By Minji Hong
What do you consider when choosing which airline to book your flight to your next holiday destination? The airfare? The in-flight meals? The in-flight entertainment? Well, how about their eco-consciousness? Did you know that airlines too can adopt their operations based on principles of environment-friendliness as well as ethics? Notably, these 5 airlines based in the Middle East have set up and led various charitable projects and foundations in order to contribute to pressing causes in the region and beyond.
Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.)
The second largest airline of the U.A.E. based in Abu Dhabi began its operations throughout the globe in 2003, and quickly rose to prominence, recently claiming the title as World’s sixth best airline in 2015. Moreover, on February 2015, the airline was nationally recognized as the “Best Sustainability Communication Program” and “Sustainability Manager of the year” at the U.A.E. Sustainability Awards. Indeed, according to James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer for Etihad, it has “a commitment to putting sustainability at the core of its business.” The airline company is praised for its innovative “Together” strategy used to manage corporate responsibility, whereby the company strives to grow, work, give, and become greener together. Through this method, Etihad Airways aims to firstly incorporate a process of “Emiratization,” by strategically increasing the proportion of Emirati nationals in the workforce, through supporting various projects and companies such as the Al Ain Contact Center, the first company in the country to be operated solely by Emirati women. Then, it promises to commit to the professional development and well-being of their employees by, for instance, working with the Higher College of Technology in Abu Dhabi to provide a support system for U.A.E. nationals to improve their proficiency in English. Etihad is also committed to providing humanitarian assistance across the globe by supporting many local initiatives as well as conflicts abroad, such as the Syrian situation by working with the U.A.E. Red Crescent to donate blankets and other necessities to the refugees. Last but not least, the airline has proven to have reduced about 24 percent of carbon emissions since 2006 by launching and leading several initiatives to improve fuel efficiency, for example.
Qatar Airways (Qatar)
With its headquarters in Doha, not only is Qatar Airways the Airline of the Year in 2015, but it is also leading the aviation industry through its influential environmental and social projects. First of all, the airline aims to enhance fuel efficiency by adopting a fuel optimization program, which involves implementing innovative methods to reduce carbon emissions. However, Qatar Airways’ key influence lies in its support in social, especially educational causes. In 2013, the airline pledged its collaborative work with the “Educate a Child” initiative to spread awareness of child education by taking advantage of the airline’s global reception as a communication platform. Moreover, the airline supports a non-profit organization geared towards improving the lives of children with brain tumors, and in 2008 was also invested the relief work towards the victims of the earthquake that hit the Sichuan province in China.
Royal Jordanian (Jordan)
Based in Amman, Royal Jordanian is an airline that is particularly active in launching and implementing various up-to-date initiatives to support social causes and by engaging in partnerships with influential organizations. For example, in light of the October as the month of breast cancer awareness month, in addition to introducing gift items promoting the breast awareness campaign that ensues the airline’s social corporate responsibility role as a supporter of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation, it hosted a “Think Pink” day at its headquarters. Also, the airline commits to an annual campaign for Ramadan by integrating it into its corporate social responsibility and enhance interaction with the local community, which concludes with an iftar for the underprivileged, and a delivery of boxes of aid to the estranged. The environment is also a great concern and of great importance to the corporate responsibility of the airline. Indeed, the airline’s Environmental Management Plan that includes policies to recycle, is one of the most responsible in the aviation industry.
Emirates (Dubai, U.A.E.)
Since its inception in 1985, Emirates is the largest airline in the U.A.E. and has been competing for the best service in the air. Its contributions to social causes also soar to match its high level of quality of service . These efforts culminated with a creation of a foundation managed under the airline dedicated towards humanitarian, philanthropic aid and services especially for underprivileged children all over the world. In addition to providing a platform for its global base of passengers across the world to donate funds, Emirates has launched and given support to several projects over the years geared towards specific issues, such as the IIMPACT Girls Education Project in India as well as different conservation projects in Dubai and in Australia to show its commitment to sustainability.