June 25, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably suspended the progression of many CO2-reducing efforts at world’s airports. But some still managed to brave the storm and launch new projects aimed at decarbonising their operations further. Check out the news about these airports’ continued climate action here below. 

Asia Pacific: Incheon Airport
Incheon International Airport Corporation which operates Incheon Airport, a level 3 ‘Optimisation’ accredited airport, has announced it will partner with Hyundai Motor Company, Air Liquide Korea and Hydrogen Energy Network to operate fuel cell electric buses and accelerate its efforts to become a low-carbon environmentally-friendly airport.

The four parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a hydrogen refuelling station for fuel cell electric buses at Incheon Airport’s Terminal 2 by March 2021. Over the next five years, the hydrogen-powered buses will gradually replace Incheon Airport’s current fleet of internal combustion engine buses that shuttle between the terminals, long-term parking lots and logistics complex. The first batch of seven fuel cell electric buses will go into operation in the second half of 2020, followed by three to five buses entering service annually.

North America: Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
Daily vehicle count at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport will fall significantly as a result of the rollout of the new extension to the automated people mover running at the airport, reducing congestion and air pollution while improving passenger experience.  

Stage 2 of the PHX Sky Train will lengthen the 3.2-mile track, which currently operates between the 44th Street PHX Sky Train station and Terminal 3. When Stage 2 is complete and fully operational in 2022, it will run another 2.5 miles establishing a direct connection to the airport’s rental car centre. 

The project aims to enhance customer service and improve accessibility, ease traffic congestion on Sky Harbor Boulevard, and make travel easier and more efficient between terminals. It supports the airport’s sustainability goals as it will help reduce the daily vehicle count by an estimated 20,000 vehicles per day. 

Latin America & Caribbean: Salvador Bahia Airport
Salvador Bahia, part of the VINCI Airports’ network of airports, has been recognised by Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) as the country’s most sustainable airport.

ANAC’s award for being the ‘Most Sustainable Aerodrome in Brazil in 2019’ is based on Salvador Bahia’s efforts/success in 36 different criteria that include water, power and waste management, climate change, atmospheric emissions, noise, soil, fauna, and flora as well as environmental awareness-raising and organisational management.

Since joining the VINCI Airports network in 2018, Salvador Bahia has become the first zero-waste-to-landfill, 100% LED-lit airport in Brazil. Its carbon management efforts have been recognised with level 2 ‘Reduction’ of Airport Carbon Accreditation only one year from joining the programme. Next on the agenda are plans to complete the installation of a 4.2 MW solar park on the airport site.

Europe: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and its partners have begun a sustainable aircraft taxiing trial using a vehicle known as a ‘Taxibot’. Belonging to Smart Airport Systems and one of only ten in the world, Schiphol’s Taxibot is powered by a hybrid combination of electric and diesel engines that is expected to reduce airline fuel consumption by up to 85% during the aircraft taxiing process.

The trial – being conducted in conjunction with Dutch Air Traffic Control, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Corendon Dutch Airlines, KLM, Transavia, easyJet and the airline handlers dnata and KLM Ground Services – will last through June and is part of a feasibility study into sustainable taxiing at Schiphol.

Some of the items being investigated include how sustainable taxiing can be integrated into daily operations; whether it is achievable on a large scale; and how long and in what time period the transition phase should be.