Environment

Sustainability in operations

REDUCING OUR IMPACT

In the air

The greatest proportion of our carbon emissions comes from the consumption of jet fuel, so our selection of aircraft and our operation of those craft present the best opportunities for reducing our environmental impact. And with jet fuel comprising one of our largest areas of expenditure, fuel efficiency is also essential to every part of the business. Full details of our fuel efficiency, emissions, and noise performance can be viewed in the Emirates Group Environmental Report.

Aircraft

Emirates’ policy of investing in the most modern, eco-efficient technology available means we have one of the youngest fleets in the industry. The environmental benefits of operating a modern wide-body fleet include both reduced noise and lower engine emissions. All of our aircraft (except for a small number of wet-leased freighters) are fully compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Chapter 4 noise standards and meet the applicable ICAO engine emission standards. Our Airbus A380s, among the quietest large aircraft available, were designed to meet strict requirements at some of the world’s most noise-sensitive airports.

Emirates Engineering ensures that our aircraft are performing at their optimum level at all times. And our engine-washing procedures keep internal engine components clean, maintaining fuel-efficient performance and prolonging the useful life of the engine. We also regularly clean our aircraft with a water-saving "drywash" procedure, which uses a small amount of cleaning agent applied with cloths.

This procedure saves thousands of liters of water each wash, and having a clean aircraft exterior helps to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by making the aircraft lighter and more aerodynamic. For more information, you can view the full details of all our aircraft.

Operations

Saving fuel in flight begins with planning on the ground. We’ve invested in one of the best flight-planning systems available, to optimize routes based on each day’s weather conditions and airspace constraints and the specific aircraft allocated for each sector. Once airborne, our flight crew take advantage of opportunities to save fuel and emissions where practicable and supported by air traffic control.

Examples include continuous climbs and descents and inflight rerouting on long-haul flights to account for shifting winds. On landing, our pilots use idle reverse thrust (instead of full reverse thrust) and switch off one engine while taxiing where it is safe and practicable to do so. We prioritize the use of ground power and preconditioned air where it is available so that the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit—a small jet turbine located at the rear of the aircraft—can be switched off. All of these measures help save fuel and emissions, as well as cut down on noise.

Emirates is supportive of efforts around the world to improve the efficiency of air traffic management and provide more flexibility on flight routes. Our flight operations specialists collaborate with air traffic control organizations internationally to deliver more efficient routes and operational procedures, applying the latest technology to support these enhancements.

Onboard

Our efforts to minimize our environmental impact continue on board the aircraft.

The Economy Class blankets on our long-haul flights are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Each ecoTHREAD™ blanket is made from 28 bottles, which have been chipped, spun into yarn, and woven into soft, warm, and sustainable blankets. Using these blankets both prevents the plastic bottles ending up in landfill and saves energy and emissions in the manufacturing process compared with using new plastic materials.

Cutting down on unnecessary weight carried also helps us to save fuel. For example, we use lightweight cargo containers and optimize the amount of potable water loaded for each flight based on the planned passenger load and flying distance.

Biofuel

Emirates spends billions of dollars on fuel each year, so naturally we are monitoring the development of biofuel technology with great interest. We look forward to the development of biofuels that are technically safe, cost competitive, and truly sustainable, with a viable supply chain in place from feedstock to the aircraft.

[music playing throughout]

[A plane is towed into a hangar]

[Wonder how we keep our 250-plus aircraft clean and shiny?]

WONDER HOW WE KEEP OUR 250+ AIRCRAFT CLEAN AND SHINY?

[We use drywash, a unique eco-friendly cleaning technique.]

WE USE DRYWASH, A UNIQUE ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANING TECHNIQUE.

[We apply cleaning agents on the aircraft surface.]

WE APPLY CLEANING AGENTS ON THE AIRCRAFT SURFACE.

[We then wipe off the cleaning agents and dirt.]

WE THEN WIPE OFF THE CLEANING AGENTS AND DIRT.

