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DUBAI — Following the launch of the Etihad Greenliner Program at the 2019 Dubai Airshow, and the arrival of the flagship Greenliner in January 2020, Etihad Airways unveiled its ecoDemonstrator a brand-new Boeing 787-10 registered A6-BMI.


The aircraft is the latest arrival to Etihad’s strong 787 Dreamliners fleet of 39 aircraft, making the UAE national airline one of the world’s largest operators of the technologically advanced aircraft type.

 

  • 2020 ecoDemonstrator enters service after a year of sustainability initiatives following launch of Etihad Greenliner Program in November 2019 at The Dubai Airshow 
  • Despite the impact of Covid19 on global aviation, Etihad implemented key sustainability initiatives in 2020, including:
    • January 2020: Flagship Greenliner aircraft enters service 
    • January 2020: Operated 787 EcoFlight from Abu Dhabi to Brussels with optimized routing; minimum single-use plastics; and other fuel efficiency initiatives 
    • January 2020: Announced minimum target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050 and halving of the airline’s 2019 net emission levels by 2035 
    • February 2020: Greenliner operated optimized roundtrip flight Abu Dhabi to Dublin, including optimized route profile for the entire roundtrip, optimized climb, and continuous descent. When compared to a standard Boeing 787 flight on that route, the ecoFlight reduced journey time by 40 minutes, cut fuel by 800kg and CO2 by 3 tonnes 
    • August 2020: ecoDemonstrator testing in the USA 
    • October 2020: Launch of world’s first Transition Sukuk and the first Sustainability-Linked financing in global aviation, raising USD 800 million to support Etihad’s drive for sustainable aviation by linking terms to Etihad’s carbon reduction targets 
    • December 2020: Commits to purchasing carbon offsets, to completely neutralize the CO2 emissions of its flagship “Greenliner” 787-10 aircraft for a full year of operations in 2021 
    • December 2020: ecoDemonstrator enters service as part of Etihad’s 39-strong fleet of 787 Dreamliners


As the 2020 ecoDemonstrator, in partnership with Boeing, NASA, and Safran Landing Systems, Etihad’s 787 Dreamliner was used as a flying testbed to accelerate technological developments with the goal of making commercial aviation safer and more sustainable. A familiar sight in the skies over the American Northwest in recent months, the uniquely branded Dreamliner, kitted out with complex testing equipment, conducted extensive research flying above Montana and between Washington state and South Carolina. 


Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “As the first 787-10 to take part in the ecoDemonstrator program, this very special aircraft stands testament to the innovation and drive for sustainable aviation that forms a core element of Etihad’s values and long-term vision. This is in line with the tremendous strides being made by Abu Dhabi, and the UAE, in the research and development of viable solutions to combat climate change. 


“Etihad’s partnership with Boeing, and participation in the program with NASA and Safran, is one the UAE’s national airline is incredibly proud of. This exciting and progressive program will have a real-world impact on our industry as part of Etihad’s Greenliner Programme and demonstrates Etihad’s ambitious sustainability strategy. As a prime example of industry collaboration, this aircraft is a unique example of how the aviation industry can come together for a more sustainable future.” 

To celebrate its launch into regular service, the special aircraft has been fitted with a commemorative plaque highlighting its contribution to sustainability, while its fuselage still retains some of the original ecoDemonstrator flight-test brandings, including the ecoDemonstrator and Boeing logos, in addition to the words ‘From Abu Dhabi for the World’, a reimagined version of the airline’s famous tagline.


During the ecoDemonstrator program, A6-BMI was decked out with special equipment for eight days of specialized testing on seven initiatives to enhance safety and reduce CO2 emissions and noise. Flights took place in Glasgow, Montana, and during two transcontinental trips between Seattle, Washington, and Charleston South Carolina. During testing, a series of flights gathered the most detailed NASA aircraft noise information to date from approximately 1,200 microphones attached to the outside of the 787 and also positioned on the ground. 


The information will improve NASA’s aircraft noise prediction capabilities, advance ways for pilots to reduce noise, and inform future quiet aircraft designs. Two cross-country flights across the United States demonstrated a new way for pilots, air traffic controllers, and airline operations centers to communicate simultaneously, resulting in optimized routing, arrival times, and reduced CO2 emissions. 


“Boeing’s partnership with Etihad Airways on this year’s ecoDemonstrator program elevated the strategic sustainability alliance we formed last year to a whole new level,” said Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president, and CEO. “Collaborations like these are invaluable to accelerate innovation that further enhances the safety and sustainability of flying. The testing we conducted, in partnership with NASA and Safran Landing Systems, will benefit aviation and the world for years to come.” 

As part of the program, Etihad and Boeing tested two innovative ‘wellness’ technologies that will help airlines combat the treatment of COVID-19, by safely and quickly cleaning high-touch surfaces. These were a handheld ultraviolet light disinfecting system and an antimicrobial coating that helps prevent the growth of bacteria on tray tables, armrests, and other surfaces.


The highest permissible blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) was used throughout the program, as well as on the delivery flight from Charleston to Abu Dhabi. As a result, over 60 tonnes of emissions were avoided on the delivery flight alone. 


The aircraft’s delivery flight to Abu Dhabi saw Etihad collaborate with multiple Airspace Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) including the FAA, UK NATS, and EUROCONTROL to optimize the flight path, cutting fuel burn by more than one tonne and CO2 emissions by approximately four tonnes. Following Etihad’s special flights to Brussels and Dublin in January and March 2020 respectively, this initiative continues to demonstrate Etihad’s strong track record in collaboration with ANSPs to optimize airspace utilization to deliver lower fuel consumption, noise, and carbon emissions. 

Etihad and Boeing also collaborated on testing new route planning technology on A6-BMI’s delivery flight. Boeing’s in-development capability forecasts a range of potential weather scenarios and suggests the best available route options. 


Etihad and Boeing’s partnership on the ecoDemonstrator program delivers on the airline’s commitment for its Boeing 787 Dreamliners to be a testbed for technology acceleration as part of the Etihad Greenliner program, and has demonstrated Etihad’s relentless commitment to sustainability in spite of the current COVID-19 crisis. Etihad continues to be committed to a minimum target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050 and halving of the airline’s 2019 net emission levels by 2035. 


In line with Abu Dhabi’s vision and commitment to the reduction of Carbon Emissions to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, sustainability, and environmental protection is in Etihad’s DNA. Playing its part as the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s flag carrier, Etihad’s focus on sustainable developments in aviation aligns with many other initiatives of both the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and the whole of the UAE. 


As an active member of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the UAE was among the first countries to voluntarily sign the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). Today, the UAE is working closely with the ICAO international fuel group on Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) as well Low Carbon Aviation Fuel (LCAF), both of which can play a critical role in enabling the safe and sustainable growth of the aviation sector while reducing its carbon intensity. 

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