ACI World’s senior manager environment, Xavier Oh, reflects on ten years of environmental stewardship in the Asia-Pacific region.
ACI’s Asia and Pacific regions merged to form the largest and fastest growing region shortly after I joined ACI in Montréal ten years ago.
At that time, there were a couple of airports active on the World Environmental Standing Committee (WESC), but there was virtually no intra-regional interaction on environmental management issues.
Jump forward ten years and the landscape is unrecognisable. Here’s a look at how the region got to where it is.
The ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Office and its Board have played a major role in getting the airports in the region working together.
The increasing importance of environmental management and growing concerns about aviation’s impact on the environment in 2009 led to the Board accepting a proposal from the Regional Office to establish an ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Environment Liaison Group to work on issues related to aviation’s impact on the environment and measures to mitigate it.
In November 2011, the region became the first outside of Europe to adopt Airport Carbon Accreditation. Currently there are 25 accredited airports in the region representing 24% of the region’s passenger traffic and of these six airports in four countries are accredited at Level 3 Optimisation including three in India.
The regional environment liaison group was upgraded to a Regional Environment Committee (REC) in 2013 and started holding biannual meetings in order to better develop best practices and formulate Asia-Pacific’s input to ACI World’s Environment Standing Committee and ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection.
Leading by example
And the airports/airport operators of REC’s committee members have certainly led by example. Mumbai-Chhatrapati Shivaji – the airport of Immediate past chair, Narendra Hosabettu – has achieved Level 3 in Airport Carbon Accreditation.
Current chair, Mike Kilburn, is from the Airport Authority of Hong Kong, whose ambitious goal is for Hong Kong International Airport to be world’s greenest airport. While vice chair, Jakrapop Charatsri, is from Airports of Thailand, which has used ACI’s ACERT tool to get four airports carbon accredited.
In its first couple of years the committee has started to find its feet. At least five Asia-Pacific members and two World Business Partners now provide support to the WESC and airport input on the ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) work programme. Kuala Lumpur hosted ACI’s third Airport Environment Seminar in 2014.
It is currently conducting a survey on airport environmental activity and needs, as well as work promoting Airport Carbon Accreditation and ACERT.
And in partnership with our airline partners at IATA, the REC is developing a document to standardise airline and airport practices on the recycling of deplaned cabin waste material.
Another task undertaken by the committee has been the analysis and promotion of Reduced Engine Taxi (RET). The efforts of REC secretary, Ken Lau, from ACI Asia-Pacific, must also be acknowledged.
Other green highlights
The environmental successes and achievements of Asia-Pacific’s airports is as wide and varied as the region itself.
At the risk of missing some excellent examples, I mention a few that have caught my attention.
Some 21 of Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad’s 39 airports now track their CO2 emissions using ACI’s free tool ACERT.
The two airports in the South Australian capital, Adelaide and Parafield, have set Zero Waste goals.
During a major drought, Brisbane International Airport managed to reduce its potable water consumption by 75%.
Delhi International Airport has opened a 2.1 MW solar power plant.
Incheon Airport has installed LED lighting throughout as well as building 18 kilometres of bicycle paths.
Hong Kong International Airport successfully engaged 46 airport business partners to map and reduce carbon emission together.
On occasions like the 10th anniversary of the unification of ACI’s former Asia and Pacific regions, I think it is great to look back at some of the green achievements within the region and by the ACI Regional Office.
While there is always more to do, I feel confident that the motivations and the organisational structures for sharing best practice are firmly established.