How Etihad boosted eco-friendliness on a Brussels flight this week

The Dreamliner flight is part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2020

The foreign citizens were brought to Abu Dhabi from China on an Etihad plane. Courtesy Etihad
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Etihad flight EY57 arrived in Brussels this morning, having flown a seven and-a-half hour eco-flight to celebrate Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Etihad's Boeing 787 Dreamliner departed Abu Dhabi airport at 2.20am this morning (Monday, January 13) and incorporated a range of eco-initiatives.

The Dreamliner landed in Brussels at 6.47am, (9.47am, UAE time). The aircraft is already Etihad’s most efficient airplane, consuming at least 15 per cent less fuel than any other in the UAE carrier's fleet.

Flight EY57 had pilots flying a route that was specially designed to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, and also used a range of fuel optimisation techniques before departure and in-air.

Headphones in velvet bags and lightweight cutlery 

Passengers on board the Brussels-bound flight were given headsets wrapped in paper instead of plastic, and meals were served in aluminium dishes. Instead of single-use plastic, water was distributed in tetra-pak boxes and coffee was served to passengers in recyclable cups. Eco-friendly and lightweight cutlery was used during the meal service.

In business class, many single-use plastics were eliminated, with travellers given headphones in velvet bags and meals served on plates crafted out of edible wheat-bran.

Electric tractors

Moving freight and luggage onto the plane was also an eco-efficient activity. The airline used 10 of its new electric vehicles to ferry items between the terminal at Abu Dhabi airport and the aircraft. The airline has another 84 of these electric tractors due to be delivered in 2020.

“Sustainable practice is a critical and continuing challenge for the air transport industry, which is striving to reduce carbon emissions and waste, while meeting soaring demand for air travel,” said Tony Douglas, CEO at Etihad Aviation Group.

Selecting Brussels as the flight's destination was a savvy choice by Etihad. The European airport already has certification for its carbon neutrality programme, which uses electric buses for passenger transport and natural gas for service vehicles.

Etihad's Greenliner

This is not the first sustainably-focussed flight that Etihad has piloted. In April last year, it flew the world’s first ultra-long haul single-use plastic-free flight between Abu Dhabi and Brisbane, Australia. The airline has since pledged to reduce its single-use plastics by 80 per cent by 2022.

Other initiatives currently under review at Etihad include waterless cleaning of aircraft exteriors, eco-washing of aircraft engine and plans to reduce aircraft weight and fuel consumption.

The airline has also entered into a partnership with Boeing to test sustainability initiatives using a specially themed 787 Dreamliner dubbed the Etihad Greenliner. Research is expected to begin this year.