Net zero CO2 goal accelerated to 2030 by almost 50% of ACI Europe airports

By Faye Bartle |

Airplane against a colorful sky at sunset.

European airports accounting for 23.8% of European air traffic are set to meet ACI’s Europe Net Zero 2050 Resolution by 2030 or earlier.

Europe’s airport industry is progressing towards achieving net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050, with nearly 50% of airports committed to the goal now having a target date of 2030 or earlier.

A total of 128 European airports run by 23 operators are set to meet the pledge ahead of Airports Council International (ACI) Europe’s 2050 milestone.

Combined, these airports account for 23.8% of European air traffic.

Ten Swedish airports, including Stockholm Arlanda, already reached net zero CO2 emissions last year (28 March 2021).

These will shortly be joined by Toulon Hyères in 2024, Athens International Airport and the 20 Finavia airports in 2025, and by Lyon in 2026.

In total, over 270 association members have signed up to ACI’s Europe Net Zero 2050 Resolution, which formally commits the European airport industry to become net zero for carbon emissions under its control by 2050 at the latest.

This is in response to the climate emergency and aligning the industry with the Paris Agreement international treaty on climate change.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI Europe

Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI Europe.

“Since the Resolution was first made in June 2019, both committing the airport industry as a whole and over 200 airports individually, the number of our members signing up as individual businesses has increased by more than 60, now numbering over 270,” said ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec, in an address at the association’s 32nd Annual Congress and General Assembly in Rome, which is taking place from 22-24 June 2022.

“Let’s not forget this is a time period during which we were in the grip of a global pandemic. This speaks for itself.

“Moreover, the Resolution is endorsed by our National Association Members, confirming the breadth and depth of these commitments across Europe”.

Airports in the ACI Europe network committed to the 2030 target are as follows: Aeroporti di Roma (Rome Fiumicino and Rome Ciampino); Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur (three airports including Nice); ANA Portuguese airports (10 airports including Lisbon); AVINOR (44 airports in Norway including Oslo); 10 regional French airports operated by VINCI Airports (including Clermont Ferrand, Grenoble and Nantes); Basel Mulhouse; Belfast; Belgrade; Bologna; Bristol; Copenhagen and Roskilde; Enonteki; Keflavik; Leeds Bradford; London City; London Gatwick; Lithuanian Airports (three airports including Vilnius); Luxembourg; Memmingen; Marseille Provence; Royal Schiphol Group (four airports including Amsterdam Airport Schiphol); SAVE S.p.A. (Venezia Airport); SEA Milano airports (Milano-Malpensa and Milano Linate); and Tallinn Airport.

Furthermore, the number of airports making their plans to achieve net zero targets public has risen from 119 to 146 in the space of nine months, following the launch of ACI Europe’s Public Repository of Airport Net Zero Roadmaps.

ACI Europe published further guidance in support of the Net Zero 2050 Resolution on 23 June 2022 that aims to provide airports with practical solutions to reduce Scope 3 emissions, with a focus on aircraft emissions.

“This is a significant step-change,” said Jankovec.

“To date, our emphasis has been very much upon those activities within the control of an airport – which whilst a hugely important part of the aviation eco-system, is not the major contributor to global emissions from aviation.

“With this Scope 3 Guidance, we are harnessing the position of an airport as the place where all the services and actions come together and acting as a true catalyst for change”.

ACI Europe has also announced that eight airports have met all the stringent requirements to become accredited at the highest level (Level 4+ Trans) of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme for carbon management at airports.

According to ACI Europe this is ‘perhaps the fullest picture of all of airports’ commitment to decarbonisation’.

The eight airports are: London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol, Eindhoven, Helsinki and four Lapland Airports (Rovaniemi, Kittilä, Kuusamo and Ivalo).

A number of other European airports are also rising through the decarbonisation ranks, either by becoming accredited for the first time or by making upgrades.

Another development comes in the form of a Memorandum of Cooperation between ACI Europe and Airbus that aims to accelerate the development of hydrogen-powered and hybrid-electric aircraft, prepare associated supporting airport infrastructure and bring these into the market.

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