On a mission to reduce its carbon emissions, Etihad Airways has implemented a number of fuel saving initiatives.
Last year, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier reduced its carbon emissions by 148,000 tonnes, which is equivalent to approximately 1,236 flights between Abu Dhabi and Barcelona or the removal of over 10,200 cars from the road.
In 2018, the airlines Boeing 777-200s were retired in favour of the most fuel-efficient commercial aircraft in operation, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, due to its lightweight composite structure.
Vice president flight operations, Etihad Airways, Captain Sulaiman Yaqoobi noted: “By increasing collaboration on a monthly basis within the airline’s Flight Operations, Network Operations, Ground Operations areas and Fleet Engineering, Etihad saw noticeable improvements to its fuel savings and emissions profile, a top agenda for a sustainable airline.”
Initiatives implemented by Etihad Airways’ pilots include using a single engine to taxi aircraft in and out on the tarmac, which reduces fuel burn, and selecting lower flap settings to reduce drag, which also conserves fuel.
These initiatives have resulted in saving fuel for approximately 1,440 hours of flying time, saving 7,900 tonnes of fuel and eliminating 24,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Pilots are now able use a new app that provides up-to-date information on fuel-saving achievements, as well as saving opportunities for every flight.
In order to manage fuel uplift, aviation regulation dictates that a contingency of three per cent should be carried. Approved by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) last year, Etihad Airways adopted a new fuel planning methodology that allows it to deviate from the three per cent by demonstrating that analysis of historical statistical data produced a more accurate calculation of actual fuel required.
Adding to this, a number of weight reduction projects have been completed, including a carpet retrofit across the airline’s fleet to a lighter option; the refining of catering loads based on the actual number of passengers on board; and controlling the amount of potable water loaded based on actual requirement.
An improved engine washing procedure performed on a regular basis to remove environmental deposits also improved efficiency by as much as 0.5 per cent.
Finally, in January 2019, Etihad Airways flew the world’s first commercial flight powered by locally produced sustainable fuel made from plants grown in saltwater.