Operating modern and fuel efficient aircraft has been central to Emirates’ business model from the airline’s inception. We fly one of the youngest wide-body aircraft fleets in the sky with an average age of 6.5 years. This ongoing, multi-billion dollar investment, is Emirates’ biggest commitment - not only to passenger comfort, but also to reducing our environmental impact.
Emirates has a comprehensive fuel efficiency programme that actively investigates and implements ways to reduce unnecessary fuel burn and emissions, wherever it is operationally feasible.
Some of the programme’s most significant initiatives include:
- The operation of “flex tracks”, or flexible routings - where we partner with air navigation service providers to create the most efficient flight plan for each flight, taking advantage of natural tailwinds, while avoiding headwinds and weather systems. These efforts have been ongoing since 2003, and we’ve also been working with IATA to extend this routing system across the world as a standard operating procedure where possible.
- Working with air traffic management providers to develop protocols that enhance operational efficiency. For instance, reducing the number of flights placed into holding patterns, increasing the availability of Free Route Airspace, and developing more efficient routings.
- Introducing a robust fuel monitoring system and advanced data analytics, which has resulted in reduction of discretionary fuel uplift from crews and dispatchers
- Introducing fuel-efficient practices while the aircraft is on the ground, such as: the use of ground power units instead of the aircraft Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), and switching one or two engines off while taxiing in after landing.
- The implementation of idle reverse thrust on landing, instead of switching the engines into reverse thrust.
- The improvement of loading efficiency to match the ideal trim line, resulting in a more aft Center of Gravity (CG) position and less fuel burn.
- Aircraft weight management – Emirates continuously reviews its inflight product and cabin environment to reduce aircraft weight (and thereby fuel burn) without compromising on customer experience. Recent initiatives include the use of data analytics and in the near future of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to better forecast potable water uplift in each flight.
- Moving our cockpit crew entirely to electronic flight bags which saves weight from the traditional flight bags, and also helps our pilots perform flight management tasks more easily and efficiently with less paper.
- Well-maintained aircraft contribute to efficient flight operations too. Emirates uses an innovative foam wash technique for cleaning aircraft engines that helps us saves about 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year across our fleet. We also utilise a dry wash technique to clean our aircraft. This method not only saves 11 million litres of water annually, but also keeps our aircraft cleaner for longer. It reduces the aircraft’s fuel consumption because of less accumulation of dirt, and reduces the number of times the aircraft has to be washed to about three times a year. Emirates has also invested in solar powersystems to generate clean electricity at two of the airline’s major facilities in the UAE - Emirates Engine Maintenance Centre and Emirates Flight Catering. These two installations are expected to produce savings of up to 3.8 million kilogrammes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.