#EcoTravels: Emirates flies the eco-friendly route

2017-11-24 14:30 - Kavitha Pillay
Post a comment 0

Cape Town – When it comes to providing comfortable and pleasant long-haul travel, Emirates is one of the leading airlines that ensures customer satisfaction.

This is to the point where the airline has collaborated with NASA and Mercedes Benz to provide a new interior design incorporating state-of-the-art functionalities such as ‘zero gravity’ leather seats and flat screen TV’s, affording passengers a luxurious in-flight experience.

SEE: WATCH: Emirates testing zero gravity seats in its new Boeing 777 cabins

However, the airline goes beyond its duty to provide optimal customer satisfaction and also fulfills its responsibility to be environmentally-conscious.

With 2017 being the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the Emirates Group says it has “linked its environmental priorities to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to help it focus better on where it can have the greatest impact”.

The Group, comprising Emirates airline and dnata, published its seventh annual Environmental Report which outlines its environmental performance and sustainability initiatives between 2016 and 2017.

ALSO SEE: #EcoTravels: SA's 4 main international airports mapped for carbon neutrality plan

“The report presents environmental and performance data from a range of Group activities covering airline operations, dnata’s cargo and ground handling businesses, and other commercial activities such as engineering and catering,” says the airline.

Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum says that 2016 to 2017 was “testing” as the airline faced “social, economic and political events that erupted across our markets around the world”.

“Consumer confidence and travel demand were hit by a series of shocks. Yet our strong track record, business foundation, and brand reputation have stood us in good stead, enabling us to weather these turbulent times,” he says.

“We are investing in our people, new systems, technologies, and infrastructure that will enable us to continue developing our business profitably and sustainably. Our journey to transform our business will open new opportunities to improve levels of resource efficiency, building up our business resilience to chart a path not just through the year ahead, but for the long-haul,” he adds.

Emirates’ environmental strategy

One of the key parts of Emirates’ environmental strategy is operating an eco-efficient fleet.

“During the year Emirates airline retired the last remaining Airbus A340s and A330s,” says the airline, adding that it now only operates a passenger fleet of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s.

“Together with its Boeing 777 freighters, the average fleet age stands at 5.3 years, well below the industry average,” says the airline. The benefit of this, the airline says, is that a “modern wide body fleet delivers lower engine and noise emissions, and offers customers a higher level of comfort”.

Emirate’s efforts to enhance operational efficiency also helped to reduce costs and its environmental impact. “For example, a water-saving aircraft washing procedure introduced by Emirates Engineering will help save 11 million litres of water a year, while their energy efficiency projects, such as installing light emitting diode lighting in the hangars, are saving a substantial 237 megawatt-hours of electricity a month,” says the airline.

“On board, the airline is now providing sustainably-made blankets in Economy Class on long-haul flights. Each warm fleece blanket is made from 28 recycled plastic bottles, which could otherwise have ended up in landfill,” it adds.

SEE: #EcoTravels: 5 Green airports around the world

Its ground handling operations in Dubai and around the world, dnata says it has been gradually replacing vehicles and ground service equipment with electric and hybrid equipment, thereby reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

“Electric ground equipment are also being used at several airport operations internationally, including in the UK, the US, Netherlands, Switzerland and Singapore, with plans to extend the fleet of vehicles and the locations where they are deployed,” says Emirates.

dnata also implemented an Integrated Management System (IMS) for long-term excellence in Health, Safety and Environment.

Emirates also continued its support for action against the illegal trade in wildlife and through its “A Greener Tomorrow” initiative contributed to three organisations in Africa for wildlife protection, while dnata’s philanthropy programme dnata4good continued support for wildlife conservation in South Africa and completed a school-building project in Nepal.

What to read next on Traveller24:

WATCH: Emirates testing zero gravity seats in its new Boeing 777 cabins

#EcoTravels: 5 Green airports around the world

#EcoTravels: SA's 4 main international airports mapped for carbon neutrality plan