Message from the Director General

Angela Gittens by Angela Gittens | May 1, 2019

May 2019

Dear Colleagues,

With global passenger traffic expected to double to 16.97 billion by 2034, it is more important than ever for airports and the aviation industry at large, to continue to work towards a cleaner, greener and more environmentally sustainable sector.

ACI and our members are fully committed to this mission, as recognized by the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Programme’s  growth year after year. As of date, ACA boasts 266 participating airports, reaching 44% of global traffic and 49 carbon neutral airports.

The programme, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, continues to gain popularity because it recognizes that airports can address their CO2 emissions in a variety of ways, from reducing aircraft taxi times, to implementing green landing procedures. The emphasis is on airports reducing their own energy requirements, and on working with airlines, air traffic management and stakeholders on and around the airport to reduce their emissions. Lastly, airports can use high quality carbon credits to offset their remaining emissions to become carbon neutral.

Further, ACI offers airports a free tool, the Airport Carbon Emission Reporting Tool v.5. ACERT, to help them measure and manage their CO2 emissions. Initially designed on behalf of Transport Canada, the tool can be used by all airports even those without an  environment expert. As well, the outputs from ACERT can then be used as a basis for application to the ACA programme.

And we have another tool: the recently released Airport Ground Energy Systems Simulator (AGES-S), that helps airports quantify the environmental and economic benefits of reducing the use of aircraft auxiliary power units, APUs, by replacing them with a more efficient ground energy system. The tool was designed by Zurich Airport to help our members create business cases for investment.

Indeed, alternative energy makes good business sense. As recognized by the United Nations Environment Programme this year, Cochin International Airport in India became the first airport to be powered solely on solar energy. They also became the first greenfield airport to be built under public-private partnership in India, demonstrating how relevant private investment has become to support airports’ eco-friendly initiatives.

Waste management is another big environmental issue to airports worldwide; and they have been working creatively to reduce, recycle and treat their waste. The Waste Management e-publication, part of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Eco Airport Toolkit e-collection compiled several case studies on best practices of Waste Management, including Circular Economy around airports worldwide. From competition among tenants, to working in collaboration with local authorities to find alternatives to landfill and incineration, our members have also started the adoption of a “Circular Economy,” principle such as the Schiphol “light as a service” project.

The Eco Airport Toolkit has 3 other e-publications on Renewable Energy, Environment Management Systems and Eco-design of Airport Buildings.

Airports are increasingly looking beyond their boundaries to reduce passengers’ environmental footprint. This is done in cooperation with other stakeholders through “green mobility” initiatives. Efficient and clean vehicles and transportation links to and from urban centers must be further incentivized if we are to broaden our concept of airport environmental management and work in real collaboration with our communities to build a more sustainable future.

On the topic of community commitments, ACI’s views have been highly influential at ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) regarding setting the course for greater engagement. To obtain and maintain their license to operate and grow, airports must be aligned with the needs of their surrounding communities, for whom they also serve as generators of economic and social benefits. The role of airports is pivotal in the long-term development of the aviation industry as a whole. 

All players matter when it comes to climate change, its effects, and mitigation of its impacts. While it is global matter that affects all regions, it is also a very local one dependent on the unique factors that make up the location of each airport. And for this reason, ACI encourages strengthen collaboration between all aviation stakeholders, at the local, regional and international level.  

On this note, I’m pleased to report that the month of May will see environmental stewardship at the forefront of the aviation industry. Key aviation events and meetings dedicated to environmental sustainability will be held in the following weeks including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Seminar on Green Airports, organized this year with ACI, taking place in Lima, Peru from 8-9 May, and the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) 2019 Global Sustainable Aviation Forum, taking place in Montreal, Canada on 13 May.

I look forward to seeing you at some of these events as we work towards a greener future.

Angela Gittens

Angela Gittens

Director General, ACI World
Angela Gittens began her tenure as Director General of ACI World in 2008. She was formerly airport CEO for Miami and Atlanta and Deputy at San Francisco International Airport. In other roles, Gittens led HNTB Corporation’s airport business and strategic planning practice and, at TBI Airport Management, she oversaw the transition to private ownership of London Luton Airport and managed operations contracts at several airports in the US and Canada. She is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and has served on numerous aviation industry boards and committees.
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