See inside a brand-new $338.4 million Etihad Boeing 787-10 ‘Greenliner,’ that the airline says operated the world’s most sustainable flight

An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Etihad Airways is attempting to get in front of the aviation industry’s shift towards sustainability. 
CEO Tony Douglas is taking advantage of the airline’s restructuring to lean Etihad’s fleet and introduce new green technologies. 
An Etihad flight in October using a Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner was able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 72% using new products and tech. 

In a sky full of blue, some airlines are trying to make it green.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Etihad Airways is shifting its focus to sustainability as the aviation industry attempts to reduce its carbon footprint in the face of a changing climate.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

The aviation industry as a whole only contributes around 2% of the world’s emissions. But even still, the highly-visible industry has drawn the ire of environmentalists and others fighting for a more sustainable future.

Source: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

For Etihad, the fight to make the airline more sustainable is viewed as life or death. Tony Douglas, Etihad’s chief executive officer, told Insider that airlines not taking the steps towards sustainability will be driven out of the market by customers that demand greener options for travel.An Etihad Airways Airbus A350-1000 XWB nicknamed the “Sustainable Fifty” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Etihad Airways’ CEO says that airlines that fail to follow its sustainability lead may soon be ‘history’

“Increasingly, travelers will make choices that do include carbon emissions and therefore, the environmental performance [of their airline,]” Tony Douglas, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer, told Insider.An Etihad Airways Airbus A350-1000 XWB nicknamed the “Sustainable Fifty” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Source: Etihad Airways’ CEO says that airlines that fail to follow its sustainability lead may soon be ‘history’

We went inside one of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on which Etihad is relying to usher in a new era of sustainability. Here’s what it was like.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

One aspect of their carbon footprints that airlines can control is the type of aircraft that they fly. Modern airliners are being built specifically to reduce fuel consumption and have the benefit of reducing carbon dioxide emissions while also reducing fuel costs for airlines.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Etihad Airways’ CEO says its Airbus A380s and the $20,000 luxury apartments onboard might fly again — but only temporarily

Fleet renewal has been a key avenue for Etihad to become more sustainable in the short term as green technology progresses. Larger aircraft including the Boeing 777-300ER are being retired to make way for next-generation aircraft from Boeing and Airbus.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Etihad has already begun flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and will fly the Airbus A350 XWB later in 2022. Both offer double-digit percentage point reductions in fuel burn compared to previous generation aircraft thanks to new, efficient engines, the use of lightweight composite materials, and new onboard systems.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

And with the Dreamliner, or “Greenliner” in Etihad parlance, Etihad is taking efficiency one step further.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

On October 23, Etihad flew what it called its “most sustainable flight ever” from London to Abu Dhabi, UAE using the Greenliner. Conducting the flight sustainably required revamping nearly every aspect, from the fuel that was used to the water bottles stocked onboard.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

In business class, traditional amenity kits were restocked with green products with a focus on recyclables and products that can be composted or are biodegradable.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Chewable toothpaste replaced traditional brushing as it doesn’t require water and for those that do brush, a compostable bamboo toothbrush was on offer.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Traditional water bottles were also replaced with plant-based water bottles, in which the entire bottle is produced from plant-based sources and is biodegradable and compostable.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Instead of using traditional jet fuel, pricey sustainable aviation fuel was brought to London from Amsterdam.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

And to reduce fuel burn, Etihad crafted an economical flight route that avoided adverse weather and prevented the formation of harmful contrails.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Electric ground handling vehicles on the ground serviced the aircraft and bio-diesels were used on the buses that transfer passengers took from Abu Dhabi to Dubai.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

The result was a truly sustainable flight that reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 72%, Etihad said, compared to the same flight in 2019.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Etihad also managed to turn a profit on the flight by filling every seat. But repeating the same conditions for every Etihad flight would make the company “insolvent within about 20 minutes,” Douglas said.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

