Etihad Airways is planning a week of flight tests to find new ways to reduced carbon emissions from its services.
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier plans to use 30 commercial flights across its network for “intensive” research and testing this week to improve operational efficiencies with the aim of making its services more sustainable.
Etihad is working with UK green aerospace company SATAVIA on the initiatives, which are being held to coincide with Earth Day on Friday (22 April).
They include 20 flights which will be used to test contrail avoidance technologies. Contrails, or vapour trails, cause up to 60 per cent of aviation’s total climate impact.
The airline will also operate up to 13 “EcoFlights” which will test a range of flight and engine optimisation initiatives, with successful trials to be incorporated into Etihad’s regular scheduled operations.
These flights will be operated by Etihad’s A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft, including the ‘Etihad Greenliner’, and its newest aircraft, the ‘Sustainable 50’ A350-1000.
Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer at Etihad Aviation Group, said: “The tests we’re conducting this week are just the latest initiatives in our long-running and comprehensive sustainability programme, because for us, sustainability is a priority every day, not just once a year when it’s convenient and expected.
“The results we develop will add to the body of work and knowledge base we’ve built to support the aviation industry on its journey to decarbonisation.”
This week’s testing programme is part of a year-long partnership between Etihad and SATAVIA to enable the prevention of contrails.
Adam Durant, CEO of SATAVIA, added: “Following these tests, we will work with Etihad to quantify the climate benefit arising from contrail prevention on a flight-by-flight basis.
“This will lay the groundwork for future conversion into tradable carbon credits incentivising widespread adoption of contrail prevention across the aviation sector.”