London Luton awarded Airport Carbon Accreditation

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London Luton Airport (LLA) has been awarded Level 3 of the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) scheme – the global carbon management framework for airports, which is managed by Airport Council International (ACI).

Having joined the ACA at the end of 2019, the airport has progressed to Level 3 in just 18 months, following its collaboration with key stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce emissions at the airport.

Overall, the airport has reduced direct carbon emissions by more than 30%, despite a 23% increase in passenger numbers between 2016 and 2019. It has achieved this reduction through various activities including: switching to a 100% renewable electricity supply, which includes sources such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power; upgrades to air handling units to increase efficiency; reducing the number of lights across the site and switching to more efficient LED equivalents; and installing a new heating system, which has resulted in 16% reduction in gas consumption.

While the Level 3 carbon accreditation is a major milestone, Alberto Martin, CEO at LLA acknowledges there is still work to be done. ” We remain committed to reducing our carbon emissions across both our operations and the site itself,” he said.

The airport is determined to achieve carbon neutrality for its own operations by no later than 2026 and is currently developing a carbon reduction strategy to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.

Rolls-Royce lays claim to world’s fastest all-electric aircraft

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With the pressure on aircraft and engine manufacturers to develop the electric aircraft of the future, Rolls-Royce has inched that bit closer to a podium finish with its ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft, which it believes is the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, having clocked up a maximum speed of 623 kh/h (387.4 (mph).

The aircraft has submitted data to the Fédération Aéronautique International (FAI) – the World Air Sports Federation, which controls and certifies world aeronautical and astronautical records – for three world records.

On 16 November, 2021, the aircraft reached a top spped of 555.9km/h (345.4mph) over 3km, smashing the existing record by 213.04km/h (132 mph). Further runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site, the aircraft achieved 532.1km/h (330mph) over 15km – 292.8km/h (182mph) faster than the previous record – and broke the fastest time to climb to 3,000m by 60 seconds with a time of 202 seconds.

“Staking the claim for the all-electric world-speed record is a fantastic achievement for the Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (ACCEL) team and Rolls-Royce,” said Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce.”The advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) market. Following the world’s focus on the need for action at COP26, this is another milestone that will help make ‘jet zero’ a reality and supports our amibtions to deliver the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng added that the UK Government is “proud to back projects like this to leverage the private investment necessary to unlock cleaner, greener aircraft.”

Propelled on its record breaking runs by a 400kW electric powertrain, the aircraft offers the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace. The world record runs also provided important data for future electric power and propulsion systems for all-electric urban air mobility and hybrid-electric commuter aircraft. The characteristics that ‘air taxis’ require from batteries, for instance, are very similar to what was developed for the ‘Spirit of Innovation.’


Luis Felipe de Oliveira

Airports to benefit from ACI World’s Sustainability Strategy

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Airports Council International (ACI) World has unveiled a report to assist airport executives with their holistic sustainability strategy.

Building on ACI’s European report, the ACI World Sustainability Strategy for Airports Worldwide provides an overview of how sustainable aviation can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It also offers an overview of the most relevant and commonly reported material sustainability topics. Topics covered include service quality, infrastructure development and safe and efficient operations.

Case studies within the report showcase best practices on how airports are implementing social, environmental, and economic sustainability initiatives and embedding them in their overall business strategy and operations.

“While sustainability is a hot topic influenced by local issues global issues such as climate change and global trends related to Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting have also emerged,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. “The finance community is calling for more uniformity and harmonisation on the ways stakeholders report on sustainability, including the material topics they choose to report on. Greater consistency in this regard would facilitate secure decision-making by reducing risks related to sustainability credit ratings and the allocation of finance and investment which require sustainability criteria.”

Adding that airports must be ready for the implementation of local initiatives which can be translated into common sustainability topics and objectives at an international level, Oliveira added: “We believe ACI’s Sustainability Strategy will help airports in this regard.”

