Christchurch Airport in New Zealand becomes world’s first airport to achieve Level 4 Transformation

24 November 2020

Christchurch Airport in New Zealand has taken a major step forward in its commitment to fight against climate change, becoming the first airport in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world to reach Level 4 Transformation of Airport Carbon Accreditation. This high achievement is evidence of the airport’s continued efforts to align its carbon management strategy with the global climate goals. It also follows ACI’s recent announcement of the introduction of two further levels of accreditation in its global Airport Carbon Accreditation programme (Level 4 Transformation and Level 4+ Transition) to mark the industry’s ongoing commitment to ‘Build Back Better’.

Christchurch Airport, which was previously accredited at Level 2 Reduction of Airport Carbon Accreditation, has successfully upgraded to Level 4 Transformation, one of the highest levels of accreditation, by taking swift and concrete actions to transform its operations to achieve CO2 emissions reduction in alignment with the Paris Agreement (global warming limited to below 2°C and ideally 1.5°C). To attain this accreditation, Christchurch Airport has also addressed broader emissions in its carbon footprint that include all the significant operational sources on- and off-site. Furthermore, the airport has demonstrated evidence of actively engaging and leading its stakeholders towards delivering emissions reductions.

Speaking of this achievement, Malcolm Johns, CEO Christchurch Airport, commented: ‘’Achieving Level 4 Transformation of Airport Carbon Accreditation is a giant leap for our airport community. We are very proud to be the first airport in New Zealand and in the world to reach this accreditation. As regional airport, we set a good example for our regional peers and for the airport industry as a whole. We show that small is big when you are bold enough to set the bar higher on climate actions and to deliver on ambitious environmental goals. We will continue to work diligently to build a more sustainable aviation in strong cooperation with our business partners.’’

Stefano Baronci, Director General ACI Asia-Pacific, said: ‘’We are thrilled to see Christchurch Airport becoming the first airport in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world accredited at Level 4 Transformation of Airport Carbon Accreditation. This achievement demonstrates the airport’s firm commitment to invest in a more sustainable future for aviation and for the region it serves. Without a doubt, it is a remarkable milestone at a time of unprecedented challenges for aviation. For airports, it is essential to recover from COVID-19 in a more agile and sustainable way and Christchurch Airport is clearly leading the way in working towards decarbonisation. We hope other airports in the region will follow Christchurch Airport’s leadership.’’

Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE commented: ‘’Today’s announcement that Christchurch Airport has reached Level 4 Transformation of Airport Carbon Accreditation underlines the airport’s strenuous efforts to decarbonise and to take its climate goals to the next level. We congratulate the airport on its achievement and on its firm steps towards creating a more sustainable journey. This recognition is also a clear signal that, despite the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, airports of all sizes and in various world regions are strengthening their commitment to build back better, to operate in a more sustainable way and to protect their local communities from climate change.’’

Airports reveal step-change in continued progress towards decarbonisation as new Airport Carbon Accreditation levels are announced

17 November 2020

Global standard for airport climate action shows increased ambition despite challenge of pandemic

17 November 2020 - ACI has today unveiled two further levels of achievement in its global Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, marking the industry’s determination to ‘Build Back Better’ as it looks towards recovery. 

Introducing Level 4 Transformation and Level 4+ Transition

At ACI EUROPE’s Annual Congress, live-streamed from Brussels Airport, Olivier Jankovec announced the first major, structural change to the programme since its inception in 2009: two new accreditation levels - Level 4 Transformation and Level 4+ Transition

The introduction of these two new levels marks a shift in the ambition level of the programme. CO2 emissions reductions and continuous improvements have been at the core of Airport Carbon Accreditation since launch. Level 1 Mapping through to Level 3+ Neutrality do allow for flexibility in the magnitude of reductions achieved. 

