Airports across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East continue to invest in facilities, equipment, services and green strategies in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint, writes Joe Bates.
NEW SUSTAINABILITY MILESTONE FOR HYDERABAD
Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport has become the latest gateway to achieve Level 4 ’Transition’ status in ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
The Indian airport, operated by GMR Hyderabad International Airport (GHIAL), is a sustainability pioneer for the region.
GHIAL CEO, Pradeep Panicker, said: “Today, climate change is the most pressing challenge and as a global corporate citizen, Hyderabad Airport is building multiple pathways to reduce carbon emissions.
“Our entire airport operation runs on renewable energy with a mission of zero waste and zero discharge. This achievement shows our commitment to environmental responsibility.
“We have set ambitious targets to achieve zero carbon emissions. We continue to invest in sustainable technologies and assets, enabling the airport eco-system to contribute to the environment and help build a greener world.”
Earlier this year, GHIAL announced its transition to 100% sustainable green energy for its energy consumption at the airport and across its ecosystem.
In partnership with Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSSPDCL), the move has transformed its operations by harnessing the power of green energy through a combination of its own 10 MWp (megawatt peak) solar power plant and green energy supplied by TSSPDCL.
By integrating green energy into its operation and infrastructure, the airport is expected to reduce its carbon footprint by approximately 9,300 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Panicker said: “We at Hyderabad International Airport have pledged to build a sustainable environment that will help reduce our impact on the environment and create an environmentally friendly airport. It permeates every aspect of the airport’s infrastructure and operations at every touch point of activity.”
GHIAL has been at the forefront of adopting energy-efficient practices ever since it started operations. It was the first LEED certified airport in Asia. Moreover, the airport encompasses a vast landscape spanning over 675 acres.
This expansive green belt serves as a natural carbon emissions sink, absorbing 240 tons of carbon dioxide from the environment annually.
GHIAL notes that the airport has implemented a comprehensive set of commitments in line with its Environmental & Sustainability Policy. These include incorporating green building designs; practising energy management techniques to optimise energy usage and promote conservation; and encouraging behavioural changes to foster energy-saving habits.
CHRISTCHURCH’S SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS WIN INDUSTRY AWARDS
Christchurch Airport’s new approach to minimising waste, and its work mentoring other airports to become more sustainable, has netted two international awards from ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East.
The airport has won ‘Green Airports Recognition 2023’ and the ‘Airport Carbon Accreditation – Mentor’ awards from the association.
It has created a new waste sortation room where a team of four Enviro NZ employees manually go through all of the general waste (red bins) collected in the terminal. Their goal? To help lift the amount of waste Christchurch Airport diverts from landfill to 80%.
The airport’s sustainable transition leader, Claire Waghorn, explained: “We began by holding one of New Zealand’s most comprehensive waste audits – hand sorting 1,000 kilos of waste over three days so we could gather data to understand our waste streams.” That audit revealed the airport’s waste diversion rate was sitting at just over 42%.
Waste minimisation business, Sustainably, oversaw the project, with Waghorn noting that together with Enviro NZ, the airport team came up with a strategy to lift the diversion rate even higher.
“The audit showed us that by going through the red bins and ensuring we captured things that could be reused or recycled (including organics and liquid waste) we would be able to lift the rate as high as 80%,” revealed Waghorn.
“We began by commissioning a custom-designed sorting table that separates and collects liquid waste when bags of rubbish are tipped onto it. We then worked with Enviro NZ to design the sortation room and recruit our four sorters.”
Enviro NZ’s upper south island regional manager, Jacob Stapleton, says the sorters go through the rubbish bag by bag and pull out anything that can be re-used, composted or recycled.
“The crew is passionate about the job and have already made some exciting discoveries. The terminal is cleaned 24/7 so the waste is relatively fresh. Our wider team are proud to work with like-minded partners to reduce waste and maximise recycling,” he commented.
Waghorn states that the initiative is already making a major difference with the organics found in the trash now being made into soils that are used in the city’s gardens.
She said: “We also discovered that a significant amount of clothing, shoes and books are thrown away in the check-in terminal – mainly from passengers whose baggage is overweight. We now collect these so they can be reused.”
Christchurch Airport is quick to point out that the approach aligns with its overall sustainability strategy.
“We focus on measuring our performance,” said Waghorn. “We measure the water and energy the terminal is using in real time to ensure its maximum efficiency and we measure our Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions (including those produced by airlines).
