May 22, 2024

Emirates commits $200 million to sustainability-focused R&D

Emirates has announced it has committed $200 million to fund research and development (R&D) projects focused on reducing the impact of fossil fuels in commercial aviation.

This is the biggest single commitment by any airline to sustainability, with funds to be disbursed over three years. Emirates will identify partnerships with leading organisations working on solutions in advanced fuel and energy technologies.  

“We are ring-fencing $200 million to invest in advanced fuel and energy solutions for aviation, which is where airlines currently face the biggest impediment in reducing our environmental impact. We looked long and hard at the reality we face in commercial aircraft and engine technology, fuel supply chain and our industry’s regulatory and eco-system requirements. It’s clear that with the current pathways available to airlines in terms of emissions reduction, our industry won’t be able to hit net zero targets in the prescribed timeline,” said Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates.

“We believe our industry needs better solutions, and that’s why we’re looking to partner with leading organisations on R&D. Our aim is to contribute meaningfully to practical solutions for the long-term sustainability of commercial aviation,” he continued. 

“Until viable solutions can be found, Emirates will continue to implement environmentally responsible practices throughout our business, including uplifting sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) where feasible, ensuring efficient fleet operations and inducting modern aircraft into our fleet. Our $200 million fund is earmarked for R&D and not for operating costs like the purchase of SAF or carbon offsets to tick regulatory boxes – activities we consider business-as-usual.” 

Emirates’ Environmental Sustainability Executive Steering Group will oversee disbursements from the fund, with support from technical experts. 

Emirates’ environmental policy and strategy focuses its activities on three areas: emissions reduction, responsible consumption plus the conservation of wildlife and habitats. 

In January, Emirates successfully completed the first 100% SAF-powered demonstration flight in partnership with Boeing and GE. Since its first flight powered by SAF in 2017, the airline continues to participate actively in the SAF market and seek opportunities in its network to use SAF where feasible.