July 4, 2022
Etihad Airways’s CEO on Net-zero by 2050 – Doable?
Industry Op-Ed

Etihad Airways’s CEO on Net-zero by 2050 – Doable?

DALLAS – It’s often every day you hear about going green, SAF, net-zero, and other environmentally friendly buzzwords within the aviation industry; it’s simply become normal, be it for the genuine reason of moving towards a sustainable aviation future, a marketing pick, or just pressure.

Are bold advertisements and bright prints at airlines and airports becoming sustainable, making a promise too large to honor? If so, it’s the “biggest challenge” for commercial aviation to date.

Last year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) pledged carbon neutrality by 2050, which is also a target of the United Arab Emirates and several other countries. IATA, which represents 290 airlines and accounts for 83% of global air traffic, made its net-zero pledge in October.

Image Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways and the Biggest Challenge

Etihad has been quite proactive in their sustainability campaign, be it their 787 ‘greenliner’, efficient decent management programs, or their eco-friendly cutlery onboard. Here’s what EY’s chief Tony Douglas comments on achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“The biggest challenge to commercial aviation is the commitment that’s been made to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As a gentleman of more mature years, it’s very easy for me and others to sign up to something like that, almost with the anticipation that it will be the next generation who has the responsibility to deliver upon that commitment.”

“I imagine everybody in this room understands that the physics of powered flight render the achievement of that objective (net zero) extremely difficult anytime soon,” Douglas said at the three-day conference.

“Our responsibility as leaders within the aerospace sector is to enable the foundations for the next generation to deliver upon what will ultimately determine who are the winners and who are the losers in commercial aviation.”

Undoubtedly, the aviation industry has steadily improved its fuel efficiency over time with better aircraft, but moving forward, the climb only gets steeper with limited options.

The probability of achieving the desired results is slimmer. It’s one thing to get more efficient and another to completely decarbonize the use of fuel. A large ecosystem with linked parties’ cooperation to the utmost is the only way forward – airlines, airports, aviation authorities, national governments, and investors.

Featured image: Etihad Airways Greenliner. Photo: EY

EASA commercial pilot | Flight Instructor | Aviation Journalist & writer based in Germany.

You cannot copy content of this page



  • Get a discount coupon valid for our magazine subscription plans!
  • One (1) spin per email.
Try Your Luck!
Remind later
No thanks