By contrast, Levels 4 and 4+ set out further obligations - namely:

  • Alignment with the Paris Agreement: requiring airports to align their carbon management strategies and plans with the ambition of the Paris Agreement, according to which global warming should be limited to below 2⁰C and ideally 1.5⁰C. These objectives have been translated into emissions reduction scenarios by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and airports will have to define their reduction targets and associated emissions pathways accordingly.
  • Extended carbon footprint: additional emissions sources have to be included, notably covering all significant operational emissions from third parties, including airlines.
  • Enhanced stakeholder engagement: requirements related to stakeholder engagement are tightened, with effective partnerships oriented towards delivering emissions reductions coming to the fore.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE, said: “The Airport Carbon Accreditation programme has always set the bar high in terms of our industry’s leadership and commitment to striving towards measurable change. We do not shy away from the role aviation plays in the climate emergency – it is one of the most difficult of industries to decarbonise. Yet in our connected, global world, working to a new paradigm following the crippling pandemic, our ambition to not only continue but to improve has never mattered more.”

“During the worst of the pandemic, airports around the world continued to achieve accreditation at all levels of the programme. In fact, since last March, 29 airports joined the programme for the first time and a further 22 achieved new levels of accreditation. We’re incredibly proud of their achievements. The introduction of these two further levels sets the bar yet higher. They bring the programme into line with the latest scientific and policy developments of recent years, and quite rightly reflect enhanced public expectations of the societal and environmental role we play. And already, airports are showing themselves able to step up.”

Praise for the programme from UNFCCC

The Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, and the ambition represented by the new levels announced today, has been applauded by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, said: “To achieve the deep transformation needed for sustainable development and stabilisation of global temperature, we must require commitments and participation from all sectors and levels of society. Airports have been severely hit by the Covid-19 crisis and yet, they are continuing their efforts to map and reduce their CO2 emissions year by year, as well as to engage their business partners in this endeavour. The programme went even further this year by introducing two new more ambitious levels, aligned with global climate goals. This is encouraging. I commend airports for this leadership; a signal that can set an example for others to follow with ambitious climate action.”

First accreditations at Level 4+ already achieved

At the ACI EUROPE Annual Congress today, it was announced that two airports have already reached Level 4+, the first in their respective regions to do so. Congratulations go to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in the United States, and to Indira Gandhi International Airport in India for their achievements.

Accepting their certification, Sean Donohue, CEO of DFW Airport said, “This recognition is the latest example of DFW Airport’s commitment to serving our community and our world with a comprehensive, holistic approach to sustainability. We continue to look for innovative and meaningful ways to reduce the Airport’s carbon footprint with mindful and responsible practices and processes. We can and will do more thanks to the focus and hard work of everyone at DFW Airport.”

Mr. Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO, DIAL, said, “Achievement of the Level 4+ accreditation is a testimony of our commitment towards ensuring sustainable development at IGIA. Going forward, we will continue to develop best in class infrastructure and provide services using innovative and sustainable technologies. With this achievement, we have set up new benchmark for other airports in this region to follow.”

Rebranded programme to reflect today’s ambition – and readiness for tomorrow

To reflect the enhanced Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, ACI EUROPE today unveiled a renewed, fresh branding for the programme. Visually striking and encompassing all the new levels, the family of Level identities works seamlessly across all media and locations. And, with the programme ambition firmly fixed on the ultimate goal of Net Zero CO2 emissions, it’s future proof too – expanding and adapting along with the programme itself.

Cambodia Airports recognised for deeper CO2 cuts!

27 October 2020

Cambodia’s 3 international airports have now been recognised for carbon reduction with level 2 of Airport Carbon Accreditation

The successful upgrade to level 2 results from the reduction of Scope 1 & 2 CO2 emissions at the airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Bravo Cambodia Airports and VINCI Airports! Learn more here.

ASUR Group achieves accreditation for 9 airports in their network!

23 October 2020

9 Mexican airports including Cancun Airport, implemented by Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) have successfully entered Airport Carbon Accreditation at level 1 'Mapping'!

