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Etihad operates single-use plastic free flight on Earth Day


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Etihad Airways cabin crew prepare for Earth Day flight low res

 

Etihad Airways has become the first airline in the region to operate a flight without any single-use plastics onboard, in a bid to raise awareness of the effects of plastic pollution.

Flight EY484 departed Abu Dhabi on 21 April, landing in Brisbane on 22 April – Earth Day.   

Abu Dhabi Department of Transport Chairman Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “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. 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 milestone flight is part of Etihad’s ongoing commitment to the environment, to go beyond Earth Day celebrations, and pledge to reduce single-use plastic usage by 80% not just inflight, but across the entire organisation by the end of 2022.

Etihad Aviation Group Chairman Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei said: “This step is an extension of Etihad’s pioneering environmental efforts. Inaugurating 2019 with the locally sourced biofuel flight and the operation of the longest single-use plastic free flight are testament to our commitment to leading effective change towards sustainability.”

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

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.

In some instances, the sustainable choice was easy. Etihad worked with suppliers to ensure products were not wrapped in single-use plastics. For others, more innovative products had to be sourced including Cupffee’s, edible coffee cups, made entirely out of natural grain products.  

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 kg 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% of the single-use plastic items on board by 1 June. By the end of this year, Etihad will have removed 100 tonnes of single-use plastics from its inflight service.


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