Etihad's Sustainability Journey - For the World

Our Approach

Our efforts, based on our long-term experience and on-going strategy, must be commercially viable, industry backed, sustainable in delivery and provide proven data driven impact. 

Knowledge Sharing and Lessons Learned Insight and experience gathered over the years of the Etihad Greenliner Programme have offered several principles, or philosophies, which assist in how we approach different initiatives in our strategy.

Introducing new initiatives or identifying areas for improvement is often difficult due to the complex nature of aviation infrastructure. Etihad’s Sustainability Strategy is designed to combine key OEMs and encourage the collaboration between stakeholders effectively with such complexities, quantifying impacts from incremental efficiencies/improvements remains a considerable challenge. A vital area of focus is the use of technology to promote alignment and connect service providers, air traffic controllers, airlines and so on.

Initiatives which disrupt day-to-day operations, require ‘ad-hoc’ processes, incur greater cost or effort are less likely to achieve a proportionate improvement or benefit diligent assessment and working groups can maximise impact against effort. This allows prioritisation of commercial and operational implications and permits the endorsement of higher-value initiatives. Being a hard to abate sector, a challenge is balancing opportunities for reductions in such a diverse landscape; difficulty, contribution, impact, time, investment, etc.

Investment in maturity of existing technologies or processes with incremental benefits should not be forgotten in favor of long-term industry aspirations. As we look for a realistic pathway to Net Zero, we know our journey will be made up of a million little things; a combination of efforts, and not one silver bullet to make significant change... Here are a few of ours.

What we're doing

This is the foundation of the Etihad Greenliner Programme; because we know that this challenge isn’t something we can take on alone. A call sent out to the aviation world, the Etihad Greenliner programme forced the industry to think and act differently; tell us what we're doing wrong and step up to show us how to get it right. To accelerate the pace of innovation and change the course of aviation for good.

What is SAF?

“SAF is an umbrella term referring to fuels derived from non-fossil sources or ‘feedstock’, where through its process of cultivation and production, works to close the carbon cycle and… achieve a significant reduction in life-cycle emissions relative to traditional jet fuel… Whereas fossil fuels add to the overall level of CO2 by emitting carbon that had been previously locked away, SAF recycles the CO2 which has been absorbed by the biomass used in the feedstock during its life.”


In a world’s first trial on the Etihad Sustainable Flight on 23 October 2021, the SATAVIA software was deployed to better understand indirect emissions and improve the performance of the software. Throughout 2022, Etihad and SATAVIA continued to test contrail avoidance technology, most extensively seen throughout a week of trials coinciding with Earth Day. 55 flights were operated with SATAVIA software modifications between February and November 2022. The most intensive testing was conducted over a week-long period leading up to Earth Day in April 2022, where 30+ flight plans were modified for contrail avoidance. Roll out of contrail avoidance software could enable the entire industry to significantly reduce non-CO2 effects as well as direct climate impacts.

Our Business

The following initiatives and efforts of Etihad mostly fall into Scope 2 and 3 for our environmental footprint, and aim to deliver on pillars of biodiversity & wildlife, waste and resource management and overall advocacy. These initiatives take significant effort for the airline, and we are dedicated to progress in these areas, however it is important to draw attention to the average 1% and 2.5% contributions Scope 2 and 3 make respectively to our overall environmental impact.It is aspirational to achieve reductions in Scope 2 and 3 for the airline, but it is evident that this will have minimal impact on the airlines overall emissions reporting, and therefore plays into decision-making factors for best use of time, effort, or investment to output.

While the importance of initiatives which target Scope 1 reductions is clear, Etihad has deployed a number of brands which target more humanitarian and social elements of sustainability, such as a customised loyalty platform which offers environmentally-focused activities to guests when they travel, and Etihad Mangrove Forest, a tree-planting initiative based in Abu Dhabi's Jubail Island.Aviation’s unique qualities make it a challenging industry to convert to zero waste. Focusing on the on-board guest experience, there are some cases in which single use plastics are both the least environmentally harmful option and only material available to carriers. 

Frequently asked questions 


[1] As an average of 96.5% of our emissions fall under Scope 1, with the primary source being aircraft fuel burn, our fleet credentials must maximise opportunity to ensure efficient operations using the most important asset available to us. We are committed to leveraging next-generation aircraft technology to enhance fuel efficiency, reduce emissions per flight, and maintain environmental performance throughout business growth.Optimizing fleet performance and efficiency is fundamental to our sustainability strategy.

[2] When traveling with Etihad and engaging in 'environmental activities', such as supporting tree planting in the Etihad Mangrove Forest or an offset with CarbonClick will not make Etihad's operations more sustainable. Etihad provides these options to travellers who wish to customise their experience with ecologically focused ancillaries, but customers should be aware that this does not make traveling on Etihad Airways a more sustainable option over our competitors. The initiatives we undertake as an airline in our Sustainability strategy are shared mitigation options available to all airlines, and where Etihad is supporting the development of specific solutions, we are commited to making our research and findings available for the entire industry. 

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