Three major European airports achieve accreditation under industry-wide carbon reduction programme
Munich Airport's Terminal 2
Wed 9 Mar 2011 – Munich, Budapest and Gatwick airports are the latest to become certified under the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme set up by industry body ACI Europe and backed by the European Commission. Over 40 airports in 18 European countries have now become independently verified and accredited by the programme since its launch in 2009, representing over 43 per cent of European air passenger traffic. The carbon management and reduction programme has four progressive levels of accreditation: Mapping, Reduction, Optimisation and Neutrality. Budapest Airport has been accredited at the initial Mapping level, with Gatwick at the second Reduction level and Munich achieving certification at the third Optimisation level.
Munich is the first German airport to be accredited at the Optimisation level, which recognises it has demonstrated effective and sustainable efforts to avoid CO2 emissions. Standards set by the European Union require airports to continually monitor and document their emissions. Munich Airport’s operating company FMG said it had developed efficiency measures in cooperation with airlines and other companies working at the airport and had carried out a comprehensive and verified mapping of the airport’s carbon footprint as part of the accreditation process.
The airport claimed the decisive factor for the success of its accreditation application was due to a reduction of 17,000 tonnes of CO2 compared to the average level of the preceding three years. Certification is valid for one year and the airport must continue with its carbon reduction programme and document its performance with further lower emission levels for subsequent certification.
Airport-wide cooperation efforts in saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions at Munich include Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM), which involves the airport operating company, airlines, air traffic control and other partners. In the process, a systematic exchange of information and quick decision-making are helping to shorten taxiing and waiting times for aircraft.
The airport says it is also taking action to address climate protection in its expansion plans, with the design of the new satellite terminal to expand the capacity of Terminal 2 in accordance with sustainable construction principles. The new building is expected to have 40% lower CO2 emissions per unit of floor space than the two existing terminals, which is been made possible by an innovative ventilation system and a special facade design using insulated glass on the outside walls facing the apron areas.
Behind this facade, in the interior of the building, is the area where the levels are linked by escalators. This area will be separated from the actual terminal spaces by an additional glass wall. The resulting insulated space will act as a ‘climate buffer’ for the satellite facility, in which a special material will be used to convert the heat entering the building in the daytime into air conditioning for the interior.
In 2009, FMG set a strategic goal of achieving carbon neutrality in its future growth by 2020 for measures and activities within its direct sphere of influence.
Budapest Airport’s accreditation recognises its achievement in mapping the CO2 emissions under its direct control, along with a commitment to better carbon management in the future.
“We now all know that the less CO2 emissions we make, the nearer we are to a sustainable economic and social model of development,” commented the airport’s CEO Jost Lammers. “We want to reach our long-term goal of carbon-neutral operations for our airport.”
Presenting the certificate to the airport, the European Commision Vice-President in charge of transport, Siim Kallas, also noted the recent accreditation of Chisinau Airport and the renewal of Dubrovnik Airport. “I believe that Airport Carbon Accreditation is playing a crucial role in helping move European aviation onto a more sustainable footing.”
Gatwick, the second largest airport in the UK and the busiest point-to-point airport in Europe, has achieved its Reduction level certification as a result of mapping all of the CO2 emissions sources under its direct control and has succeeded in reducing them on a rolling three-year average.
“Our target is to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% over the next 10 years,” said Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate. “Achieving Airport Carbon Accreditation signals an important milestone for us. We are already well on our way to achieving the next level of accreditation as we look to reduce our carbon emissions year-on-year.”
Now under new owners Global Infrastructure Partners, Gatwick launched its ‘Decade of Change’ sustainability strategy last year for developing the airport in a sustainable way over the next 10 years. As part of this strategy, Gatwick became the largest UK airport to achieve the UK’s Carbon Trust Standard and certification to ISO 14001, the international environmental standard.
Gatwick is working on a number of projects to reduce carbon, such as installing electric vehicle charge points not only for vehicles on the airfield but also in public car parks. A designated carbon management zone is also being identified for vehicles operating on the airfield that can incentivise business partners to use cleaner vehicles.
Last month, Portugual’s airport operator ANA brought its network of seven airports into the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, all at Mapping level.
The accreditation programme is administered by consultancy WSP Environment & Energy and overseen by an independent advisory board that includes representatives of the European Commission, ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference), Eurocontrol and UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme).
Budapest Airport receives its accreditation certificate: (left to right) Pál Völner, Hungarian State Secretary for Transport, Ministry of National Development; Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice President in charge of Transport; Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport; and Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE