Etihad Airways has won the title for “Best Environmental Initiative” at the “Best in Abu Dhabi” awards 2010. The “Best in Abu Dhabi” survey is voted for by residents of the UAE’s capital and are considered the people’s choice awards for the best in the emirate.

Etihad Airways’ Head of Environmental Affairs, Linden Coppell, received the award on behalf of the airline at a ceremony at the Yas Rotana in Abu Dhabi on Sunday May 30.

Ms Coppell said: “To receive the ‘Best Environment Initiative’ title is a great achievement for Etihad as it follows the launch of a number of special projects we are now committed to with our partners in Abu Dhabi and around the world.

“Winning the award also demonstrates that the public in our home-base appreciate the environmental efforts we are undertaking and we will build on this further in the coming months as we look to reduce the airline’s carbon footprint.”

One of the initiatives Etihad is involved with is a sustainable bioenergy research project that was launched in January 2010 and is hosted by the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi.

The project, which is also supported by Boeing and Honeywell’s UOP, is looking at the use of integrated saltwater agricultural systems to support the development and commercialisation of biofuel for aviation and co-products.

In addition, Etihad recently signed a service agreement with MASDAR, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, to purchase carbon credits for the airline’s voluntary offset programs.

As part of the agreement, the expert carbon management team within MASDAR will help to support the voluntary carbon offset programs of Etihad in sourcing and retiring high quality carbon credits.

Etihad has also implemented a number of internal initiatives such as the use of “Permagard”, a polymer coating applied to the exterior of the airline’s aircraft.

The coating helps to provide protection to the aircraft surface, reflecting dirt and dust, so they need to be washed less often, reducing wash water requirements by more than 70 per cent.

The treatment also eliminates the need for strong cleaning agents, which can be replaced by more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Photo shows: Linden Coppell, Etihad Airways’ Head of Environmental Affairs, with the “Best in Abu Dhabi” award for “Best Environmental Initiative”.