Two Swiss pilots will attempt an around-the-world journey on 9 March on a solar-powered airplane that is expected to last for five months and is aimed at promoting clean technology in the aviation sector.

Swiss adventurers Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg will take turns piloting the single-seat, 2,300kg Solar Impulse airplane on its pioneering flight.

The craft has a wingspan greater than the Boeing 747.

"We want to show that climate change is a fantastic opportunity to bring on the market new clean technologies that save energy, save natural resources of our planet, make profit, create jobs, and sustain growth," Bertrand Piccard told reporters a day before the trip.

"(It is a feeling of) childish excitement when you really realise something that is deep in your mind and deep in your body, but also responsibility because it is twelve years of work, a lot of people had spent a lot of time, of their free time on this project so there is a strong sense of responsibility to make sure that all the decisions which will be taken will be the right ones," Andre Borschberg, the second pilot, told reporters.

The flight will take-off from the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi. The route includes stops in Oman, India, Mandalay, Myanmar, and China.

After crossing the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii, it will fly across the continental USA, stopping in three locations: Phoenix, New York City, and a location in the Midwest that will be decided later.

After crossing the Atlantic, the final legs will include a stopover in Southern Europe or North Africa before returning back in Abu Dhabi.

Made from of a lightweight carbon fibre frame, the Solar Impulse aircraft will carry zero fuel and produce zero carbon emissions on its journey. The airplane will be powered entirely from the 17,000 solar cells embedded in its wings spanning 72 metres.

It will be the first solar-powered airplane that can fly through the night.