We are the last generation who can act on climate change
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    • Better insulation and energy efficiency, switching to green energy resources, investing in hybrid, electric or renewable gas-powered ground handling vehicles, and working with airlines and air traffic management to reduce runway taxiing times and implement green landing processes – just some examples of how airports can help in the journey to net zero.
    • The Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Programme provides a carbon management certification standard for airports. There are approximately 400 airports accredited globally, with more than 130 airports having a net-zero target by 2030.
    • Several airports worldwide make use of renewable sources to produce clean energy for powering the terminal building and even contribute to the wider grid. Generating and storing their own clean energy make airports more self-sufficient. This energy is used for heating and lighting buildings, airside lighting, charging electric vehicles and aircraft batteries, waste recycling and baggage handling.
    • With a growing focus on the environmental impact of aviation, architects are designing a new generation of airports focused on sustainability.
(Sources: Airports Council International (ACI); Airport Carbon Accreditation)
air control
    • Emissions reductions of 18 MtCO2 could be achieved by 2050 through improvements in air traffic management (ATM) and aircraft operations.
    • Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) can help to increase flight and system efficiency through direct routings, continuous descent and climb, reductions, and elimination of holding procedures, more efficient taxiing and optimizing enroute altitudes and speeds.
    • In June 2022, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) launched an environmental accreditation initiative – the CANSO GreenATM Program. Assessment will include how ANSPs facilitate minimising excess emissions in their airspace.

    • In Europe, the Single European Sky (SES) is an initiative to improve the way Europe’s airspace is managed in a safe and sustainable way. Linked to this, the European ATM Master Plan includes an aspirational goal to reduce average CO2 emission per flight by 5-10% (0.8-1.6 tonnes) by 2035 through enhanced cooperation, compared to 2017.
(Sources: Destination 2050; 2022 European Aviation Environmental Report – EASA)


  • In addition to the improvements in fuel efficiency that come from new generation aircraft and fleet replacement, improvements can also be made to existing aircraft and an airline’s current fleet.

  • Winglets are vertical extensions of wingtips that improve an aircraft’s fuel efficiency and cruising range and can be retrofitted to existing aircraft; since 2000 over 9,000 aircraft have been retrofitted, saving over 100 million tonnes of CO2.

  • Airlines are implementing other ways to reduce emissions from their current fleet through identifying weight savings and allowing the aircraft to burn less fuel. This includes investing in lightweight seats and cabin equipment and even replacing heavy pilot manuals.
(Source: Waypoint 2050)
fuel tankering


  • Fuel tankering is a practice whereby an aircraft carries more fuel than required for its safe operation. This is to reduce or avoid refuelling at the destination airport for its subsequent flight(s).

  • Tankering is done either for operational reasons (e.g., technical failure or fuel contamination), or for economic reasons, i.e., to save fuel costs and associated service costs at a particular airport.
  • The ‘ReFuelEU Aviation’ initiative, part of the European Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ package, proposes to address tankering by requiring aircraft operators to uplift fuel from EU airports for flights within and from the EU. At least 90% of the fuel an aircraft operator needs for flights from a particular EU airport each year must be uplifted from that airport. Aircraft operators would have to report the amount of fuel supplied at each EU airport to EASA.
(Source: 2022 European Aviation Environmental Report – EASA; EC ReFuelEU Aviation proposal)
airplane taxiing


    • There are a range of solutions available that minimise the use of jet engines during aircraft taxiing that can cut both CO2 and NOx emissions, e.g., an electric motor fitted to landing gears which guide the aircraft from the terminal gate or a remotely steered tug that tows the aircraft to the runway.
    • In 2020, Schiphol airport initiated a trial under SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) on sustainable taxiing using a ‘Taxibot’ – the trial confirmed a 50% fuel/CO2 emissions saving compared to standard taxi procedures, and also helped to reduce NOx emissions and noise.

