Nearly 200 European Airports Agree to Zero Net Carbon Emissions

by | Jun 28, 2019

Nearly 200 European Airports Agree to Zero Net Carbon Emissions

(Photo: Stockholm Bromma Airport in Sweden. Credit: Helen Simonsson, Flickr Creative Commons)

Airports Council International Europe, a trade organization representing more than 500 European airports, passed a resolution in Cyprus this week committing the industry to becoming net zero for carbon emissions under its control by 2050 at the latest — with no offsets.

In addition, 194 airports run by 40 operators in two dozen European countries individually committed to the same goal, according to ACI Europe. These airports saw 62.5% of European air passenger traffic last year.

“Based on Europe’s airports current traffic volumes — 2.34 billion passengers welcomed in 2018 — and estimated carbon footprint, this net zero commitment will eliminate a total of 3.46 million tons of annual CO2 emissions as of 2050,” the organization says.

Two years ago, the industry committed to reaching 100 carbon-neutral airports by 2030. The new goal builds on that previous target. However, the new commitment only applies to an airport’s buildings, infrastructure, and vehicles, the Associated Press reported.

Michael Kerkloh, the outgoing president of ACI Europe and CEO of Munich Airport who is retiring this year, said that he’s confident many European airports will reach net zero before the deadline. He pointed out that three Swedish airports operated by Swedavia are already net zero: Luleå, Ronneby, and Visby.

“Crucially, with its NetZero2050 commitment, the airport industry is aligning itself with the Paris Agreement and the ambitions of the vast majority of EU countries,” Kerkloh said.

Swedavia announced in June 2018 that their operations at Visby Airport had become entirely free from fossil fuels, two years ahead of the 2020 deadline for all 10 of the operator’s airports.

“Intensive work to replace all vehicles that run on fossil fuel energy — everything from fire trucks to snow removal equipment — accounts for the reduction,” the operator said at the time. “Energy consumption has fallen steadily, and the airport’s energy is provided by green, or renewable, electricity. Swedavia also buys biofuel for its employees’ travel on official business, which means that this too is fossil-free.”

An International Air Transport Association (IATA) survey of air passengers released this month showed that 64% support the development of sustainable aviation fuels, and 62% support research and development of new technology and better operations to manage aviation’s climate effects.

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