Hands across the sea: Boeing, Etihad partner to improve sustainable flying

New 787-10 is the flagship of effort to further reduce emissions, noise

January 31, 2020 in Our Environment

Etihad Airways’ latest 787 Dreamliner is painted in a special livery to recognize its status as the flagship of a new sustainability program being conducted in partnership with Boeing.

Josh Drake photo

A new 787-10 Dreamliner that flew recently to Etihad Airways’ home base in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, symbolizes the carrier’s new sustainability collaboration with Boeing.

Painted in a special livery, the airplane is the flagship of Etihad’s Greenliner program, which will use the airline’s entire fleet of 38 787s to assess measures that improve operational efficiency and reduce environmental impacts.

“We have an immense responsibility as a leader in the aviation community to reduce carbon emissions and create cleaner and more sustainable transportation for generations to come,” said Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, chairman of Etihad Aviation Group.

The 787-10 flew from Boeing’s delivery center on a blend of sustainable aviation fuel as part of a program Boeing offers to customers. The sustainable fuel reduces carbon emissions by 50% compared to petroleum fuel.

Boeing engineers on board the flight conducted three efficiency initiatives that could further reduce fuel use and emissions for the 787 family, which is already 20-25% more efficient than similar-size airplanes they replace. FliteDeck Advisor, a Boeing application, provided the pilots with real-time information about the airplane’s performance to help reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

The engineers also performed a nautical air-mileage evaluation to assess fuel consumption. On approach into Abu Dhabi, the pilots descended continuously toward the airport rather than following a standard multistep approach to reduce fuel use, noise and emissions. Etihad plans to use the procedure regularly when conditions allow.

“Boeing and Etihad Airways recognize climate change is a fundamental challenge of our time, and we’re united in doing our part to reduce greenhouse gases — in the air and on the ground,” said Stan Deal, Commercial Airplanes president and CEO. “While the aviation industry has made substantial progress, we’ll continue our longstanding efforts to reduce emissions in collaboration with our customers and partners across the industry.”

Boeing and Etihad are also partners in the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium. The group operates a unique ecosystem near Abu Dhabi that produces sustainable fuel from salicornia plants, which grow in the desert and are fertilized by farm-raised fish. The plants contain oil that’s converted into fuel and the fish increase food security for a nation that imports nearly 85% of its needs.