To coincide with its annual conference held on Tuesday 19 October, the Airport Operators Association (AOA) has launched its Decarbonisation Report, which reveals that greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by up to 50.6% since 2010, while passenger numbers increased 41.7% over the same period (2010-2019).
The 18 airports that represented more than 95% of passengers emitted 514,331 tonnes of CO2e in 2010 from sources they controlled (known as scope 1 & 2 emissions), while welcoming 201.7m passengers through their doors.
In 2019, those same airports accounted for 249,824 tonnes of CO2e, 50.6% less than in 2010, while seeing 285.8m passengers travelling, an increase of 41.7%. This is based on the energy used at those airports (known as location-based emissions). If the renewable energy purchased by those airports i included (known as market-based emissions), then overall emissions fell by around 80%.
“Thanks to significant efforts, airports have achieved a major reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions they control since 2010 and this is testament to their commitment to sustainable aviation growth,” said Karen Dee, AOA’s Chief Executive.
She added: “Despite this record achievement, more needs to be done to reach net zero. Our Decarbonisation Report shows that airports that take responsibility seriously and are setting out pathways to further emission reductions.
“Emissions from airports is, of course, not the whole picture. Aircraft emissions account for the majority of the aviation sector’s greenhouse gases. here, too, airports are stepping up the plate.”
AOA’s Decarbonisation Roadmap outlines the measures airports are taking to work with airlines and other stakeholders including ground handlers to reduce emissions as well as to reduce their own energy use and invest in sustainable energy and heat generation, including solar farms on airport land.
Other actions airports are taking include: investing in zero-emission vehicles; improving the energy efficiency of equipment and buildings; scoping options to invest in using or generating renewable heat at airports; upgrading airspace to make the most of the capabilities of modern aircraft and reduce noise impacts and emissions; encouraging staff and passengers to use sustainable transport to the airport, including working with local, devolved and UK governments to invest in sustainable surface access; and working with airlines, universities and aerospace manufacturers to develop zero-emission aircraft and the necessary infrastructure for electric or hydrogen aircraft propulsion.
“As we come out of the pandemic, now is the time to consider how we build back better to achieve that net-zero future. At the AOA Annual Conference today, airport CEOs, Chairman of the Commitee on Climate Change Lord Deben, Ministers, Parliamentarians and investors will discuss what we need to do individually and together on this vital journey to a sustainable future,” concluded Dee.