Is There A Future for Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Planes?

eco-friendly globe

It’s no secret that carbon emissions from transportation are the main culprits in harming our planet’s ecosystem. While cars and trains are advancing in green, electric power to maintain a sustainable environment, the aviation industry is still falling behind. Although air travel is responsible for over 2% of global carbon emissions[1], it’s projected aviation emissions could take up 27% of the world’s carbon budget to maintain the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.[2] Airlines like Etihad are trying to find new ways to cut down on fossil fuel that aircraft are heavily dependent on. Many wonder if there is a future for sustainable, eco-friendly planes.

Etihad-Boeing Partnership

Boeing has carried the torch in manufacturing eco-friendly planes with their 787 Dreamliner, and now Etihad Airways wants in on the fuel efficiency initiative by collaborating with Boeing to create “Etihad Greenliner,” a flying test center for smart fuel use. The Abu Dhabi-based airline already operates 37 Dreamliners, which is a third of its total fleet and hopes to renovate landing gear, improve maintenance planning, and airframe components in the $215 million partnership with Boeing.

“We feel we’ve got to be at the forefront of that [effort],” says Adrian Gane, Etihad’s director of sustainability and international affairs. “And we need to do more as the science develops.” [3]

Back in January 2019, the companies successfully performed a test flight, which used biofuel from plants growing in saltwater in Abu Dhabi. Etihad and Boeing will work in groups between the flight operations and engineering departments of the companies to find other eco-friendly options for the “Etihad Greenliner,” which will be formally unveiled this year.

Electric Planes

Even though the use of electricity for eco-friendly cars and trains have proven successful, this isn’t a feasible option for air travel. Electric planes pose many challenges, with the biggest one being that batteries would be too heavy for long-haul flights during takeoff. However, companies such as Boeing and Airbus are currently working on technology that will allow battery-powered short-haul flights. As for long-haul flights, biofuel is a potentially effective choice since air traffic is growing faster than fuel efficiency improvements.

“Aircraft like the Dreamliner are helping airlines improve their fuel efficiency, but air traffic is growing even faster,” says Dan Rutherford, aviation director at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). “Emissions will continue to grow until traffic growth and fuel efficiency gains are brought into balance.” [3]


As air travel continues to grow, it’s more important than ever for airlines to be more environmentally conscious in order to conserve the global CO2 budget. If you’d like to learn more about sustainable air travel or need help in finding the best aircraft dispatcher jobs to catapult your career, contact a member of our crew at 954-581-6022 today!




[1] Air Transport Action Group – Facts & Figures

[2] Carbon Brief – Analysis: Aviation could consume a quarter of 1.5C carbon budget by 2050

[3] TheHill – Is it possible for airplanes to go green?



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