Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Aviation Group, has advanced its sustainability journey by becoming the first Middle Eastern carrier to participate in The International Air Cargo Association’s (TIACA) BlueSky programme.
Following the March 2022 launch announcement of the air cargo industry’s first multi-sector sustainability verification programme and successful pilot programme, Etihad Cargo is one of the first participants to join the programme’s live operations. Other participants include organisations from airline, airport, ground handler, and general sales and service agents sectors.
The first phase of the programme comprises an evidence-based desktop verification process in which participants can assess their progress against eight critical sustainability criteria, including decarbonisation, waste elimination, biodiversity protection, support for local economies and communities, impact on society improvement, efficiency and profitability, employee engagement, retention and development, and partnership building.
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Upon completion of the tailored assessment process, Etihad Cargo will receive a personalised dashboard which displays the carrier’s performance against the criteria. Later phases of the programme will include the option for a full onsite audit with an in-depth report that highlights areas for improvement.
“Sustainability remains a key pillar of Etihad Cargo’s agenda,” Martin Drew, senior vice president global sales & cargo, said. “Although the air cargo industry has historically been considered less sustainable than other methods of transportation, the sector is making great strides in developing more sustainable solutions and is investing in fleet modernisation, fuel efficiency, sustainable aviation fuel and carbon compensation initiatives.
“Participating in TIACA’s BlueSky programme is just the latest step Etihad Cargo has taken to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The assessment process will enable Etihad Cargo to more effectively measure the carrier’s performance and track its sustainability progress as it continues on its sustainability journey, which will benefit Etihad Cargo’s customers and the wider air cargo industry.”
Over the past year, Etihad Cargo has embarked on several green initiatives, which include replacing 3,000 containers from its original aluminium unit load device (ULD) fleet with environmentally friendly lightweight versions. On the average wide-bodied flight, utilisation of these lighter ULDs can provide a weight-saving of over 200 kilogrammes, which has lowered fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The carrier has also entered into a memorandum of understanding with B Medical Systems to develop and launch the world’s first airline-specific passive temperature-controlled solution for the transportation of life-saving drugs, vaccines and high-value pharmaceuticals. As these temperature-controlled container units utilise passive cooling technology, they do not require an external power source. They can retain temperatures from -80 to 25 degrees Celsius for five days while still significantly reducing carbon emissions.