This first step is meant to pave the way for ASUR Group's long-term ambitions to reach CO2 neutrality across its entire network.

We bid a warm welcome to Cancun Airport, Cozumel Airport, Huatulco Airport, Merida Airport, Minatitlan Airport, Oaxaca Airport, Tapachula Airport, Veracruz Airport, Villahermosa Airport.  

Find out more in the group's Press Release

Oman Airports achieves accreditation of Duqm Airport

19 October 2020

We are delighted to confirm that Oman Airports have just achieved level 1 'Mapping' of Airport Carbon Accreditation for operations at Duqm Airport. DQM joins the already accredited Muscat and Salalah Airports, both at level 2 'Reduction'! Thumbs up for keeping up with your commitment to environmentally friendly practices across the entire network of Omani airports.

Shenzhen Bao’an achieves Optimisation level!

30 September 2020

Mainland China has gained a second level 3 accredited airport in a span of three weeks! Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport has just upgraded to Optimisation level, having provided proof of tangible reduction of own emissions as well as demonstrated efforts to engage its business partners in this endeavour. Congratulations to the airport team working hard to achieve more sustainable operations at the busy Chinese hub! 

Stockholm Skavsta Airport joins Airport Carbon Accreditation

29 September 2020

Sweden's Stockholm Skavsta Airport has just joined Airport Carbon Accreditation at level 1 'Mapping'! Congratulations to the airport team working hard to keep up with the global environmental strategy led by VINCI Airports, their operator. Skavsta Airport joins the programme as the 315th airport in the world and the 37th airport in the VINCI network to become climate smart! Find out more here.

Level 3 unlocked by Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport!

28 September 2020

We are delighted to confirm that Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has taken its sustainability efforts one step further and achieved level 3 'Optimisation' of Airport Carbon Accreditation! Their extensive work to reduce the CO2 emissions within their control and enlist their business partners in the same endeavor have been recognised with an upgrade. Find out more about their CO2 reduction work here.

EuroAirport recertifies at level 2 'Reduction'

17 September 2020

EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg reconfirms its commitment to reduce CO2 emissions within its control!

Their renewal of level 2 'Reduction' certification comes at an extraordinarily daunting time for airports around the world, grappling with the slow-paced recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The airport serving the cities of Basel, Mulhouse and Freiburg continues its work to reduce its impact on the Climate through thick and thin. 
Find out more here

Big environmental success for Guangzhou Baiyun Intl Airport as it upgrades to level 3

03 September 2020

The main airport connecting Canton to the World has just achieved level 3 'Optimisation' of Airport Carbon Accreditation! Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is the first airport in Mainland China to reach this high within the global carbon management programme for airports. The upgrade has been awarded in recognition of extensive efforts carried out by the Guangdong Airport Authority to reduce the airport's direct emissions and influence emissions reductions by its business partners. Congratulations! 

Sunshine Coast Airport awarded carbon neutral for fourth year

13 August 2020

Sunshine Coast Airport has been awarded carbon neutral status for the fourth year under the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
The highest level of accreditation achievable under the scheme, Sunshine Coast Airport was the first airport in Australia to be recognised as carbon neutral in 2017, and remains the only airport in Australia to have achieved the Level 3+ certification.
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, Sunshine Coast Airport will hold the accreditation for two years.
Sunshine Coast Airport Chief Executive Officer Andrew Brodie said it was welcomed good news, and a proud moment for the region.
“This award is a significant achievement for the Sunshine Coast, placing us with only five other airports in Asia-Pacific to currently hold the title,” Mr Brodie said.
“Our region is already renowned for its natural environment, with Noosa last year awarded UNESCO biosphere status for another 10 years.
“This award underlines our place at the forefront of industry standards, and we will continue to prioritise our commitment to waste management, recycling and energy reduction into the future.”
Sunshine Coast Airport’s achievements include:
– a reduction in C02 produced per passenger by 43% since 2012
– a 12% reduction in tonnes of C02 produced per passenger in the last reporting year
– a 10% reduction in fuel usage for airport operations
– waste reduction of 12% in the last reporting year.
Learn more about Sunshine Coast Airport's sustainability actions here.  

