ABU DHABI, UAE - Etihad Airways' newest aircraft, a specially themed Boeing 787 Dreamliner, touched down in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The flight was a delivery from Boeing's assembly plant in North Charleston, South Carolina.
The aircraft, embellished with a striking faceted colour scheme, is the flagship of the Etihad Greenliner Programme, a collaboration between the UAE's national airline and Boeing, which along with other industry partners, including the engine manufacturer GE Aviation, will use Etihad's entire 787 fleet to assess measures that boost aircraft efficiency and reduce environmental impact.
Registered A6-BMH, the aircraft is the 38th Dreamliner in Etihad's next-generation, fuel-efficient fleet, and will enter commercial service next week.
The aircraft was greeted in the UASEW capital on Saturday by Sheikh Theyab Bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court and Chairman of the Aviation Sector Development Committee in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammad bin Hamad Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports Company, Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Transport, Tony Douglas, Group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO, Masdar, Dr Ahmed Al Shoaibi, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Services, Khalifa University, Ahsen Rajput, Director International Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Ram Mulik, Regional General Manager, Middle East and Africa, GE Aviation.
"Abu Dhabi is making productive efforts towards consolidating a diversified and sustainable economy by creating effective environmental solutions that enhance the sustainable growth," Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court said Saturday.
He added that the aviation sector is one of the main sectors supporting the economic diversification policies pursued by the UAE government, as described Etihad Airways as one of the most prominent national companies and is a central link between East and West. He noted that Abu Dhabi has become a global hub for innovation and sustainable environmental solutions.
Sustainable aviation fuel comprised approximately 30 per cent of the total blend on Saturday's flight, one of the largest volumes used on a Boeing 787 delivery flight. In previous tests this mix, refined from agricultural waste, has emitted approximately 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than standard jet fuel, over its total life cycle.
"We have an immense responsibility as a leader in the aviation community, to reducing carbon emissions and creating cleaner and more sustainable transportation for generations to come. Etihad has been at the forefront of research into sustainable aviation fuels and together with partners such as Boeing, and those closer to home in Abu Dhabi, we continue to work tirelessly to yield tangible and cost-effective results in this field," Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman of Etihad Aviation Group said Saturday.
"This research will be perfectly showcased by the Etihad Greenliner Programme, symbolising our group's commitment, not only as one of the world's largest operators of this fuel-efficient aircraft, but to a sustainable future for Abu Dhabi, for our industry, and for our customers. The Boeing 787 is the backbone of our airline's fleet, and this programme is a key element of the company's commitment to reduce its carbon footprint in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, and throughout our global network. We have publicly set the target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050, and a halving of our 2019 net emission levels by 2035."
Boeing engineers also used Saturday's flight to assess three efficiency initiatives, which the company says could further reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions for the 787 Dreamliner family, which is already 20 to 25 per cent more efficient than similar-sized aircraft they replace.
The first en-route research initiative, FliteDeck Advisor, is an application developed by Boeing to use data from the aircraft to determine flight efficiency at various stages of the journey. This data provides pilots with real-time information to help reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
The second initiative, Nautical Air Mileage Evaluation, assesses fuel mileage and consumption based on the aircraft's performance parameters and fuel flow at any given time. This was the first test of this initiative on a 787 using sustainable aviation fuels.
The third assessment on this flight was a continuous descent into Abu Dhabi airport, in which the aircraft followed a consistent curved path rather than a standard multi-step approach. This approach reduces fuel use, aircraft noise and CO2 emissions, and is a measure the airline is keen to introduce regularly when conditions allow.
Boeing and Etihad Airways recognise climate change is a fundamental challenge of our time, and we're united in doing our part to reduce greenhouse gases in the air and on the ground," Stanley Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes said Saturday.
"While the aviation industry has made substantial progress, we'll continue our longstanding efforts to reduce emissions in collaboration with our customers and partners across the industry."
Boeing said it demonstrated their commitment and support of the Etihad Greenliner Programme through a celebratory send-off of the aircraft from its facility in Charleston.
Saturday's delivery flight from Boeing's assembly plant in Charleston to Abu Dhabi was operated by Captain Sulaiman Yaqoobi, Vice President Flight Operations, Captain Driss Moussaoui, who piloted the very first Etihad flight when the airline was launched in 2003, along with Captain Abdullah Saleh and First Officer Mohamed Al Hosani. The aircraft delivery team comprised a number of Emirati pilots and engineers who collectively represent the airline's commitment to the development of UAE nationals and the growth of the country's aviation industry.