“If you measure it, you’re able to challenge yourself to do even better. In three months, we’ve lifted our performance from 42% to over 50%. Circularity is all about rethinking of rubbish as a source of resources that can be reused elsewhere.
“We’re lucky to have a team that’s passionate about this and have no doubt we’ll hit our target of 80% in time.”
HONG KONG’S AIRPORT RELEASES NEW SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) has released its Sustainability Report 2022/23, outlining the sustainability performance of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) in the fiscal year ending 31 March 2023.
The report also highlights the future sustainability plans of AAHK. According to the airport, the key highlights of this year’s edition include:
“AAHK received an advanced ESG rating from Standard & Poor Global Ratings, scoring 75 out of 100, up from the strong inaugural rating of 74 last year. The higher rating was attributable to AAHK’s improved sustainability performance.
“Its second green bond was successfully issued to fund projects that deliver environmental and social benefits.
“The Third Runway was officially commissioned, marking a key milestone of the airport’s expansion into a Three-runway System.
“The airport achieved Level 4 ‘Transformation’ status in ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme. The ACA award recognises Hong Kong International Airport as a top tier airport in Asia in terms of carbon management and doing all that it can to reduce CO2 emissions across the airport campus.
During the year, AAHK also commenced a trial of the Food TranSmarter system to convert food waste into slurry for biogas production and electricity generation.
And the HKIA Community Building came into service to provide leisure and dining facilities, and create a quality workplace for airport staff.
In addition, AAHK notes that it opened a second Airport Preschool to provide educational and childcare services for the children of the airport community, helping improve the attractiveness of the airport as a place to work to staff with young children.
AAHK says: “We are committed to attracting top talent and creating more high-value and rewarding jobs through wider use of innovative technology in our operations and service delivery.”
BUILDING CLIMATE RESISILENCE AT SINGAPORE CHANGI
Changi Airport Group (CAG) in collaboration with a number of local agencies continues to examine the effects of increasing extreme weather patterns and develop mitigation strategies to fortify critical infrastructure across Singapore Changi Airport.
One such example of this is its ongoing efforts to future proof the airport’s runways against higher intensity rainfall and rising sea levels, ultimately ensuring the capability to operate around-the-clock in most extreme weather conditions.
To combat the projected future increase in heavy rainfall, CAG has grooved the asphaltic pavements of all three runways at Changi Airport to reduce the danger of aquaplaning and runway excursions on wet surfaces during thunderstorm events.
And to mitigate the potential impact of rising sea levels, CAG has also expanded the airfield drainage capacity to reduce flood risks.
Ground-based aircraft navigation systems are further protected by flood barriers to ensure operational continuity.
In 2022, CAG’s Engineering and Development (E&D) Cluster partnered with the Aeronautical Telecommunications Engineering Division of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to introduce a runway condition reporting system.
The system capitalises on sensors to automatically alert air traffic controllers and pilots of any changes in environmental factors, such as runway water film depth.
As one of the world’s first systems with such capability, this runway condition reporting system won the 2022 Minister for Transport Distinguished Innovation Award.
Extreme temperatures as a result of climate change also pose a risk to Changi’s runways. CAG has responded to the challenge by strengthening the pavement so that it can withstand harsher weather conditions.
CAG says: “This includes the enhancement of asphaltic mix design and continued use of polymer additives to enable higher runway durability, even under high temperatures. “Responding to the combined effects of rising temperatures and increasing frequency of tropical storms, we introduced a Laser Crack Measurement System (LCMS) to enhance our aircraft pavement maintenance regime.
“This system employs lasers and sensors to survey runway conditions, even in pitch darkness during runway closure hours at night. The system is capable of picking up sub-millimetre anomalies that could lead to formation of potholes during wet weather and high temperatures.
“Combined with data analytics and machine learning, the system enables pre-emptive detection and predictive maintenance to achieve greater business continuity.”
The airport operator adds: “In future-proofing our mission critical runways, we seek to continually deepen our understanding through research collaboration. We have kick-started research to examine the relationship between the temperature of asphaltic pavement surface, underlying structural layers and the ambient temperatures.
“We have also initiated a parallel study through the use of stress and strain sensors at different layers of newly constructed aircraft pavement to validate original design assumptions under stimulated and live aircraft loading.
“Such data will enable us to predict the remaining lifespan of the pavement structure and develop the necessary rehabilitation plans to maintain robust structural integrity even amidst adverse weather conditions.”