LUCKY 7 - Sharjah Airport becomes the 7th carbon neutral airport in Asia-Pacific

10 August 2020

We are delighted to announce Sharjah Airport Authoritys big environmental success! Sharjah Airport has joined the highest rank of the global carbon management programme for airports, Airport Carbon Accreditation. At level 3+ 'Neutrality', the airport has reduced emissions from sources under its control to a maximum and compensated for residual emissions with the purchase of responsible carbon credits. Congratulations to the team who's hard work to reign in emissions is now being celebrated!

Sharjah Airport's accreditation at level 3+ brought the total number of carbon neutral airports in Asia-Pacific to a lucky 7. Keep them coming!   

Airport industry reaffirms commitment to climate action as aviation takes first steps towards post-COVID-19 recovery

29 July 2020

As the aviation sector looks towards initial greenshoots of recovery, airports have renewed their commitment to climate action as a cornerstone of rebuilding an industry dealt a devastating blow by the global pandemic.
Through its Airport Carbon Accreditation programme first launched in 2009, the airport industry laid down the gold standard for carbon management in a sector which faces steep challenges in making a positive contribution to limiting climate change.
Eleven years later, with aviation reeling from losses in passenger traffic and revenues, airports worldwide are still showing unswerving determination to work towards sustainable air travel. Despite the economic crisis and a recovery to 2019 passenger traffic levels not foreseen until 2024, the airport industry recognises that timely action is key to reducing the risk of future global and regional crises due to climate change – which in turn will be crucial in strengthening airport
Continued commitment through the height of the crisis – 300 milestone reached
Underpinning the sustainability ambitions of the airport sector, during the height of the COVID-19 crisis a number of airports joined Airport Carbon Accreditation for the first time, and several more progressed further through the accreditation levels.
In fact, it was during the worst of the pandemic that the programme passed the milestone of 300 accredited airports worldwide. The global total now stands at 312 Carbon Accredited airports.
Empowering airports to invest for a sustainable future
In order to ensure that airports can maintain and grow their climate action in spite of the crisis and its impacts, the Airport Carbon Accreditation Advisory Board has approved a set of temporary adjustments to the programme requirements. Amongst others, these changes allow airports to benefit from a one year extension of their certification, a streamlined verification process and thus reduced overall costs of accreditation. In this way, airports are supported during the worst of the economic downturn and enabled to embed climate action into their recovery plans moving forwards.
“Build Back Better”
In addition to being an unquestionable moral obligation, climate action will be key in rebuilding that vital ingredient in the recovery of the sector – public trust. Investing in climate-friendly infrastructure, operational efficiencies and teaming up with partners throughout the aviation ecosystem for the benefit of our customers and local communities makes business sense as well as benefitting all our futures.
Niclas Svenningsen, Manager for Global Climate Action, UNFCCC said, “Looking to the post-COVID-19 future, we’re certainly going to see the acceleration of certain trends. With huge commitment and determination from the airport industry, their leadership in setting the path towards tangible reductions in climate footprint was already in place. Recovery from the pandemic is an opportunity to Build Back Better. Airports are voting for the future they want with their feet – by taking us beyond the 300 accredited airport milestone even at the height of the hit. This is an industry with an unshakable determination not to just play its part but to make a true difference”.


