Aircraft manufacturer Boeing and UAE flag carrier Etihad Airways have launched the pioneering ecoDemonstrator programme, using a 787-10 Dreamliner to test ways to reduce aircraft emissions and noise.

The collaboration, which includes extensive sound measurement testing with industry partners, builds on the strategic sustainability alliance Boeing and Etihad formed in November 2019 at the Dubai Airshow, with a special ‘Greenliner’ flight already operated as a “flying laboratory” to test methods to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Launching in August, the ecoDemonstrator programme utilises commercial aircraft to test technologies that can make the aviation industry safer and more sustainable and is the first initiative of its kind to use a B787-10.

The testing programme is expected to last around four weeks before Etihad enters its first Boeing 787-10 into service.

“This is the latest programme under Etihad’s industry-leading strategic partnership with Boeing, focusing on innovating real-world solutions to the key sustainability challenges facing the aviation industry,” said Etihad Aviation Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Douglas.

“The ecoDemonstrator programme is founded on innovation and sustainability — and these are core values for Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. Etihad and Boeing see a great opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge to minimise the impact of aviation on the environment.”

Boeing and Etihad will work with industry-leading partners including NASA and Safran Landing Systems to conduct aircraft noise measurements from sensors on the aircraft and the ground. The data will be used to validate aircraft noise prediction processes and the sound reduction potential of aircraft designs, including landing gear, that are modified for quieter operations.

In addition, a flight will be conducted during which pilots, air traffic controllers and the airline’s operations centre will simultaneously share digital information to optimise routing efficiency and enhance safety by reducing workload and radio frequency congestion.

Test flights will be flown on a blend of sustainable fuel, which significantly lowers aviation’s environmental footprint.