Etihad Airways aims to “completely neutralise” the CO2 emissions of its flagship Boeing 787-10 ‘Greenliner’ aircraft for a full year of operations in 2021.

The UAE carrier has committed to purchasing carbon offsets for the aircraft.

The initiative is the start of a scheme to reduce CO2 emissions to half of 2019 levels by 2035, and to achieve full net zero emissions by 2050.

Th is would be a first for any airline in the Gulf and one of the first to set a target of this scale in the industry, according to Etihad.

The airline will also implement an additional voluntary offset programme for passengers via its website next year.

Etihad’s plan is centred on a Tanzanian forestry project and will initially purchase 80,000 tonnes of CO2 offsets.

Etihad Aviation Group chief executive Tony Douglas said: “It’s encouraging to end a difficult year with such a positive move for the sustainable future of aviation.

“While the year brought many challenges, sustainability has remained at the top of our agenda, and the work hasn’t stopped. Expect to see more ground-breaking initiatives in 2021 as we learn the environmental lessons from initiatives with our Greenliner fleet and other sustainability initiatives.”

The carbon offset programme complements ongoing work to develop and test Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs), with the goal of making them commercially viable for widespread adoption by the industry.