Airports joined since pandemic declared 11 March 2020:

Bram Fischer International Airport South Africa (Level 1); Chania International Airport Greece (Level 1); Edinburgh Airport United Kingdom (Level 2); George Best Belfast City Airport United Kingdom (Level 2); Lagos Murtala Muhammed Airport Nigeria (Level 1); Leeds Bradford Airport United Kingdom (Level 1); Palermo Airport Falcone Borcellino Italy (Level 1); Queen Beatrix International Airport Aruba (Level 1); Queretaro Airport Mexico (Level 1); Samos International Airport Greece (Level 1); Kaohsiung International Airport Chinese Taipei (Level 3); Zvartnots International Airport Armenia (Level 1).

Airports upgraded since pandemic declared 11 March 2020:
Arroyo Barril Airport Dominican Republic (Level 2); Cibao International Airport Dominican Republic (Level 3); Durban King Shaka International Airport South Africa (Level 2); Enfidha-Hammamet Airport Tunisia (Level 3); Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport China (Level 2); La Isabela International Airport Dominican Republic (Level 2); Barahona International Airport Dominican Republic (Level 2); Nadi Airport Fiji (Level 3); Port Elizabeth National Airport South Africa (Level 2); Puerto Plata International Airport Dominican Republic (Level 2); Samana El Catey International Airport Dominican Republic (Level 2); Santo Domingo Airport Dominican Republic (Level 2); Sharjah International Airport United Arab Emirates (Level 3+).

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport upgrades to level 2 'Reduction'

17 July 2020

China's major airport in the South, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport has been recognised for CO2 reduction! The airport serving up to 69 million passengers a year has moved up to level 2 'Reduction' of Airport Carbon Accreditation. The upgrade comes as the crowning of the extensive effort of CAN's team to bring CO2 emissions down. 

The 35th climate smart airport in LAC is Aruba's Queen Beatrix International Airport!

14 July 2020

Congratulations are in order for Aruba Airport Authority N.V., the operator of Queen Beatrix International Airport, for joining the tribe of climate smart airports.
The main airport of Aruba has achieved level 1 'Mapping' of Airport Carbon Accreditation, having completed a comprehensive inventory of emissions and outlining a strategy to reduce them.
Their success also marks the 35th climate smart airport in Latin America and Caribbean. Well done!

COVID-19 crisis delivers concrete insights that can help aviation in sustainable recovery

07 July 2020

An interview with Marina Bylinsky, Head of Sustainability, ACI EUROPE

By Agata Lyznik

There has been a lot of talk about sustainable, balanced, green recovery from the present crisis. Many stakeholders see COVID-19 as an opportunity for a complete reset of our economy. How could this concept play out in the aviation sector?

As we overcome the immediate COVID-19 health emergency, we can indeed take a more forward looking approach and critically assess the way we managed the present crisis, and what we can learn from it for future scenarios. Climate change is going to be a source of new crises and hence remains the greatest long-term challenge we face. As put in a recent study published by the Oxford University and co-authored by the Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz: “The climate emergency is like the COVID-19 emergency, just in slow motion and much graver.”(1)
In the context of a sustainable recovery, this study is actually really interesting. It is based on a survey of high-level economic experts, assessing different types of recovery policies. The policy that achieved the lowest score of all referred to aviation bailouts, considering its climate impact but also economic outputs. This conclusion reveals doubts about the long-term economic viability and resilience of the aviation sector. It sends a clear warning signal to the industry, highlighting that the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability are intrinsically linked, and should encourage us to “build back better”.
The good news is that the COVID-19 crisis has delivered very concrete insights that can help us in our sustainable recovery. Firstly, it has shown that we need to trust and follow the science. Goals and strategies can no longer be determined by “what we can achieve” but “what we have to achieve”. For the aviation sector, it means that we need to step up our industry-wide climate goals, and align them with the latest climate science, namely the need to reach Net Zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Secondly, COVID-19 has shown how important early action is to address a looming crisis, and that delays do have a significant human and economic cost. The same is true for climate change. Delaying or reducing the rate at which emission reductions are made today will require more significant cuts in emissions in the future, with higher costs. For the aviation sector, this implies that we have to maintain climate action high on our agenda. Of course, in the current context, we will not be able to deliver on it on our own. This is why public support to the decarbonisation of aviation is more important today than ever. Such support will help our sector regain its economic viability – which is a prerequisite for safeguarding our ability to keep investing in decarbonisation on our own accounts, and ultimately continue providing social and economic benefits to society.

