Emirates has committed US$200 million towards research and development (R&D) projects focused on reducing the impact of fossil fuels in commercial aviation, with funds to be disbursed over three years.
The airline will also identify partnerships with leading organisations working on solutions in advanced fuel and energy technologies, with the Emirates’ Environmental Sustainability Executive Steering Group overseeing disbursements.
“We are ring-fencing US$200 million to invest in advanced fuel and energy solutions for aviation, which is where airlines currently face the biggest impediment in reducing our environmental impact,” said Emirates Airline’s president, Tim Clark.
“We looked long and hard at the reality we face in commercial aircraft and engine technology, fuel supply chain, and our industry’s regulatory and eco-system requirements. It’s clear that with the current pathways available to airlines in terms of emissions reduction, our industry won’t be able to hit net zero targets in the prescribed timeline.
“We believe our industry needs better solutions, and that’s why we’re looking to partner with leading organisations on R&D. Our aim is to contribute meaningfully to practical solutions for the long-term sustainability of commercial aviation.”
He added that Emirates will continue to implement environmentally responsible practices throughout our business until viable solutions can be found – these include uplifting SAF, ensuring fleet operations are efficient, and inducting modern aircraft into the fleet.
Clark emphasised that the fund does not apply to “activities we consider business-as-usual”.
Emirates’ environmental policy and strategy focuses its activities on three areas: emissions reduction, responsible consumption, and the conservation of wildlife and habitats.
The airline successfully completed the first 100 per cent SAF-powered demonstration flight in January, which was in partnership with Boeing and GE.
It also participates in a range of industry working groups and stakeholder engagements on sustainable aviation fuel, and has contributed to the development of the UAE’s power-to-liquid fuels roadmap, launched in July 2022, as well as the UAE’s National Sustainable Aviation Fuel Roadmap launched in January 2023.
The airline’s comprehensive fuel efficiency programme comprises initiatives like flexible routings – partnering with air navigation service providers to create the most efficient flight plan; and fuel efficient practices when on the ground by using ground power units instead of the aircraft Auxiliary Power Unit and switching one or two engines off while taxiing in after landing.