The flight served to be an advertising billboard to demonstrate the difficulties for an airline to go green. Purchasing sustainable fuel, for example, is around five times more expensive than traditional jet fuel and Etihad had to ship the fuel in from Amsterdam to London.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

And even then, the lack of infrastructure to handle the fuel at Heathrow Airport meant that Etihad could only achieve a 38% mixture of sustainable and traditional fuels.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

“The reason why we actually do these flights is to draw people’s attention to the much larger challenges here,” Douglas said. “Whilst I can predict an end to the pandemic … I actually don’t predict an end to the challenge of commercial aviation sustainability.”An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Some of the sustainable products onboard were also pricier and not ready for mass production in the same way that many single-use products are.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

“They may not be production-ready but they are tests to see whether we can actually [incorporate them] in a certain way, where we can, and [then] we take it forward into business as usual,” Terry Daly, Etihad’s executive director of customer experience, said.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Even a plant-based water bottle can drive costs up more than what airlines can spend while keeping flights profitable. “The price isn’t right yet but we have to start somewhere,” Daly said of the “plant bottle.”An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

And massive savings in carbon dioxide emissions, however, is only surpassed by the massive amount of planning and cooperation from third parties, including air traffic control.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Finding a more efficient routing required getting air traffic control to give Etihad’s greenest flight special clearances and priorities that not every flight can receive.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

But Etihad is calling for help across industry lines to make sustainability in aviation sustainable for a business. “It doesn’t matter where you are along the supply chain or what scale of business you are, join hands with us and help us find the solutions,” Maxine Youlten, a sustainability officer at Etihad, said.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Airlines that fail to heed the public’s calls for action on the issue, according to Douglas, might not survive to see the future of aviation.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

“I kind of feel for them because not everybody has the ability to do so,” Douglas said of competitors that aren’t taking sustainable measures. “Having said that, I think going forward it will be the principle differentiator of who succeeds and who fails.”An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Passengers also win when airlines take an interest in sustainability, especially when it results in the use of newer aircraft.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Etihad is on track to have an incredibly young wide-body fleet of aircraft as it takes more deliveries from Boeing and Airbus.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Next-generation aircraft are often ideal for long-haul journeys as they come with passenger-friendly amenities including mood lighting, lower cabin altitudes, and modern seat products.An Etihad Airways Airbus A350-1000 XWB nicknamed the “Sustainable Fifty” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

The 787-10 Dreamliner in Etihad’s configuration seats 299 passengers in a two-class configuration split between economy class and business class.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

A total of 32 seats with full lie-flat capabilities fill the business class cabin, offering 73 inches of pitch and 22 inches of width.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Source: SeatGuru

In economy class, 267 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration fill the remainder of the aircraft.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Source: SeatGuru

Each economy class seat offers between 31 and 32 inches of pitch and 17.1 inches of width.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Source: SeatGuru

Etihad also has to account for how its sustainable push will impact the glitzy experience for which the airline is known. The airline industry is so competitive that any loss of customers because of a perceived degradation in Etihad’s product could be devastating.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

“It does appear that an authentic, genuine move to sustainability is one that won’t compromise a guest’s experience,” Youlten said. “Ultimately, if we’re making a sacrifice there, that’s unsustainable from a business perspective.”An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

But Etihad also realizes that it might lose its most lucrative travelers, namely corporate travelers, if it doesn’t adopt sustainable measures, which could be a death blow to any airline.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

“The people that don’t respond in the sort of ways that we’ve been doing may well be history,” Douglas said.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the “Greenliner” at the Dubai Airshow 2021

Read the original article on Business Insider

Transportation, Travel, News, Features, Planes, Etihad Airways, BITranspo, Business Visual Features, Airlines, Aviation, Dubai Airshow 2021, Boeing, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Airbus, Sustainability, Climate Change, Carbon Emissions, Flying, air travel

All Content from Business Insider

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.