As part of its ongoing commitment towards sustainability and in celebration of annual Earth Day, Etihad Airways is set to operate a flight without any single-use plastics on board.
The feat will be conducted on Flight EY484, which will depart Abu Dhabi on 21 April and land in Brisbane, Australia, on 22 April.
The flight is the latest step with the airline’s pledge to cut back on single-use plastics by 80% across the entirety of the organisation by the close of 2022.
H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport 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.”
In 2018, the United Nations called for global action to curb the use of plastics. Noting that over 400 million tonnes of plastics are produced annually, the UN shared that 63% of those plastics are designed for single-use. Since the call, a number of governments across the globe have moved to ban single-use plastics. In the UAE, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) has followed suit.
Tony Douglas, group CEO of Etihad Aviation Group, 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.”
Over the past year, Eithad has identified 95 single-use plastic products utilised across aircraft cabins that have subsequently been replaced with eco-friendly alternatives. The removal of the plastics from the flight has reportedly prevented over 50kg of pollutants from being landfilled.
The carrier also shared that as a result of the planning for the Earth Day flight, Etihad is committed to removing up to 20% of the single-use plastic items on board by 1 June 2019. By the close of the year, the airline expects to remove 100 tonnes of single-use plastics from its inflight service.