Etihad to operate 'sustainable flight' from London to Abu Dhabi

6 Oct 2021 by Hannah Brandler
Etihad Greenliner

Etihad Airways is selling tickets for a ‘sustainable flight’ from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi on October 23.

Flight EY20 aims to celebrate the anniversary of the Etihad Greenliner Programme, a partnership founded in 2019 with Boeing which involves testing green technologies on the carrier’s B787 fleet to find sustainable aviation solutions.

Since its inception, the two companies have collaborated on inflight product, airspace management, flight deck tools, and sustainable fuel.

The sustainable flight will “bring together the best of the past two years in a single flight”. It will be operated by Etihad’s Greenliner aircraft and feature a livery designed to recognise the programme and its call to action for the aviation industry.

The flight is expected to emit 72 per cent less CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) in total, and 56 per cent less CO2e per unit of payload than the equivalent flight operated in 2019. Several measures will be carried out before, during and after the flight to ensure that it is sustainable.

Prior to the flight, effects from contrails will be considered alongside other factors that directly contribute to fuel burn such as wind speed, temperature, air pressure and cloud cover. Passengers will also receive incentives for flying without check-in bags or with lightweight luggage.

The aircraft will consume a 38 per cent blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and, when landing at Abu Dhabi International airport, will taxi to the stand using only a single engine to again reduce fuel burn. Once at the gate, the carrier’s fleet of electric vehicles will also be used for ground logistics such as baggage unloading.

On board, inflight dining will feature locally-sourced produce, including vegan options, and will not feature products such as beef and palm oil. Passengers will also receive lightweight stainless-steel cutlery from Sola Cutlery, and personal water bottles to minimise single-use paper cups and waste during the flight.

Etihad will also plant a tree in Abu Dhabi’s mangrove plantations for each guest on board to contribute to the offsetting of future flying.

The flight is on sale at and, at the time of writing, costs £741.77 for an economy ticket.

Etihad Sustainable Flight

Mohammad Al Bulooki, COO of Etihad Aviation Group, said:

“Since Etihad and Boeing signed the Greenliner agreement, the two companies have been focussed on delivering sustainability solutions for the aviation industry, despite the global pandemic. The Sustainable Flight on 23 October will be a celebration of everything that has been achieved in the past two years and a great flight for Etihad’s guests who will get to see what the future of commercial air travel looks like.

“The fact that sustainability has stayed on the agenda during the pandemic is testament to just how important the topic is to Etihad – the sustainability challenges faced globally will still be around when COVID-19 is no longer an issue.”

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer at Etihad Aviation Group, added:

“The Sustainable Flight will be our latest ecoFlight of many already completed on our 787 Dreamliner, but the ambition and intent of this flight stands it apart from anything we’ve ever done previously. It’s no understatement to say this will be our most sustainable flight to date, as well as an accurate look at what the future of flying will look like. This flight will put into practice all our learnings over the last two years through the Etihad Greenliner programme, which has allowed us to test SAF, eco-friendly products, and a range of operational efficiencies; reduce single use plastic on board and practice optimised flight route planning and continuous descent.

“We understand that current and near-future technology can only take us and the aviation industry so far. We urgently need to see fundamental advances in technology and support from governments and regulators across the world, so we can overcome the current challenges to reaching the industry target of zero emissions by 2050.”

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