One of the leading challenges that is faced in this era is global warming. The rapid increase in production of automobile significantly increased the average carbon dioxide emission. Similarly, the aviation industry is much more advanced, since the giant leap into modernization came into being, hundreds of international and regional airlines started their operations.

It is said that, on average there are 8,000 aircraft in the air at the same time which may spike to double of it during peak hours. So what does this mean? Yes, it means loads and loads of carbon emission.

The aircraft engine work on the principle of combustion, which emits carbon dioxide every second. Imagine 8,000 aircraft continuously emitting carbon dioxide, which is the main constituent of greenhouse gases. Yes, tons of these gases produced. Is it not a matter of deep concern? Yes, this is indeed a matter of great concern.

IATA (International Air Transport Association) knew about this issue and numerous meetings on international and national level were held to suggest the best possible solution to this uprising environmental issue. The carbon dioxide traps the sun rays from reflecting back from earth’s surface, which causes increase in temperature. The combustion engine of an aeroplane produces carbon dioxide along with sulphates, soot and water vapours.

These all elements are harmful to the environment and causes global warming.

Modernizing the aviation fuel

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) is being promoted by IATA as a better option for airlines, as this fuel is not refined from petroleum as normal jet fuel was, but rather is composed of constituents like used cooking oil, agriculture residues and non-fossil carbon dioxide (e.g.: from industrial plants).

Therefore, this eco-friendly fuel was suggested by IATA to be implemented by the airlines. It also requested the governments to cooperate with airlines to commence operations using this fuel.

Since 2016, there have been nearly 370,000 flights using sustainable aviation fuel. IATA estimates that a 100 million tonnes of SAF will be produced in 2021 and that more than 45 airlines now have experience with SAF.

The Etihad's 787-10 'Greenliner'

Etihad Airways took the eco-friendly air travel to the next level by its Greenliner, a modified version of Boeing 787-10 in terms of fuel efficiency and environmental friendliness. Registered as A6-BMH, this aircraft took off to the skies on flight to London Heathrow on 23 October 2021. The route of flight was carefully planned to avoid ice super-saturated areas to avoid the formation of harmful contrails. The water bottles provided during the flight were plant-based, which could easily be recycled.