    • Various operational, infrastructure and technical challenges need to be addressed, but the use of fully electric sustainable taxiing is expected to become the standard procedure by 2030.
(Sources: AIRBUS; 2022 European Aviation Environmental Report – EASA)


    • Direct Air Capture or ‘DAC’ is an emerging technology that captures CO2 directly from the air. The captured CO2 could be stored underground or re-used, for example as a feedstock for new fuels (e-fuels). DAC differs from other carbon capture methods, because it captures CO2 from the ambient air, rather than at source
    • Although being a nascent technology which currently has limited capacity, there are a number of demonstration facilities operating that claim to reduce CO2 by 90% from the CO2 captured in the machine.

    • As it removes CO2 from the atmosphere, it could be used to offset emissions from air travel. Should it work at scale and be able to be deployed across the world, it could be an important part of the global effort to tackle climate change and an important role to play in aviation’s net zero goal.
(Source: Waypoint 2050)


  • An APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) is the power unit contained on an aircraft which can provide electrical and pneumatic (air) power. APUs are normally installed in the tail of an aircraft and operate on a similar principal to a jet engine.

  • A GPU (Ground Power Unit) is a generator that is connected to an aircraft when it arrives at the gate and supplies electrical power to the aircraft and can either be a fixed unit (FEGP) or mobile source (e-GPU). Pre-conditioned air (PCA) can also be supplied in this way.

  • Using a GPU and PCA powered by local electrical grids or solar power enables airlines to turn on auxiliary power units nearer to the departure time, thereby reducing CO2 emissions and aircraft noise.
(Source: Waypoint 2050)
SAF plane


  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel or ‘SAF’ is a non-conventional safe alternative to fossil-based jet fuel produced from sustainable biological feedstocks such as waste oils, or from synthetic feedstocks. Synthetic SAF includes Renewable liquid transport Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBO), Electrofuels, e-Fuels and Power-to-Liquids (PtL).
  • To be classed as ‘sustainable’ SAF must meet sustainability criteria such as lifecycle carbon emissions reductions and be certified by Sustainability Certification Schemes under for example, the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) and at a global level CORSIA.
  • SAF is certified like any other jet fuel before it can be used and can be safely mixed with conventional jet fuel (currently up to 50%) and incorporated into existing aircraft and airport fuelling systems – as such they are known as ‘drop-in fuels’. Tests into the use of 100% SAF are currently being carried out.
  • ‘ReFuelEU Aviation’ is part of the European Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ climate package. Aimed at boosting the supply and demand for sustainable aviation fuels in the EU, it includes a proposal for a mandate on fuel suppliers to include SAF in aviation fuel supplied at EU airports.
(Source: Destination 2050; EC ReFuelEU Aviation proposal)
h plane
  • Hydrogen can be used in conjunction with fuel cells to produce electricity to power electric motors, or through combustion in a gas turbine engine, to provide mechanical energy – the reduction in climate impact in flight is estimated at 75 to 90 percent, and 50 to 75 percent respectively.

  • The Airbus ZEROe initiative is aiming to develop a hybrid-hydrogen zero CO2 emission commercial aircraft that will enter service by 2035. Other hydrogen powered prototypes are being developed, such as APUS i-2, H2FLY’s HY4 and ZeroAvia’s retrofitted Piper M-class.

  • Hydrogen powered aircraft will require new tank and distribution systems and new fuelling infrastructure. There are other technical challenges too, including that in liquid form, hydrogen needs to be stored at -253⁰C.
(Sources: Destination 2050; 2022 European Aviation Environmental Report – EASA)
    • The Pipistrel Velis Electro was the first ever fully electric general aviation aircraft – its battery-based energy storage system coupled with an electro-motor for propulsion allow it zero emissions flying time of about 55 minutes. Production is expected to increase to 12 aircraft per year in 2022.
    • Electric aircraft require onboard batteries that will need to be recharged on the ground with a new charging infrastructure, whilst hybrid-electric use smaller quantities of kerosene to generate electricity onboard which is stored in batteries to drive electric engines – these may need to be charged on the ground.

