Sharjah ground handling company seeks to cut emissions through new energy efficiency initiative
(photo: Sharjah International Airport)
Wed 30 Jan 2013 – Sharjah Aviation Services, a ground handling company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced a ‘Go Green’ initiative that aims to significantly reduce carbon emissions from its activities. One of the goals is to completely replace the company’s fleet of 200 diesel and petrol powered ground vehicles at Sharjah with low emission equivalents by 2020, with more than 50 electric vehicles scheduled to be introduced in the next five years. The initiative has been launched in partnership with the company’s co-owners, Air Arabia, the Middle East’s first low-cost carrier, and the Sharjah Airport Authority. The project is expected to contribute to the airport’s wider efforts to minimise its environmental footprint.
“Airports across the globe are implementing numerous eco-friendly initiatives in the face of expected climate change,” said Tony Smith, General Manager at Sharjah Aviation Services. “More efficient ground handling services will bring greater efficiency for airlines and airports, which in turn translates to a safe and eco-friendly environment.”
As part of the initiative, the company hopes to improve the energy efficiency of its operations, and to increase use of renewables such as solar energy. In the first stages it is looking to purchase 10 million Emirati dirhams ($2.7m) worth of new ground vehicles between now and 2018, consisting of 35 electric baggage tractors and 20 electric belt loaders.
“The inclusion of electric and solar vehicles in our fleet will eliminate the need to burn a significant amount of fuel annually,” said Smith.
Sharjah Aviation Services currently handles more than 5 million passengers and 600,000 tonnes of freight annually through its operations at Sharjah.
Smith, who hopes the ‘Go Green’ initiative can be a cornerstone of the airport’s efforts to embrace environmental sustainability, added: “Through this programme, we are confident that over the next few years, Sharjah International Airport will be acclaimed as a model green airport.”
The airport has previously taken steps to reduce its environmental impacts. In 2006, it gained EN ISO 14001:2004 certification in 2006 for its environmental management procedures across a number of activities, including ground handling services.