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Etihad Airways ‘perfect flight’ brings fuel saving and carbon emissions cut

The flight, the first of a series of perfect flights, was operated by Airlines’ eco-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner and used a host of fuel and emission-saving measures.

By Haseeb Haider/principal Correspondent

Published: Thu 11 Jun 2015, 11:56 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:45 PM

Abu Dhabi — Etihad Airways made substantial savings on fuel and cut carbon emissions by conducting a fuel-optimised ‘perfect flight’ between Abu Dhabi and Washington, DC.

The flight, the first of a series of perfect flights, was operated by Airlines’ eco-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner and used a host of fuel and emission-saving measures in the air and on the ground. These include optimised ground handling at both ends of the journey and maximising efficiency opportunities in route and altitude selection, the airlines said.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive officer, said: “We are always seeking opportunities to optimise our flights wherever we can, and working in collaboration is the only means to ensure effective, meaningful improvements. Such initiatives are in line with UAE’s vision for sustainable aviation of reducing the industry’s carbon footprint, capitalising on existing technologies and developing shared performance metrics.” The savings Etihad Airways made included estimated eight minutes on the route, 4,100 litres of fuel and 10,700 kilograms of carbon emissions, compared to the same aircraft flying a normal flight plan. Other environmental best practices deployed include reducing the use of the onboard auxiliary power unit (APU), minimising on-ground delays, utilising expedient taxi and preferential runways and conducting unimpeded climb and descent paths.

Real-time updates of current weather and wind conditions also allowed the flight crew to optimise their flight path, the airline said. Etihad Airways has been part of several environment related initiatives including the development of biofuel. Earlier this year at the World Future Energy Summit, Etihad Airways was joined by Masdar, Takreer, Total and Boeing in a project aimed at developing biofuel from agriculture waste, date palm leaves and other plants.

The initiative named ‘BIOjet Abu Dhabi: Flight Path to Sustainability’ will look at the possibilities to use agriculture waste, date palm leave, and plants tolerant to salt water that can be grown on coastal areas of the UAE. The project will support a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in the country.

BIOjet Abu Dhabi will engage a broad range of stakeholders to develop a comprehensive framework for a UAE biofuel supply chain, including research and development and expanded investment in feedstock production and refining capability in the UAE and globally.

This year, the Airways conducted a demonstration flight with a Boeing 777 powered in part by the first UAE-produced biokerosene from an innovative plant biomass-processing technology. Today, Etihad is to make an announcement on concluding extensive dialogue with different organisations in its endeavours to develop biofuel. On the perfect flight, the airline worked closely with more than 30 stakeholders, including civil aviation authorities, airports, ground service providers and air navigation providers, along the entire flight of over 11,000km, which took 13 hours and 32 minutes – one of Etihad Airways’ longest routes. The UAE-based partners include Abu Dhabi Airport, Abu Dhabi Department of Transport, General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Global Aerospace Logistics – ANS. International partners were Boeing, Eurocontrol, the US Federation Aviation Authority, Finavia, Irish Aviation Authority, Isavia, Jeppesen, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, NATS and NAV Canada.

Mohamed Hareb Al Yousef, executive director of aviation at the department of transport Abu Dhabi, said: “Reducing aviation emissions is a win-win for everyone.”

Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director general of the GCAA, said: “The Abu Dhabi Perfect Flight program offers a tremendous opportunity for more environmentally-friendly flights in the UAE aviation sector.”

           — haseeb@khaleejtimes.com 

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