Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has won the Environmental Sustainability Innovation of the Year award at the CAPA Centre for Aviation’s annual Environmental Sustainability Awards for Excellence in Singapore, as well as the Best Airline for Sustainability 2022 award from Business Traveler USA.

Etihad’s sustainability initiatives began with a focus on creating operational efficiencies. The airline quickly went on to unite industry leaders and build a comprehensive, cross-organisational aviation sustainability programme that supports decarbonisation, biodiversity protection and waste management.

Etihad’s flagship sustainability initiatives include the Greenliner programme using the airline’s fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners as flying test-beds, and the Sustainable50 A350-1000 launched earlier this year focusing on Airbus and Rolls Royce. In tandem, Etihad is partnering with a range of organisations to reduce its CO2 emissions, the latest being with World Energy and SATAVIA to help make the Book and Claim system for off-sets a reality.

Mariam Al Qubaisi, Head of Sustainability and Excellence at Etihad Airways, said: “2022 has been an important year for us with many milestones and achievements we are proud of. These two awards from CAPA Aviation and Business Traveler USA cap off a year where we were also named Environmental Airline of the Year 2022 by Airline Ratings. We enter into 2023 with a continued commitment to collaborating with our partners to support the industry in its mission to achieve net zero by 2050.”

Marco Navarria, Content and Marketing Director, said: “The CAPA Aviation Sustainability Awards for Excellence uses a range of independent data and analysis to recognise those airlines and partners in the travel chain who have demonstrated clear leadership, innovation and commitment to sustainability initiatives. These winners are helping to generate the positive momentum that is needed to drive the whole industry forward towards its environmental goals.”

The CAPA/Envest Airline Sustainability Rating system rates and ranks each airline’s sustainability performance relative to other airlines.

The airline also won the Best Airline for Sustainability 2022 presented by Business Traveler USA. The prestigious publication created this new category to recognise the impressive efforts made by the airline industry to reduce emissions.

In 2021, Etihad Airways launched the first consumer-focused green loyalty and rewards programmes to incentivise more environmentally friendly choices among its passengers. 

The carrier’s Conscious Choices programme offers loyalty points for passengers opting to offset the emissions from their travel and carry less baggage onboard. A corporate-focused programme, Corporate Conscious Choices, was added to facilitate corporate partner sustainability goals, offering purchase options for SAF, carbon offsets and a green surcharge.

In the air, Etihad Airways has one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the world. With the airline having an average fleet age of just 5.8 years, nearly 60 per cent of its aircraft are represented by new-generation wide-bodied models. 

In addition to the airline’s comprehensive testing and innovation programme, Etihad became the first airline to secure commercial finance based on verified compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (UN SDGs).

Most recently, the Etihad Mangroves Forest project was launched with plans to establish carbon-absorbing forests in countries where the airline operates, beginning with a forest in the airline’s home, Abu Dhabi.