Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer James Hogan today called for greater industry-wide focus and collaboration on environmental practices for airlines around the world.
In a speech to the Wings Club in New York City, Mr Hogan identified a range of critical issues confronting the industry.
He also detailed how the United Arab Emirates was at the forefront of research and development for alternative and carbon-neutral energy sources, and how Etihad, as the national airline, is working in synch with this vision.
He said that as a young nation, approaching its 40th anniversary, the UAE was fortunate to be able to embed green best practice as the nation grew, rather than retroactively.
Mr Hogan said that, as a young airline not yet eight years old, Etihad shared this advantage with its home country, building environmentally responsible practices into its infrastructure.
“The advantage we have over legacy airlines is that thanks to an average aircraft age of less than four years, we can already claim industry-leading environmental performance.
“But with more aircraft will come more emissions. That is the challenge we face. We constantly look for ways to improve efficiencies.”
Etihad has seen a 19 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger kilometre in the last five years, implemented improved flight management systems that are saving 18,000 tonnes of fuel annually and used the most technologically advanced coating on its aircraft, reducing drag and fuel consumption and conserving 10 million litres of water per year for cleaning.
Mr Hogan said that cross-industry collaboration was a key strength of the airline industry’s approach to environmental performance.
“Partnerships, across industries and geographies, are vital to raising the bar on what is achievable in terms of environmentally sustainable flying.
“We work tirelessly with industry groups, including IATA, the regional Arab Air Carrier organisation, and local UAE stakeholder groups.
“[Etihad] also founded the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium, alongside Boeing and Honeywell’s UOP. The Consortium is hosted by the Masdar Institute, which is itself supported by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mainly, this consortium is engaged in evaluating the viability of biofuels - specifically, a venture looking at saltwater tolerant, high oil-yielding plants on parts of our coastline.”
Mr Hogan concluded by stating, “With a common sense of purpose – and a purpose defined by common sense – we will continue to deliver success in the future.”