[We save 11 point 7 million liters of water per year with drywash.]

WE SAVE 11.7 MILLION LITErS OF WATER PER YEAR WITH DRYWASH.

[An aircraft needs only three drywashes a year.]

AN AIRCRAFT NEEDS ONLY 3 DRYWASHES A YEAR.

[Drywash gives aircraft longer-lasting gloss and shine.]

DRYWASH GIVES AIRCRAFT LONGER-LASTING GLOSS AND SHINE.

[A cleaner aircraft is more fuel efficient.]

A CLEANER AIRCRAFT IS MORE FUEL EFFICIENT.

[15 crew members take 12 hours to drywash an A380.]

15 CREW MEMBERS TAKE 12 HOURS TO DRYWASH AN A380.

[Drywash also reduces ground maintenance time.]

DRYWASH ALSO REDUCES GROUND MAINTENANCE TIME.

[Happy World Environment Day] HAPPY WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

[Hello tomorrow, Emirates]

HELLO TOMORROW, EMIRATES

INCREASING EFFICIENCIES

On the ground

We have a wide-ranging program of ground-based initiatives to enhance our energy and resource efficiency, make use of renewable energy, and recycle used materials. Full details of our strategies and results can be viewed in the Emirates Group Environmental Report.

Electricity

Dubai’s abundant sunshine helps to power our state-of-the-art Engine Maintenance Centre, where we installed a one-megawatt array of solar photovoltaic panels. The 2,990 panels, which form a roof over the parking lot, are expected to generate more than 1,800 megawatt-hours of electricity and save about 800 tons of carbon dioxide every year. We’ve also been installing light-emitting-diode (LED) lights across our facilities, saving large amounts of electricity—the LED lights in the Emirates SkyCargo terminal at Dubai World Central (DWC) save more than 970 MWh of electricity a year.

Emirates Engineering has installed these lights in engineering hangars as well as storage warehouses, where they are activated by motion sensors. This team is also using LED lights for aircraft cabin maintenance, where they have the added advantage of being much cooler than the lights they replaced. Combined, these initiatives are saving more than 2,850 MWh of electricity a year. Finally, our refurbished London office features LED lighting, upgraded air conditioning, and a more efficient use of floor space, resulting in a reduction in electricity consumption of 60 percent.

Reducing, reusing, recycling

Our business units are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to reduce resource consumption, repurpose items, and recycle materials when they reach the end of their life—all essential aspects of a circular economy.

The Information Technology department implemented a Think Before You Print campaign, which achieved a 33% reduction in print volumes in just eight months, saving millions of sheets of paper and more than 2 million kWh of electricity.

Even retired aircraft fittings can be reused. The Flight Training Facilities department sources a range of items from Emirates Engineering when aircraft interiors are being upgraded. In one project, they acquired a set of seats from a retiring Airbus A340-500 and modified them to fit two emergency evacuation cabin simulators and two cabin service training simulators. The project extended the lifetime of the seats by another five to seven years—and saved the company the cost of 50 new seats.

Emirates Flight Catering, one of the world’s largest airline catering firms, runs a recycling program to match the scale of its operation. The program diverts a wide range of materials from landfills, including paper and cardboard, aluminum foil and cans, and plastic bottles and containers, much of them collected from our aircraft after their arrival in Dubai.

Emirates Flight Catering also supports the Emirates Environmental Group’s aluminum can drives, donating thousands of kilograms of cans a year collected from our flights.

Ground transport

Our vehicle fleet managers are focused on minimizing the environmental footprint of our road operations. The Transport Services department takes a two-pronged approach: managing growth efficiently and continuously improving existing operations.

The department has introduced more fuel-efficient vehicles, optimized trip planning to reduce the number of routes served and the number of empty trips, and trained drivers on safe and efficient driving practices, including avoidance of unnecessary engine idling. These efforts have earned several awards for sustainable transport in Dubai.

MORE INFORMATION

You might also be interested in . . .