While guidance in the report was made possible with the financial support of Hamad International Airport in Qatar, it was developed in collaboration with Tailor Airey and Vancouver International Airport in Canada.

AGS Airports joins Scottish consortium to develop wind technology

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A consortium involving AGS Airports (which encompasses Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports in the UK), Katrick Technologies and the University of Strathclyde, has been formed to support the design and development of renewable technology. The aim is to produce carbon-neutral energy from previously unharnessed power and enable a faster transition to clean power by exploiting low-level wind energy.

AGS has long been committed to carbon reduction. In 2020 the airports group achieved carbon neutrality status, while earlier this year it launched its Sustainability Strategy, which outlined its commitment to achieving net-zero by the mid-2030s.

The consortium’s mission to deploy renewable technology will involve the installation of Katrick Technologies’ dual-purpose wind panel and sound barrier, which can produce carbon-neutral energy from ground and low-level wind. Meanwhile the University of Strathclyde’s climate-neutral districts vision, will see renewable technologies used across its central Scotland facilities. The team is already helping to deliver the university’s first carbon-neutral building.

Core to the consortium is Katrick Technologies’ dual-purpose wind panel and sound barrier, which can produce carbon-neutral energy from ground and low-level wind. The energy-harvesting wind panels have been designed to tackle the decarbonisation challenges common to both airports and highways – unlike traditional wind turbines they can capture wind power, without needing significant height or scale. These wind acquisition systems will be installed at Glasgow Airport, as well as on the University of Strathclyde estate.

“Partnering with technology experts and embracing innovation is essential for AGS to meet its decarbonisation goals,” explained Derek Provan, CEO of AGS Airports. “Renewable technologies have the potential to power vast amounts of on-site equipment, offset energy costs and reduce the requirement for carbon-based energy supply. In addition to supporting our transition to net zero, these wind panels also have the potential to help us manage the impact of airport-related noise which we know is an important issue for the communities we serve. Managing this is an integral part of how we grow our airports responsibly and these panels could also act as noise barriers on our airfields.”

Electric islander aircraft one flight closer for Isles of Scilly

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The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group (ISSG) – which operates local airline Skybus – has signed a letter of intent with UK aircraft manufacturer Britten-Norman and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) to bring hydrogen-powered flight to the Scilly Islands off the west coast of Cornwall.

Using Britten-Norman’s expertise as the original equipment manufacturer for one of the world’s most successful low-cost, short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft, CAES is leading the collaboration under Project Fresson. As part of the project ISSG sold one of its aircraft to CAeS to be retrofitted with hydrogen fuel cell technology.

“It is incredibly important for the future of our planet that we deliver emission-free aircraft and I am delighted to see the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group’s commitment to this outcome. I would encourage contact from airlines of all sizes who would like to find out how these aircraft can be part of their future,” said Paul Hutton, CEO of CAeS.

The original concept for a zero-carbon aircraft led Britten-Norman and CAeS to consider battery power technology. However it soon became apparent that the impact of weight, charge time and charging infrastructure made a battery-only solution impractical.

By moving to a hydrogen-electric fuel cell option provides operators with greater flexibility, higher passenger load and improvements to the bottom line through a potential 50% reduction in powertrain maintenance cost and a 40-50% reduction in variable costs.

Green hydrogen can be produced locally using renewable energy. It can also be stored at an operating base with relative ease and without the need to provide complex charging networks.

What’s more, turnaround times between sectors are similar to those achieved with fossil fuels, providing greater resilience to operations.

ISSG’s Chief Executive, Stuart Reid, describe the partnership as an “exciting development.” He added that “the letter of intent for hydrogen aircraft really shows our commitment towards a zero-emission aviation industry and to becoming an early adopter of this cutting-edge technology.”

COP26: Airports underline tangible actions towards decarbonisation

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Reaffirming their global commitment to net-zero emissions the airport industry took centre stage at COP26’s Climate Action Hub on Wednesday 10 November.