What is the role of airports in this effort?

Through ACI EUROPE’s Net Zero 2050 commitment from June 2019, European airports already aligned their climate ambition with the latest scientific evidence. Of course, for the aviation sector as a whole, the scale of the challenge is different, as we have many more solutions to decarbonise on the ground than in the air. Our role as airports is manifold: we have to first of all reach our own climate goals, but also to support the broader decarbonisation of the air transport system. This refers to facilitating more efficient ground operations, optimised air traffic management but also the provision of infrastructure and associated services for the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), and in the longer run, hydrogen fuelled and electrified aircraft operations. As a matter of fact, as new aircraft technologies emerge on the market, the role of airport operators will be critical to enable their deployment. For instance, if an airline is purchasing an electric airplane, it will only be able to fly it once it can be charged at the airport and benefit from associated maintenance and handling services. The “deeper” we get into the decarbonisation of air transport, the more important the role of airports will be as nodes of climate action, accelerating and removing roadblocks for new technologies and operations, in cooperation with industry partners.
Speaking about a sustainable recovery from an airport perspective, we should also not forget about its more local components, for instance mitigation of noise and air pollution or resources management. In these areas as well, we can use the recovery from COVID-19 as an opportunity to explore new, innovative approaches.
Did airports continue to unroll initiatives aimed at reducing CO2 during the pandemic?
It is great to see that in spite of the COVID-19 crisis, airports have indeed been introducing new environmental initiatives in the past months. For instance, Schiphol Airport launched a trial of Taxibot, an electric tow vehicle that allows aircraft not to burn fuel while taxiing – reducing not only CO2, but also local air pollutant emissions.
Copenhagen Airport partnered with several other Danish companies to develop green hydrogen and synthetic fuels. 10 airports, amongst them 6 in Europe, have entered Airport Carbon Accreditation since 11 March, when the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. In fact it’s actually in this difficult period that the programme hit the milestone of 300 accredited airports worldwide, as we have 309 of them now.
How can ACI EUROPE influence the situation positively? Has there been any adjustment in its position triggered by the crisis?
I see several roles for ACI EUROPE in this situation. Firstly, we have to facilitate the continuity of airport climate action. This involves awareness-raising within the membership, advocacy and practical steps to ensure the supporting tools we provide remain fit-for purpose in a new environment.
Awareness-raising is one of the areas we have worked on under the Off the Ground project, concluding that in addition to being a moral obligation, climate action will be key to rebuild public trust in aviation, achieve operational efficiencies, but also secure access to public and private investment. We also see an increasing number of policy but also investor initiatives to better understand how sustainable different assets are, and direct investments accordingly. In spite of the massive shake up of our industry and the uncertainty about what the landscape will look like one year from now, continued climate action does thus make business sense.
As regards advocacy, ACI EUROPE plays an important role in exploring opportunities for public funding to support airport decarbonisation during the recovery. It is essential that the implementation of the European Green Deal and related national policies are pursued as per initial plan, so as to provide airports and other stakeholders with a stable reference in which to develop their climate action. Furthermore, it is critical to ensure that there is consistency between climate policy and other policy areas. For instance, the process of economic regulation of airports should take into account the need for airports to be permitted and encouraged to make timely investment in decarbonisation.
In terms of supporting tools, we have implemented temporary adjustments to the rules of Airport Carbon Accreditation to help our members maintain their participation in the programme. Amongst others, these changes allow airports to benefit from a one year extension of their certification, a streamlined verification process and thus reduced overall costs of accreditation.
More broadly, we are also going to analyse how far COVID-19 requires us to rethink airport sustainability across its three dimensions. Aviation has proven to be an indispensable connector in the present crisis, ensuring the flow of essential goods, medical equipment and facilitating rescue missions. More than ever aviation’s positive contribution to the regions it serves has come to the fore. We believe this is an opportunity to explore how we can build on this experience to foster our relationship with local communities during the recovery and beyond.
In your opinion, what is the most important measure in addressing emissions from aviation operations?
There is currently no silver-bullet solution to the CO2 emissions from air transport, so a combination of different measures need to be implemented. We usually refer to these as the ICAO “Basket of Measures”, consisting of technology improvements, more efficient operations, SAF and market-based measures, such as the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) or the ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). Various studies are currently being carried out to assess the potential of each of these pillars, and to inform policy-making accordingly. From our perspective, we see that SAF is clearly one of the most significant. The advantage of SAF is that their use does not require changes to existing aircraft engines, nor significant modifications of airport infrastructure. Their operational roll-out can thus be achieved in a much shorter timeframe than, for instance, the entry into service of electric aircraft. The major obstacle to a wide deployment of SAF has so far been a limited production capacity, with a several times higher cost of SAF compared to fossil jet fuel. As such, ACI EUROPE welcomes the decision of the European Commission to develop a dedicated policy framework for SAF through its ReFuelEU Aviation initiative, aiming to scale up production and market uptake of SAF in Europe. We believe that in the context of an economic crisis, this work will be even more important; in addition to decarbonisation benefits, it will also help create jobs.

