Etihad Airways has been named winner of the ‘Sustainability & Environment Award’ at Ireland’s inaugural Aviation Industry Awards 2014.The awards, sponsored by the Irish Aviation Authority, were launched this year to celebrate excellence within the country’s aviation sector, with winners being announced during a gala ceremony in Dublin this week, attended by more than 500 senior aviation professionals.
Beatrice Cosgrove, Etihad’s Country Manager for Ireland, collected the Aviation Industry Awards 2014 trophy from Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
An expert panel of judges selected Etihad Airways as winner of the ‘Sustainability & Environment Award’ in recognition of the airline’s success in “significantly improving sustainability and environment performance in the sector” through a diverse range of CSR initiatives, run internally and in collaboration with external partners over the past 18 months.
Recent achievements have included improved fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions through optimised flight planning techniques and the use of lighter, more durable containers to reduce aircraft weight, as well as significant investments in modern, more efficient aircraft.
Partnership projects have included BIOjet Abu Dhabi, launched earlier this year in partnership with Boeing, Takreer, Total and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology to support a sustainable aviation biofuel industry. The ground-breaking initiative was unveiled one day after Etihad Airways conducted a demonstration flight with a Boeing 777 powered in part by the first UAE-produced aviation biofuel from an innovative plant biomass-processing technology.
Etihad Airways is also a founding partner of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium and has committed over US$2 million to the initiative. In January 2014, SBRC announced an important discovery that desert plants fed by seawater can produce biofuel more efficiently than other well-known feedstocks.
This is an important initiative not only for aviation but also for other research that may help in the development of additional pathways towards alternative energy for the future. The initiative is in line with the Abu Dhabi government’s intent to support renewable energy and is helping to create innovative technologies and concepts that can be replicated around the world.
Linden Coppell, Etihad Airways’ Head of Sustainability, said: “Our sustainability strategy has supported a 24% efficiency improvement across our passenger fleet since 2006, double the industry target of 1.5% efficiency improvement per year. Such results have a global impact and we are delighted to be awarded in Ireland, one of our most important markets.
“There are many exciting plans ahead to build on these achievements, especially with the ground-breaking biofuel projects we operate alongside industry and other partners. We see collaboration as essential to effecting real change in reducing our environmental impact.”
Etihad Airways’ sustainability efforts have resulted in a number of prestigious awards over the past year, including the Global CSR Leadership Award, the Aviation Business Corporate Social Responsibility Award, and TravelPlus’ Best Ethically Sustainable Amenity Bag Award.