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Aircraft-generated condensation trails, or contrails, cause surface warming responsible for up to two-thirds of aviation’s climate impact. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad has signed a ground-breaking contrail management contract with Satavia, a leading UK-based green aerospace firm. The partnership will build on a previous proof-of-concept engagement to expand the scope for contrail management within day-to-day flight operations. The partnership also incorporates an agreement to collaborate on the generation of future carbon credits from contrail management activity.

The contract was signed by Etihad’s Head of Sustainability and Excellence Mariam Al Qubaisi and Satavia CEO Dr Adam Durant at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) at ADNEC, Abu Dhabi. Once in force, the new agreement will see Etihad scaling Satavia contrail prevention across daily flight schedules, accelerating the airline’s progress towards climate neutral operations.

Aircraft-generated condensation trails, or contrails, cause surface warming responsible for up to two-thirds of aviation’s climate impact, significantly outweighing direct carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft engines. Satavia’s contrail management platform optimises commercial flight plans for greener operations, implementing small routing changes on a minority of flights to avoid the formation of persistent warming contrails.

Mariam Al Qubaisi said: “Our collaboration with Satavia illustrates the possibility of credible sustainability advances in day-to-day commercial operations.

“In 2022 alone, Satavia technology has enabled us to eliminate thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent climate impact. We are delighted to sign this pioneering contract with Satavia at WFES, signalling our intent to tackle aviation’s non-CO2 impacts with cutting-edge science and ground-breaking technical innovation.”

In addition to enabling contrail management in day-to-day flight operations, Satavia conducts climate impact analysis for conversion into future carbon credits to be shared with Etihad.

Durant said: “By implementing minimal changes to a small percentage of flights, eco-conscious operators like Etihad can eliminate most of their non-CO2 climate footprint with little to no impact on day-to-day operations and on shorter timescales than other green aviation interventions.