Aviation

Etihad to operate entirely plastic-free flight for Earth Day

Etihad is set to be the first airline in the UAE to operate a single-use, plastic-free flight.

Flight EY484 will depart Abu Dhabi on 21 April, landing in Brisbane on 22 April to coincide with Earth Day and raise awareness of the effects of plastic pollution.

“Sustainable and efficient transport is core to the government’s vision, and we commend Etihad’s proactivity in paving the way for sustainability and efficiency in air transportation,” said H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport.

“The investment in sustainable alternative fuels and the focus on emerging environmental concerns such as plastic pollution reaffirms Etihad’s commitment to the Abu Dhabi transport vision.”

The flight is part of Etihad’s commitment to reducing single-use plastic usage by 80 per cent not just in-flight, but across the entire organisation by the end of 2022.

Last year, the United Nations called for global action to beat plastic pollution, stating that 400 million tonnes of plastics are produced every year, 63 per cent of which are intended for single-use.

“There is a growing concern globally about the overuse of plastics which can take thousands of years to decompose,” Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group said.

“We discovered we could remove 27 million single-use plastic lids from our inflight service a year and, as a leading airline, it’s our responsibility to act on this, to challenge industry standards and work with suppliers who provide lower-impact alternatives.”

Etihad identified over 95 single-use plastic products used across aircraft cabins, most of which were replaced with eco-friendly alternatives including cups, cutlery, dishes, headset bags, cart seals and toothbrushes. Once removed from this flight, Etihad prevented over 50 kilograms of plastics from being landfilled. Where suitable replacements could not be sourced, these items were not loaded.

As a result of planning the Earth Day flight, Etihad additionally committed to remove up to 20 per cent of the single-use plastic items on board by 1 June 2019. By the end of this year, Etihad will have removed 100 tonnes of single-use plastics from its inflight service.

Buzz, Etihad’s current supplier of amenity products, are supporters of the project and have collaborated with the airline to provide sustainable amenity kits, eco-plush toys and award-winning eco-thread blankets. Buzz pioneered and produced the blankets out of recycled plastic bottles.

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