Industry carbon reduction programme now extends to over 150 airports worldwide
Turkey's Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport has recently achieved carbon neutral status
Wed 1 June 2016 – During the COP21 climate summit in Paris last December, airport industry organisations ACI World and ACI Europe signed an MoU with the UNFCCC to promote the UN climate agency’s Climate Neutral Now project and jointly encourage airports to reach the highest levels of the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme. Nearly six months on, ACI has released an update on progress that shows ACA status has now been earned by 157 airports across the world, which collectively handle 33% of global passenger traffic. Of these, 21 airports have now achieved the highest Level 3+ representing carbon neutrality, with Turkey’s Izmir Adnan Menderes the latest to join the ranks. Originally developed and launched by ACI Europe exactly seven years ago, the ACA was extended to airports in Asia-Pacific in 2011 in partnership with ACI Asia-Pacific and has since been rolled out in all other ACI regions.
“An impressive two billion air passengers now travel through airports certified at one of the four levels of the programme,” said Angela Gittens, ACI World’s Director General. “With over 100 airports now engaged in ACA, Europe is in the lead on carbon management, but other parts of the world are ramping up their efforts as can be seen from the strong momentum in Asia-Pacific and North America, and growing interest in the Latin America/Caribbean and Africa regions. The programme is clearly empowering airports across the world to address their impact on climate change.”
The European airport industry committed during COP21 to increasing the number of carbon neutral airports from 20 to 50 by 2030. “Most promisingly, we are seeing a lot of airports moving up the levels of the programme as they strive to get closer and closer to carbon neutrality,” reported Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe. “There are now 20 European airports at Level 3 Optimisation – the level just before carbon neutral status – and they welcome over 29% of European air passengers.”
Since Paris, the 10 French airports in the Vinci Airports group and La Rochelle, Riga, Sofia, Keflavik and Vilnius airports have all joined ACA at the lower levels. With its additional airports in Portugal and Cambodia, in December 2015 Vinci became the world’s first international airport group to have all of its airports certified at one of the levels.
Growth in accreditation has also been impressive in the Asia-Pacific region with 31 airports now certified. “Since ACA was extended to the region five years ago, we have embarked on the journey towards carbon neutrality with our members,” said ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Director Patti Chau. “I encourage more members to become accredited and demonstrate our airports’ dedication to sustainable growth.”
Following the programme’s launch in North America less than two years ago, 13 airports have become certified, including Dallas Forth Worth and San Francisco at Level 3 Optimisation and Denver and Toronto-Pearson at Level 2 Reduction.
“With so many airports in our region applying to the programme in the past 18 months, it’s clear that the North American airport industry is taking significant steps to becoming leaders in environmental stewardship. We look forward to more airports joining the programme in the year ahead,” said Kevin Burke, President of ACI North America.
Understandably, growth in programme membership has been slower in the Africa and Latin America & Caribbean regions with two airports entering in the former and four in the latter region.
The independently administered programme has the support of a number of international organisations, including ICAO, UNEP, Eurocontrol, the European Commission and now the UNFCCC.
Full results for Year 7 of the programme (covering June 2015 to May 2016), which will include details of the carbon reduction achieved, will be released at ACI Europe’s annual assembly in Athens from 20-22 June.
As an adjunct to the programme, ACI has recently released version 3.2 of the Airport Carbon and Emissions Reduction Tool, a free application for airports of all sizes to track their carbon emissions.