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Etihad Airways on target to Save US$20m through Fuel Saving Measures

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Etihad Airways aiming to trim its annual aviation fuel bill by Dh 73 million (US $20 million) through a series of innovative efficiency measures.

At the beginning of 2008, Etihad undertook a comprehensive review of all aspects of its flight operations to identify areas where the carrier’s fuel bill could be reduced.

The work, supported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), highlighted some 23 fuel-efficiency measures. Many of these measures have now been fully or partially introduced by the Abu Dhabi-based carrier after a thorough examination to ensure continued safe operations.

Etihad has saved more than Dh 44 million (US $12 million) so far this year thanks to the measures and remains on track to achieve its Dh 73 million (US $20 million) target by the end of 2008.

Captain Richard Hill, Etihad Airways’ executive vice president operations, said, “Fuel is now Etihad’s largest single cost and accounts for between 35 and 40% of the airline’s annual expenditure. This is an area where we are heavily focused to try and generate significant and sustained savings.”

Fuel savings have been achieved through a variety of measures that include reducing weight on board the aircraft, changing certain operating procedures, reducing cruise speed where appropriate and increasing the frequency of engine washes.

The airline’s renewed focus upon on-time performance, particularly at its Abu Dhabi base, has also resulted in significant fuel savings, with year-on-year punctuality improvements resulting in aircraft spending less time on the ground.

In addition to these latest fuel saving measures, Etihad continues to manage one of the most aggressive and successful fuel hedging policies in the industry. The airline currently has more than 80% of its fuel needs for 2008 hedged and 40% for 2009.

Etihad operates one of the youngest, most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft fleets in the world. The average age of its aircraft currently stands at three years.

The airline placed one of the largest aircraft orders in commercial aviation history in July at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK. A key selection criterion in the deal, which includes 100 firm orders for a combination of ‘next generation’ Airbus and Boeing aircraft, was the environmental performance of the aircraft.

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