Etihad Airrways Perfect Flight Takes Off

As part of its ongoing commitment to minimise the environmental impact of its operations, Etihad Airways recently launched an Abu Dhabi Perfect Flight Program by conducting a fuel-optimised ‘Perfect Flight’ between Abu Dhabi and Washington, DC.

The airline worked closely with more than 30 stakeholders including civil aviation authorities, airports, ground service providers and air navigation providers, along the entire flight of over 11,000 kilometres, which took 13 hours and 32 minutes – one of Etihad Airways’ longest routes.

The UAE-based partners include Abu Dhabi Airport, Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT), General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Global Aerospace Logistics – ANS. International partners were Boeing, Eurocontrol, the US Federation Aviation Authority (FAA), Finavia, Irish Aviation Authority, Isavia, Jeppesen, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, NATS and NAV CANADA.

This flight, the first of a series of perfect flights, was operated by Etihad Airways’ eco-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner and used a host of fuel and emission-saving measures in the air and on the ground. These include optimised ground handling at both ends of the journey and maximising efficiency opportunities in route and altitude selection.

As a result, the airline saved an estimated eight minutes on the route, 4,100 litres of fuel and 10,700 kilograms of carbon emissions, compared to the same aircraft flying a normal flight plan.

Other environmental best practices include reducing the use of the onboard auxiliary power unit (APU), minimising on-ground delays, utilising expedient taxi and preferential runways and conducting unimpeded climb and descent paths. Real-time updates of current weather and wind conditions also allowed the flight crew to optimise their flight path.

HE Mohamed Hareb Al Yousef, DoT’s Executive Director – Aviation, said: “Reducing aviation emissions is a win-win for everyone. Etihad Airways’ Perfect Flight program is a prime example of how airlines, governments, manufacturers, technology providers and airports can work together to achieve that common goal.

“Such initiatives are in line with UAE’s vision for sustainable aviation of reducing the industry’s carbon footprint, capitalising on existing technologies and developing shared performance metrics.”  

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are always seeking opportunities to optimise our flights wherever we can, and working in collaboration is the only means to ensure effective, meaningful improvements.

“We are very pleased to combine our efforts with several industry partners, to improve the efficiency and sustainability of aviation through the implementation of modern aircraft technology and smarter flight procedures, intended to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.”

HE Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of the GCAA, said: “The General Civil Aviation Authority is proud to support the Abu Dhabi Perfect Flight program. The Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre provided necessary technical assistance to ensure the success of last week’s perfect flight. The significance of the environment to the aviation sector continues to grow, and there is every indication that this will continue. The Abu Dhabi Perfect Flight program offers a tremendous opportunity for more environmentally-friendly flights in the UAE aviation sector.”

Eng. Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “We are delighted to be a part of this great initiative that plays an important role in reducing the aviation industry’s carbon footprint through the development of new operational procedures benefiting from the technologically competitive services and facilities we own. We believe it is very important to collaborate and align interests to achieve the goals of UAE’s green economy ambition.”