Rome on April 17, testing a range of flight and engine optimization initiatives, as well as onboard product enhancements to reduce weight and single-use plastics, with successful trials to be incorporated into regular scheduled operations. On board, the trial focused on three key pillars: sustainable products, incorporating initiatives identified on past ecoFlights to reduce single-use plastics, and an overall weight reduction study.  Etihad also tested initiatives to mitigate the challenges imposed by Covid-19, driving home the Etihad Greenliner Program mission to identify challenges and call upon the industry to work together for meaningful solutions that ensure safety, environmental and fiscal inclusivity.

Feasible initiatives trialed on the latest ecoFlight will be adapted for standard operations moving forward, contributing to Etihad’s goal to remove 80 percent of single-use plastics. Based on circular theory efforts, the airline tackled international waste regulations head on with a recycling initiative to better manage cabin waste. Strict waste regulations force international airlines to incinerate all contaminated materials, and efforts were made to identify suppliers offering products that will not release harmful emissions in incineration, such as EcoWare bagasse pots, which are compostable and made from plants. The flight produced and successfully diverted 8.1kg of recyclable material from landfill.

Boasting a range of sustainable suppliers, the flight focused on avoiding single use items, finding replacements that are locally produced, UAE sourced and meet the requirement of being lightweight and non-energy intensive in the cleaning process or non-impactful in the disposal process. The ecoFlight showcased Al Ain Water’s sustainable plant-based water bottles onboard. It also featured Abu Dhabi based startup ‘The Concept’s’ sustainable inflight meal trays made from used water bottles, and BambuuBrush, for their highly sustainable up-cycled Bamboo Toothbrush.