Fuel-saving initiatives and fleet renewal at Etihad enable 3.3 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions last year
Wed 25 Apr 2018 – Etihad Airways reduced the fuel consumption of its fleet by over 62,000 tonnes in 2017 compared with the previous year, representing a saving of 195,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and a 3.3% improvement. It reports efficiency per passenger kilometre improved by as much as 36% on some routes. At an average age of 5.4 years, the 115-strong passenger and cargo fleet is one of the industry’s youngest and last year Etihad retired several older aircraft in favour of the fuel-efficient Boeing 787, which brings the number of Dreamliners in the fleet to 19. To further add efficiency, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier has made a number of operational improvements, including flight plan adjustments and more continuous descent approaches.
The airline group has gone through a tough financial period following unsuccessful investments in Alitalia and Air Berlin but Etihad Airways COO Richard Hill said 2017 had been a particularly good year for fuel efficiency. “The combination of retiring some of our older aircraft and increasing the proportion of Boeing 787 aircraft within our fleet, together with optimising our flight paths among a range of other initiatives, has made a noticeable improvement to our fuel consumption and emissions profile,” he explained.
Flight plan adjustments across the network reduced flying time by around 900 hours, which led to a saving of 5,400 tonnes of fuel and around 17,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Collaboration with air traffic controllers at many major airports, including Abu Dhabi, increased the number of more fuel-efficient continuous descent approach manoeuvres undertaken by Etihad pilots in 2017, leading to a further 980 tonnes of fuel that were saved.
The airline does not publish annual traffic statistics, so fuel efficiency metrics are not available for comparison although Etihad carried 18.6 million passengers in 2017, a slight increase on the 18.5 million in 2016.
“We place a high value on sustainability and are always looking for new opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint,” commented Ahmed Al Qubaisi, SVP Government and International Affairs for Etihad Aviation Group. “We’re extremely proud of our year-on-year improvement, which benefits not only Etihad in terms of fuel savings but also the environment on a wider level.”