ACI Europe Director General, Olivier Jankovec, underlined the tangible climate actions of airports globally in addressing their own carbon emissions while also supporting broader decarbonisation of the air transport sector.

He highlighted how the airport industry has long championed the sector’s need to chart a course to net zero, with a first ACI Europe carbon management resolution in Europe in 2008 followed by the launch of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme 12 years ago. Then, in 2019 Europe’s airports committed to a net-zero CO2 airport emissions goal by 2050 at the latest.

Earlier this year, the global Net Zero 2050 commitment further demonstrated the industry’s long-term carbon goal, which will be accompanied by concrete guidance and transparent reporting on progress.

In Europe, these tangible, transparent actions come together in the recently announced Repository of Roadmaps and accompanying guidance, and this will be soon be followed by a worldwide Airport Action Plans Initiative. These individual plans and guidance have the clearly stated aim of aiding all airports to set out on the path to net zero, with an increasing body of evidence-based success to reference. The results to date speak for themselves. Ninety four European airports are on track to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, including 10 airports that have already reached net-zero.

Derek Provan, CEO of AGS Airports, which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton Airports in the UK, used the COP26 platform to announce plans for a solar farm at Glasgow Airport. It will provide the airport with the capability to generate enough power for the entire airport campus and neighbouring businesses. This is equivalent to powering 20% of homes in the city of Glasgow, which equates to approximately 52,000 households.

Provan also pointed to new aircraft energy systems and to the example of Scottish carrier Loganair, part of a consortium taking forward plans to trial a zero carbon, hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered flying demonstrator by September 2022. If trials are successful, this could see the world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger flights take off in Orkney in late 2023. This, enthused Jankovec, highlights the importance of regional airports and short-haul flights as test-beds for radically new aircraft technologies. “It’s a policy we’ve long advocated for,” said Jankovec. It is also in line with the ambition set by the European aviation industry through Destination 2050, which sees all flights departing EU/ UK/ EFTA reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Aviation is a force for good,” pointed out Provan. “Through our sustainability strategy we have set out how AGS will balance the undoubted economic and social benefits of aviation with our climate change responsibilities.

“As a group, we are committed to building on our carbon neutrality status by achieving net zero by the mid-2030s and like the wider industry, we have set out a clear plan on how we will meet that goal. All of our electricity is already from 100% renewable sources, however, the creation of the solar farm at Glasgow Airport will allow us to become self-sustaining by generating enough power for both the airport and our neighbours.”

Showcasing some of the most innovative and ecologically robust airport initiatives, Jankovec highlighted Vancouver International Airport as having aspirations to be the greenest airport in the world. He also picked out Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport as being the first to reach the new Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 4+ in Asia-Pacific. It’s planned taxiway will save 55,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. Meanwhile he cited Aeroport de la Reunion as having groundbreaking architectural designs that override the need for air conditioning by harnessing wind power and Aeropuerto Ecologico de Galapagos as the world’s first ecological airport drawing 100% of its energy from renewable sources.

“COP26 represents a turning point, a now-or-never. Not for rhetoric and promises, but for actions,” said Jankovec. “These actions should be tangible, transparent, measurable and progressive. I am incredibly proud to stand here at COP and speak on behalf of an industry that faces some of the greatest challenges to decarbonise. Yet at the same time, it shows some of the greatest ambition. Because flying is not the enemy, carbon is. Air travel is part of our economic, cultural and human experience and it’s incumbent upon us all to ensure that is continued sustainably. The airport industry leads the way in transforming our sector into one which will be truly fit for purpose for future generations.”



Milan Malpensa to become green hydrogen hub

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SEA Milan and Snam – a leading energy infrastructure company – have teamed up in order to introduce green hydrogen to power ground vehicles at Milan Malpensa Airport.

The project will include a plant construction to supply the ground vehicles of Milan Malpensa Airport with green hydrogen, produced from renewable sources.

Designed by Snam, the infrastructure will involve the electrolyser installation together with a compressor, a storage system and a hydrogen delivery system. The aim is to make Milan Malpensa a green hydrogen supply hub for the airport’s internal logistics and for external transportation.

