Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Aviation Group, has advanced its sustainability journey by becoming the first Middle Eastern carrier to participate in The International Air Cargo Association’s (TIACA) BlueSky program.
Following the March 2022 launch announcement of the air cargo industry’s first multi-sector sustainability verification program and successful pilot program, Etihad Cargo is one of the first participants to join the program’s live operations. Other participants include organizations from airlines, airports, ground handlers, and general sales and service agents sectors.
The first phase of the program comprises an evidence-based desktop verification process in which participants can assess their progress against eight critical sustainability criteria, including decarbonization, waste elimination, biodiversity protection, support for local economies and communities, impact on society improvement, efficiency and profitability, employee engagement, retention and development, and partnership building.
Upon completing the tailored assessment process, Etihad Cargo will receive a personalized dashboard that displays the carrier’s performance against the criteria. Later phases of the program will include the option for a full onsite audit with an in-depth report that highlights areas for improvement.
“Sustainability remains a key pillar of Etihad Cargo’s agenda,” said Martin Drew, Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Cargo. “Although the air cargo industry has historically been considered less sustainable than other transportation methods, the sector is making great strides in developing more sustainable solutions and is investing in fleet modernization, fuel efficiency, sustainable aviation fuel, and carbon compensation initiatives.
“Participating in TIACA’s BlueSky program is just the latest step Etihad Cargo has taken to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The assessment process will enable Etihad Cargo to measure the carrier’s performance more effectively and track its sustainability progress as it continues on its sustainability journey, which will benefit Etihad Cargo’s customers and the wider air cargo industry.”
Over the past year, Etihad Cargo has embarked on several green initiatives, which include replacing 3,000 containers from its original aluminum unit load device (ULD) fleet with environmentally friendly lightweight versions. On the average wide-bodied flight, utilization of these lighter ULDs can provide a weight-saving of over 200 kilograms, which has lowered fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The carrier has also entered into a memorandum of understanding with B Medical Systems to develop and launch the world’s first airline-specific passive temperature-controlled solution for transporting life-saving drugs, vaccines, and high-value pharmaceuticals. As these temperature-controlled container units utilize passive cooling technology, they do not require an external power source. They can retain temperatures from -80 to 25 degrees Celsius for five days while still significantly reducing carbon emissions.