Along with the long-term aspirational goals of net-zero targets, the aviation industry made the most of the lull during the pandemic to focus on establishing interim emissions targets. Mostly, they are met with some doubts as to whether or not they are manageable, relying heavily on technologies that are not yet available at scale.
However, airports have a little bit of an easier time managing energy transitions than airlines that are dependent on fossil-based Jet A fuel for their operations. And the owners of German meg-hub Frankfurt Airport (FRA) believe that they can accelerate emissions reduction more than initially planned.
In its previous calculations, Frankfurt Airport’s owner Fraport was looking to lower carbon emissions at FRA to 75,000 tonnes by 2030. In its re-evaluated target announced on Wednesday, the aim is now for a maximum of just 50,000 tonnes of CO2 by the end of the decade “in areas that fall under Fraport’s direct control.”
Photo: travelview / Shutterstock
Fraport’s CEO, Dr. Stefan Schulte, commented on the new target,
“Aviation needs to make a significant contribution towards protecting our planet’s climate. And we need to act faster than in years gone by. That’s our responsibility. For this reason, we’ve once again revised our masterplan for climate action, intensifying our measures wherever possible.”
Switching to renewables
The most important component of the work to lower emissions at FRA will involve energy transition. From 2026 onward, the electricity mix used at the airport will largely consist of renewable sources. About 85% will be provided by wind energy from the North Sea, courtesy of an agreement with German energy company EnBW.
A park of solar cell panels will provide another “significant proportion.” In June 2022, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Airport, of which Fraport owns 10%, transitioned to running on fully renewable energy from solar and hydropower.
Furthermore, the airport operator will roll out smart, needs-driven technology for air conditioning and lighting across building infrastructure. In late 2021, Hong Kong Airport became the first globally to install AI predictive algorithms to control air conditioning. The system utilizes machine learning and real-time data of passenger flows to keep the temperature in Terminal 1 between 24 and 25.5 degrees Celsius and will reduce CO2 emissions by about 1,900 tonnes per year.
Localized approaches to cut emissions across subsidiaries
Fraport does not only run Frankfurt Airport. In fact, the company owns airports or shares in airports in many different locations in the world, including the Americas and Asia. The operator’s target of going carbon-free by 2045 also applies to will also apply to its companies and subsidiaries in Lima (Peru), Burgas and Varna (Bulgaria), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Fortaleza and Porto Alegre (Brazil), as well as to the Group’s 14 airports in Greece. And by 2030, the company says it will cut carbon emissions at its global subsidiaries to 95,000 tonnes.
Schulte commented on the need for localized approaches in different parts of the world,
“We see climate change as a central challenge for our international business. We need ideas and approaches that are tailored to each location while taking their natural environment into account.”
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Stefan Schulte
- Passenger Count :
- 24,814,921 (2020)
- Runways :
- 07L/25R 2,800m (9,240ft) |07C/25C 4,000m (13,123ft) |07R/25L 4,000m (13,123ft) |18 4,000m (13,123ft)
- Lufthansa First Class Terminal |Terminal 1 |Terminal 2 |Terminal 3 (Under Construction)