May 24, 2022

Our recent white paper (read and download it on our sustainability hub), talks about how sustainability is now an important part of an airline’s brand.

One example of an airline that recognises that is Etihad.

That was clear at a media event I attended last week in London hosted by Etihad and engine manufacturer Rolls Royce, followed by a tour of Etihad’s new “sustainability 50” A350-1000 at Heathrow the next day.

What stood out was that sustainability had been internalised both at the top of the organisation, as well as by front line staff.

In his speech at the event, Etihad CEO Tony Douglas was refreshingly honest about the challenges faced by the industry.

For example, an October 2021 flight featuring the 787 “Greenliner” had 38% SAF, as well as assistance from Eurocontrol to shorten the route, conditions that, Tony Douglas said, can’t realistically be repeated on a day-to-day basis.

Tony Douglas also admitted that much of the burden and the second part of the journey to reach net zero would have to be carried by the next generation.

As a CEO, his engagement with the topic is something that really came through in his interview with Shashank Nigam in the inaugural episode of the Sustainability in the Air podcast.

Meanwhile, staff on the A350-1000 at LHR were able to talk knowledgeably about sustainability issues, including the on-board features and the reduction of the use of single-use plastic.

The sustainability message has filtered down throughout the organisation, and it’s something that passengers increasingly care about.

As a result, it was good to see that staff at all levels of the airline recognise the importance of it, and this is something we expect to see from more and more airlines going forward.

Another example of an airline boss that is directly engaged with the topic of sustainability is United’s Scott Kirby.

Scott Kirby was also a guest on Shashank Nigam’s ‘Sustainability in the Air’ podcast, and we’ve put together these guidelines from his interview, on how CEOs can make those important first moves.

Listen here.

Positive story of the day

Qantas Says Synthetic Fuel Could Power Long Flights by Mid-2030s (Inside Climate News)

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