UAE national carrier Etihad Airways has become the first airline to join the University of Cambridge’s Aviation Impact Accelerator (AIA).

The airline joins Boeing and Rolls-Royce which have partnered with AIA to accelerate their work towards net zero aviation.

The announcement took place at the Aerospace Global Forum (AGF) at the Farnborough Airshow earlier this week. The AGF is a new platform at the airshow aimed at driving immediate action towards net zero aviation.

The AIA launched a new interactive tool aimed at accelerating the transition to net zero aviation, and hosted a number of panels besides publishing a new report in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Etihad has already announced its own Etihad Sustainability programme. The airline’s flagship Greenliner programme, in partnership with Boeing and GE, and its newly launched Sustainable50 programme in partnership with Airbus and Rolls Royce, serves as a testing ground for the airline’s advancements in the area of sustainability.

Etihad has previously committed to a minimum target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050 and halving of its 2019 net emission levels by 2035.

Rob Miller, director Whittle Lab, University of Cambridge, said, “Achieving an aviation sector with no climate impact is one of society’s greatest challenges and it is only through a true partnership between industry, academia, and government that we will be able to understand the whole system and accelerate change. I am delighted that Etihad will be joining stage two of the Aviation Impact Accelerator, as the first air carrier partner.”

Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer, Etihad Aviation Group, added: “We are proud to be partnering with one of the world’s leading jet engine research labs to further support the decarbonisation of our industry. Etihad is committed to sustainability and the dedication of its fleet as flying test-beds for research and innovation through the Greenliner and Sustainable50 programmes, and this new collaboration with the University of Cambridge, through the Aviation Impact Accelerator, will allow for more industrial and academic synergy.”