SEA Milan (which manages both Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate airports) is actively involved in many initiatives to reduce the overall emissions, such as the replacement of passenger shuttles and operating vehicles with new electric vehicles. The commitment to attract companies investing in next-generation fleets and the creation of a Hydrogen Valley, near Malpensa, for the use of hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2035 is another example of its efforts. Another important step is the recent agreement with Skyports, to create a platform for electric aircraft for the advancement of urban mobility.

Manchester Airport welcomes increased investment in electric GSE by Menzies

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Global aviation logistics specialist, Menzies Aviation, has expanded its contract with Aer Lingus at Manchester Airport. The agreement has also provided Menzies with an opportunity to increase the amount of electric ground service equipment (GSE) within its fleet as part of its wider goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2033 – Menzies’ 200th anniversary.

Menzies now has a significant amount of electric wide body kit within its Manchester fleet; paving the way to having the widest selection of electric GSE at Manchester Airport. Menzies’ contract with Aer Lingus at the UK’s gateway to the north will include providing passenger, ramp, cabin cleaning and de-icing services for both short and long-haul flights.

The aviation logistics specialist has partnered with the Irish carrier at the Manchester hub for more than a decade.

“We’re pleased to further strengthen our relationship with Aer Lingus and support their new transatlantic routes from Manchester Airport,” said Phil Lloyd, Senior Vice President – UK & Ireland, Menzies Aviation. “This win provided an opportunity to help us progress towards our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2033 as we acquired wide body GSE with electric capability. The switch to electric was made possible through close collaboration with Aer Lingus and Manchester Airports Group as we needed to quickly adapt the infrastructure on the ramp to charge the GSE. The team are proud to see their electric fleet at Manchester grow and are excited about supporting Aer Lingus as flight volumes continue to recover.”

Rolls-Royce marks a milestone with 100% SAF fuelled flight from Tucson

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Working alongside Boeing and World Energy, Rolls-Royce has marked a milestone in its lower carbon journey having carried out a successful test flight of its 747 Flying Testbed aircraft using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on a Trent 1000 engine.

The aircraft flew from Tucson Airport in Arizona on 19 October with a Trent 1000 engine running solely on 100% SAF. The remaining three RB211 engines ran on standard jet fuel and the flight lasted three hours and 45 minutes before landing back at the same airport having passed over New Mexico and Texas.

Aircraft are currently only certified to operate on a maximum of 50% SAF blended with conventional jet fuel and Rolls-Royce continues to support efforts to certificate non-blended SAF.

The need to increase SAF production was recently recognised by the US Biden administration with the launch of a SAF Grand Challenge to produce 3 billion gallons of the fuel a year by 2030. Th European Commission has also created a ReFuelEU Aviation proposal that would mandate the incorporation of SAF supplied at EU airports. This would increase to 63% by 2050.

“We believe in air travel as a force for cultural good, but we also recognise the need to take action to decarbonise our industry,” said Simon Burr, Rolls-Royce, Director Product Development and Technology – Civil Aerospace. “This flight is another example of our collaboration across the value chain to make sure all the aircraft technology solutions are in place to enable a smooth introduction of 100% SAF into our industry.”

The test flight was carried out in close collaboration with Boeing, which provided technical support and oversight on aircraft modifications and assurance the aircraft systems would operate as expected with 100% SAF. The low-carbon fuel for the flight was provided by World Energy, the world’s first and America’s only commercial-scale SAF production company.

“We’re grateful for the trailblazing work our partners are doing,” said Gene Gebolys, CEO, World Energy. “Rolls-Royce’s work to prove the viability of powering the jet engines they make with the 100% renewable SAF we make lays the groundwork for fossil fuel-free flight. This work is incredibly important, and we applaud and appreciate Rolls-Royce for working with us to do it.”

UK airports halve emissions in line with commitment to sustainable growth

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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.