And what would be the gamechanger for airports in this regard?

Emissions under the airport operator control typically refer to heating and cooling of buildings, ground vehicles and support equipment, on-site processes such as waste processing and most importantly, electricity. The latter on average accounts for roughly 60% of the airport operators’ emissions. From that perspective, access to clean electricity is absolutely key for airport decarbonisation, and is all the more important as it can be used to replace the use of fossil fuel in vehicles or buildings. To access clean electricity, airports can either procure it, or generate it on-site. On-site generation is particularly relevant, as it is 100% additional, i.e. creating new green electricity generation capacity and thus substituting conventional electricity.
Furthermore, from a business resilience perspective, it is also interesting as it helps make an airport operator less vulnerable to disruptions in supply chains which can affect the national electricity grid. Of course, there are also challenges, for instance at the technical level where energy storage needs to be further developed if an airport wishes to produce large volumes of electricity which are not immediately consumed or fed into the grid. We therefore welcome the plans of the European Commission to accelerate the clean energy transition across Europe in the context of a sustainable recovery, as it will be an important enabler for continued airport decarbonisation.

(1) 20-02.pdf, p. 4.

Interview published in the 2020 Summer issue of Airport Business

THE WAY FORWARD: Empowering airports to retain Climate Action among key priorities

25 June 2020

We write this newsletter at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on almost all parts and aspects of human activity. The health crisis has spilled into all corners of the world, leaving no industry unaffected, but hitting aviation with particular ferocity. Across the globe we have seen thousands of airplanes grounded, arranged in neat rows on unused tarmacs, tens of thousands of employees on furlough or laid off, forced to seek alternative paths to sustain their livelihoods and millions of passengers having to cancel their plans and confine themselves to their homes. 
Yet as the world came to a standstill, airports continued to serve their communities, operating repatriation and extraordinary missions, facilitating essential cargo and medical equipment deliveries, whilst operating in difficult conditions of financial strain, and a reduced workforce faced with heightened personal safety risks and employment uncertainty. We cannot say it enough – we are in awe of our airport colleagues the world over facing these challenges with grit and positivity.
While there are differences in the gravity of the present situation across ACI regions in line with the ebbs and flows of this pandemic’s evolution, one thing is shared by all airports regardless of their location. The unprecedented extent of this health crisis and the ripples it creates across our economy triggers a dent in revenues that will be hard to patch up. In our sector, most indicators point towards a sluggish rate of recovery, marking 2023-2024 as the likely date when air connectivity will have come back to its pre-COVID span. Against this backdrop is the continued drive towards decarbonisation, which requires liquidity to invest in sustainable solutions. 
Even though in many parts of the world the crisis triggered a hiatus in what otherwise would be an exponential growth in emissions, experts have warned repeatedly that the pandemic could accelerate emission rise in the period immediately after. It is a worrying trend, one that we at Airport Carbon Accreditation would like to address early on, at least within our scope of action. 
