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Etihad Airways teams up with Cepsa to speed up decarbonization of air travel

Apart from developing new energy sources, the alliance will also electrify Etihad's ground fleets

Etihad Airways teams up with Cepsa to speed up decarbonization of air travel
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

To cut aircraft emissions by up to 80% compared to standard kerosene, a preliminary agreement was reached by Cepsa, a Mubadala group company, and Etihad Airways to speed up the decarbonization of air travel by investigating and developing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

These fuels will be made from circular raw materials such as leftover cooking oils, non-food animal waste, or biodegradable waste from diverse businesses that do not compete with food supplies.

Aside from developing new energy sources like renewable hydrogen, the alliance will also aim to electrify Etihad’s ground fleets, which include vehicles for supplies, operations for loading and unloading baggage, and assistance for planes, Etihad said in a statement.

“Aviation decarbonization is the biggest challenge facing our industry, and the development of commercially viable sustainable aviation fuel is a key requirement to meet the industry sustainability target. Our MoU with Cepsa allows us to tackle the first challenge, building demand for SAF, which in turn, encourages further production and increases availability to eventually lower costs and enable further SAF uptake from the wider industry,” said Adam Boukadida, chief financial officer at Etihad Aviation Group. 

“It’s a snowball effect, which is essential if we’re to overcome the main challenges standing in the way of a commercially viable solution,” Boukadida added.

Meanwhile, in collaboration with Etihad Airport Services and Abu Dhabi Airports, Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics division of Etihad Aviation Group, is getting ready to open a new pharmaceutical cold chain facility.

The capacity for cold chain storage at Abu Dhabi Airport will increase with the opening of the extended, special pharmaceutical hub, which will also improve the airport’s capabilities for handling, storing, and transporting cool chain items.

Further, among Etihad’s sustainability initiatives are the Greenliner program, which uses Boeing 787 Dreamliners as flying test beds, and the Sustainable50 A350-1000 introduced earlier this year, which utilizes Etihad’s A350 aircraft as flying testbeds to reduce carbon emissions. 

Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas comes to the Middle East on 23 November 2022. Click here to know more.

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