Etihad Airways officially inaugurated the pioneering 2020 ecoDemonstrator aircraft into commercial service at a special ceremony at the airline’s Abu Dhabi base, following a series of industry-leading test flights across the United States.
The aircraft, a brand-new Boeing 787-10 registered A6-BMI, is the latest arrival to Etihad’s 39-strong fleet of 787 Dreamliners, making the UAE national airline one of the world’s largest operators of the technologically advanced aircraft type.
As the 2020 ecoDemonstrator, in partnership with Boeing, NASA and Safran, Etihad’s 787 Dreamliner was used as a flying testbed to accelerate technological developments with the goal of making commercial aviation safer and more sustainable. A familiar sight in the skies over the American North West in recent months, the uniquely branded Dreamliner, kitted out with complex testing equipment, conducted extensive research flying above Montana and from Washington to South Carolina.
To celebrate its launch into regular service, the special aircraft has been fitted with a commemorative plaque highlighting its contribution to sustainability, while its fuselage still retains some of the original ecoDemonstrator branding, including the ecoDemonstrator and Boeing logos, in addition to the words ‘From Abu Dhabi for the World’, a reimagined version of the airline’s famous tagline.
During the ecoDemonstrator flight testing phase A6-BMI was decked out with special equipment for eight days of specialised testing on seven initiatives to enhance safety and reduce CO2 emissions and noise. Flight testing took place in Glasgow, Montana, and during two transcontinental flights between Seattle, Washington, and Charleston, South Carolina. During testing, a series of flights gathered the most detailed NASA aircraft noise information to date from approximately 1,200 microphones attached to the outside of the 787 and also positioned on the ground.
The information will improve NASA’s aircraft noise prediction capabilities, advance ways for pilots to reduce noise and inform future quiet aircraft designs. Two cross-country flights across the United States demonstrated a new way for pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operations centres to communicate simultaneously, resulting in optimised routing, arrival times and reducing CO2 emissions.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group
As the first 787-10 to take part in the ecoDemonstrator programme, this very special aircraft stands testament to the innovation and drive for sustainable aviation that forms a core element of Etihad’s values and long-term vision. This is in line with the tremendous strides being made by Abu Dhabi, and the UAE, in the research and development of viable solutions to combat climate change.
Etihad’s partnership with Boeing, and participation in the programme with NASA and Safran, is one the UAE’s national airline is incredibly proud of. This exciting and progressive programme will have a real-world impact on our industry as part of Etihad’s Greenliner Programme and demonstrates Etihad’s ambitious sustainability strategy. As a prime example of industry collaboration, this aircraft is a unique example of how the aviation industry can come together for a more sustainable future.