Etihad Airways expects receiving another Boeing 787 aircraft in autumn 2020 ‒ in addition to the 38 it already has in the fleet. But before it enters service with the Gulf carrier, the Dreamliner will first be employed on a special mission. 

Boeing and Etihad Airways plan to utilize the airline’s future 787-10 Dreamliner to test technologies that could make aviation more sustainable by reducing emissions and noise, the parties announced on July 20, 2020. 

The Boeing 787 will be taken on a test flight to gather data, which would potentially serve to optimize routing efficiency and enhance safety by reducing workload and radio frequency congestion, according to Boeing’s statement.

The same aircraft will also be used to gather data through sound measurement testing. The data will be used to validate aircraft noise prediction processes and the sound reduction potential of aircraft designs, including landing gear, that are modified for quieter operations, as outlined in the statement. 

Both testings are part of the ecoDemonstrator program. The testing will begin in August 2020 and last until the Dreamliner’s delivery to Etihad, expected in the fall of 2020. Besides Boeing and Etihad, NASA and Safran Landing Systems will be working on the project.