Monday, December 5, 2011

Emirates 'inspires' with green flight to South Africa

As part of its ongoing commitment towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Emirates has flown a demonstration flight carrying the UAE Delegation to the 2011 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) in South Africa, taking place from 28 November – 9 December 2011.

Through close coordination with air navigation providers in seven countries between the UAE and South Africa, Emirates was able to use techniques in-air and on the ground to reduce flight emissions and save over 5 tonnes of CO2 compared to the same aircraft flying a normal flight plan.

This was the first flight over the African continent for the Indian Ocean Strategic Partnership to Reduce Emissions (INSPIRE) programme, which brings airlines, airports and air navigation service providers together to implement a range of best practice operational procedures to allow a ‘perfect flight.’

These flights incorporate techniques to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, such as flying the most direct and optimum route between departure and destination. It also includes using ground power (instead of the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit, which burns jet fuel), minimising on-ground delays, utilising expedient taxi and preferential runways, conducting uninterrupted climb and descent paths.

"It was a privilege to have arrived in Durban for COP 17 on the Emirates airline test flight which emitted less greenhouse gases by using efficient flight paths and other techniques. UAE carriers and aerospace entities have taken the lead in the industry by conducting such test flights under the INSPIRE programme,” said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change and Chief Executive Officer of Masdar.
“Although the aviation industry is only responsible for approximately 2% of global GHG emissions, these types of initiatives remain important to curbing climate change. UAE airlines are undertaking various programmes in this effort, in addition to Emirates, Etihad Airways chairs the IATA Environment Committee and is supporting R&D with the Masdar Institute in developing aerospace biofuels using feed stock harvested in Abu Dhabi. It is the efforts of carriers such as Emirates and Etihad, along with organizations across the UAE, that will make a long-term positive change in international aviation’s environmental record,” he added.

The aircraft used for the INSPIRE flight from Dubai to Durban was a Boeing 777-300ER, one of the most fuel efficient aircraft types in Emirates’ fleet. An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER has a fuel efficiency rate of 3.67 litres per one hundred passenger kilometres, some 32% better than the global fleet average, as measured by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It is comparable to the fuel efficiency rates of modern compact cars.