Abu Dhabi: The Department of Transport (DoT) in Abu Dhabi officially inaugurated the first "green flight" from Abu Dhabi to Sydney on Saturday, in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) and Etihad Airways.

This was the first of a series of environmentally-sustainable flights between the UAE and Australia in 2011.

Flight EY450, operated by Etihad Airways, is one of four long-haul flights from the UAE whose routes have been determined by the airlines themselves rather than by various air traffic control centres of jurisdictions on the ground. This has resulted in considerably greater fuel efficiency.

Operated under the auspices of the Indian Ocean Strategic Partnership to Reduce Emissions (INSPIRE), the flight utilises technology that could see significant reductions in fuel use and carbon emissions by all aircraft.

The DoT signed the INSPIRE partnership in April. The stated aims of INSPIRE partners include accelerating the development and implementation of operational procedures to reduce the aviation industry's carbon footprint, capitalising on existing technologies and best practices, and developing shared performance metrics.

Actively involved

Mohammad Hareb Al Yousuf, DoT's Executive Director, said: "The collaborative efforts of governments, industry and airline companies to work together through INSPIRE to reduce aviation emissions is to be applauded. The DoT is actively involved through the appointment of INSPIRE's inaugural chairman.

"The INSPIRE partnership helps airline companies in their quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, an initiative that is also in synergy with fulfilling the UAE's vision for sustainable aviation."

James Hogan, Etihad Airways CEO, said: "By allowing airlines to plan their routes based on aircraft capabilities, for example to take advantage of prevailing jetstreams, the savings in terms of emissions and fuel used would be enormous.

"In recent years the advances made in aircraft navigation technology have been impressive. Aircraft are no longer reliant on ground-based navigation systems. At Etihad, for the sake of the environment, we strongly advocate industry modernisation that will allow aircraft to fly to the capabilities they now have."

James E. Bennett, ADAC's chief executive officer, said: "We are proud to see the first ‘green flight' taking off from Abu Dhabi International Airport, as it marks ADAC's commitment towards operating in an environmentally-conscious manner to reduce the airport's ecological footprint.

We are keen on participating and supporting such initiatives that would deliver one of our key strategic objectives: honouring our corporate and social responsibilities."