    • Projects on both electric and hybrid-electric aircraft are being undertaken, but there are technical challenges linked to battery technology to overcome to expand their operational use.
(Source: 2022 European Aviation Environmental Report – EASA)
h supply


    • Unlike SAF, which can be blended with conventional fossil-based jet fuel and dropped into existing fuelling infrastructure, airports will need time to prepare for novel hydrogen aircraft and their associated fuelling infrastructure.
    • The physical properties of hydrogen make it at least as safe as normal Jet A-1 fuel, but with different safety risks and challenges that will require specialised procedures to handle the fuel safely.

    • The Airbus “Hydrogen Hub at Airports’’ concept aims to gain a better understanding of what hydrogen infrastructure will be needed for future aircraft and to develop an approach to decarbonise all airport associated infrastructure – bringing relevant key stakeholders together will be key.
(Source: 2022 European Aviation Environmental Report – EASA)
h bus


    • De-carbonising airport ground operations is an important aspect in the journey to net-zero – using hydrogen in ground support vehicles is one way in which in which CO2 emissions can be reduced.
    • A number of airports globally are looking to use hydrogen as a way of fuelling ground support vehicles including buses, tow tugs, baggage tugs and refuelling vehicles.
    • In March 2022 a hydrogen shuttle bus service was introduced at Kansai International, Japan. Other initiatives to develop the use of hydrogen within airports include those at Seoul International Airport, Edmonton International Airport, Teesside International Airport and Toulouse-Blagnac Airport – these are just examples of what’s happening.

    • The Airbus “Hydrogen Hub at Airports’’ concept aims to gain a better understanding of what hydrogen infrastructure will be needed for future aircraft and to develop an approach to decarbonise all airport associated infrastructure – bringing relevant key stakeholders together will be key.
(Source: 2022 European Aviation Environmental Report – EASA)
electric bus


    • De-carbonising airport ground operations is an important aspect in the journey to net-zero, and this includes investing in hybrid, electric or renewable gas-powered service vehicles, including buses, tow tugs/pushback vehicles, baggage tugs and refuelling vehicles.
    • Electric ground support vehicles are in use or being trialled at many airports across the world.

    • In 2020 eight electric buses went into operation at Avinor Oslo Airport, 40% of the vehicle fleet at Swedavia airports run on green electricity and initiatives are in use or planned at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, Adelaide Airport, and Indianapolis International Airport – these are just examples of what’s happening.
electric refueling


  • De-carbonising airport ground operations is an important aspect in the journey to net-zero, and this includes investing in hybrid, electric or renewable gas-powered service vehicles.

  • From the airport storage tanks, fuel is distributed to aircraft via a refuelling truck or via an underground hydrant system.

  • With the move to net zero, and the need to reduce carbon emissions from airport ground operations, electric refuelling trucks are now operating in Europe, North America, and Australia.


  • An offset represents the reduction, removal, or avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions, measured in tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e). It is generally done through the purchase and cancellation of emissions units generated from a specific project or programme, such as electricity generation, industrial processes, and forestry.

  • Offsetting represents a key element of the ‘basket of measures’ needed by aviation to achieve net zero by 2050 alongside the use of technological improvements, operational improvements, and sustainable aviation fuels.

  • Several airlines are operating voluntary offsetting programs, each with different characteristics. There is a clear distinction between voluntary offsetting and mandatory offsetting given the implementation of ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

  • Under CORSIA, aeroplane operators with an offsetting obligation will be required to offset their emissions by cancelling CORSIA Eligible Offsets. Offsetting will only be required when the sectoral growth factor is positive; for the period 2021-2023 this will only happen if emissions from flights between participating States are above the 2019 baseline emissions.