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ABU DHABI: Etihad Airways has committed to plant a mangrove tree on behalf of every customer who books an economy seat, ensuring every “space” seat sold is eventually carbon neutral.

The commitment was made following the February launch of the Etihad Mangrove Forest, an initiative for biodiversity, wildlife and environmental protection through a network of mangrove and other forests being established in Abu Dhabi and around the world.

The initiative aims to plant 182,000 mangroves in Abu Dhabi by the first quarter of 2023, before moving on to the next phase of the program, which will see new forests planted in international locations.

Mangroves remove up to four times more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than other tropical forests, assisting in the fight against climate change effects such as coral bleaching and coastline degradation, while also supporting biodiversity and wildlife as an important habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife.

Each mangrove planted will absorb up to 250 kg of CO2 in its lifetime, the equivalent of an eight-hour flight.

“In addition to our own sustainability ambitions, we made a commitment to helping our guests and partners to travel more sustainably and empower them to make conscious choices,” said Mariam Al-Qubaisi, head of sustainability at Etihad Aviation Group.

Al Qubaisi continued: “With the latest evolution of our sustainability programme to plant a mangrove on behalf of every guest who books an Economy Space seat, we’re simplifying the process so anyone can travel sustainably.

“The Etihad Mangrove Forest is a key initiative in our sustainability journey to ensure our responsibility to remove carbon from the atmosphere is progressing. The intent is to create forests on all continents we fly to, and to provide our guests with an engaging opportunity to take part in the solution.”

Within 10 days of flying, every guest who books one of these seats will receive confirmation of their gifted mangrove in the Etihad Forest. Guests can track, virtually visit, see photos, and receive other details about their tree via the email link, confirming the carbon offset for their recent travel.

The Etihad Forest is the next step in Etihad’s sustainability journey, the airline said, adding that it follows the launch of Etihad Guest’s sustainability-linked loyalty initiative, Conscious Choices. The initiative enables Etihad to explore opportunities in carbon projects in order to support Abu Dhabi’s commitment to sustainability.