As with every crisis, there is a hidden opportunity in the current pandemic as well. It seems that many sectors have been pushed to a complete reboot of their modus operandi and now need to start from scratch. While we grieve the losses it incurred, we also want to look on the bright side and echo our colleagues at Heathrow Airport - let’s “build back better”.
These deliberations have brought us to a set of targeted decisions aimed at empowering airports to continue what they started more than a decade ago. As a result, a set of temporary changes to the rules of Airport Carbon Accreditation introduced with immediate effect will guide the growing community of climate- smart airports through the present storm, whilst keeping their carbon management frameworks firmly in place. Once the dust has settled, our goal is that these adjustments will support a smoother transition to a “new normal”, in which airport climate action will play an even greater role. 
With much in store for the coming months, we look forward to enabling airports’ individual journeys towards more sustainable operations and working towards the collective goal of carbon-free air travel. This crisis has taught us that we’re capable of the extraordinary in extremis. Together, we can look forward to continuity of action against the ongoing Climate Crisis when the immediate threat of the coronavirus has subsided. 

MILESTONE ALERT: More than 300 climate smart airports connect the world!

25 June 2020

As with many other plans, our arrangements to celebrate the 300 accredited airports milestone have been put on hold in the wake of the pandemic. Nevertheless the idea to somehow mark this great achievement and individually thank every airport that is part of this collective effort has never really left us! 
Even more so as the number of airports in the programme continued to grow throughout the toughest months of lockdown and virtual freeze of air transport worldwide, reaching the current figure of 311 participants. The momentum for airport climate action didn’t grind into a halt, but continued its march against all odds. 
We would like to say it now: THANK YOU to all who work tirelessly to bring carbon-free airports closer to realisation! 
A special shoutout to the newcomers who have joined the programme since the beginning of 2020:   
Bram Fischer International Airport L1  (AFRICA)
Chania Airport "Ioannis Daskalogiannis" L1  (EUROPE)
Edinburgh Airport L1 (EUROPE)
George Best Belfast City Airport L2  (EUROPE)
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport L1  (ASIA-PACIFIC)
Hawkes Bay Airport L1  (ASIA-PACIFIC)
Kaohsiung International Airport, Taiwan L3  (ASIA-PACIFIC)
Leeds Bradford Airport L1  (EUROPE)
Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos L1  (AFRICA)
Palermo Airport L1  (EUROPE)
Querétaro Intercontinental Airport L1  (LAC)
Samos Airport "Aristarchos of Samos" L1  (EUROPE)
Southampton Airport L2  (EUROPE)
Zadar International Airport L1  (EUROPE)
Zvartnots International Airport L1  (EUROPE) 
We look forward to continuing working with you on the accomplishment of your carbon goals! 


25 June 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.

Six AERODOM airports earn upgrade to level 2 'Reduction'

23 June 2020

Congratulations to the teams working hard to rein in CO2 emissions at the six AERODOM airports in the Dominican Republic, forming part of the VINCI Airports network!
Thanks to their efforts, emissions per passenger fell by 20%, equivalent to 1,500 metric tons per year! This excellent result of many CO2-reducing initiatives implemented at the airports has earned the group an upgrade to level 2 'Reduction' of Airport Carbon Accreditation.
Keep up the great work!