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APA4 2023 NEWS

Green pioneers

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Editor, Joe Bates, rounds-up some of the sustainability news stories making headlines across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

TAKING AIRPORT CARBON ACCREDITATION TO NEXT LEVEL

Christchurch Airport and nine European airports are the first in the world to achieve the new Level 5 status in ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, with Christchurch being the only gateway in the Southern Hemisphere to achieve the top certification.

“With Level 5, we establish a reference framework for achieving a net-zero carbon balance for airports – a milestone unmatched by any other industry to date,” noted ACI EUROPE’s director general, Olivier Jankovec, whose region launched the global programme in 2009.

Christchurch Airport’s chief executive, Justin Watson, enthused: “We’ve working hard at this for more than 15 years. A dedicated team of people have gone above and beyond to get us here.”

While the airport’s sustainability transition leader, Claire Waghorn, (Pictured above), said: “This is a moon shot moment for our team. This is a challenging sector to abate and no one is under any illusion – we have a whole lot more work to do to decouple carbon from aviation and make the zero aviation dream a reality.

“We recognise, however, the critical role that aviation plays, especially for isolated nations, and therefore are committed to being part of the solution. That’s why 90% of the work we do now focuses on how we can help other businesses, including our airline partners, decarbonise.

“As a business, we are working hard. We are building a 400-hectare renewable energy precinct, Kōwhai Park, to provide the green energy low emission aircraft will need in the future.

GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY FOR NEW SOLAR FARM AT QUEEN ALIA

The groundbreaking ceremony for a new 4.8MW photovoltaic (PV) solar farm was held at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) in early December.

The new facility will be designed, built and operated by Shams al Mattar lil-Taqa, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kawar Investment, under the terms of an agreement signed with AMM operator, Airport International Group (AIG), earlier this year.

It will be located on 65,000sqm of unused land to the north of the Northern Runway and is expected to generate over 10.5GWh of electricity yearly, which will account for more than 24.5% of the airport’s operational energy requirements or the equivalent of powering over 3,000 homes.

Equally as important, it will reduce AMM’s carbon footprint by around 12,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. The solar farm is expected to begin producing electricity by Q3 2024.

AIG chairman, Fernando Echegaray, commented: “Today, we are not just breaking ground; we are breaking barriers and setting an example for the entire region, demonstrating that airports can be at the forefront of eco-conscious aviation.

“This onsite solar farm is a crucial step towards making Queen Alia International Airport one of the largest solar-powered airports in the MENA region. By harnessing the power of the sun and deploying innovative solutions in the global fight against climate change, this cutting-edge project underscores our unwavering pledge to environmental responsibility – an obligation that has proven crucial within the global aviation industry.”

AIG CEO, Nicolas Claude, noted: “As the operator of Jordan’s prime gateway to the world, Airport International Group has consistently prioritised environmental stewardship.

“This project also reinforces our position as the first airport in the Middle East and second in Asia Pacific to reach Level 4+ ‘Transition’ of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme and a two-time recipient of the ACI Asia-Pacific Green Airports Recognition in 2017 and 2022.”

FIRST ANNUAL SUSTAINABILITY REPORT FOR QUEENSTOWN

Queenstown Airport in New Zealand has released its first annual Sustainability Report and climate-related disclosures.

“We’re really proud of the work we’re doing to reduce our environmental impact, to support our community to thrive and to enable lower-emission aviation,” says the airport’s chief executive, Glen Sowry.

“We have started with the things we can directly control, but we are also turning our attention to ways we can use our influence to make a positive difference.”

To date, the airport operator has converted NZ$100 million in bank lending facilities to sustainability-linked loans this year.

“We’ve worked with our banking partners to set ambitious targets to hold us to account as we continue to implement our Sustainability Strategy and decarbonisation roadmap,” noted Queenstown Airport’s general manager for sustainability and corporate Affairs, Sara Irvine.

“It’s important that we are all working together to achieve our targets. We’ve also launched a ZQN Sustainability Pledge uniting businesses operating across the airport campus with shared sustainability and community wellbeing targets.

“We are really pleased that 17 operators have already signed up to the pledge and we look forward to working with other businesses and agencies here at ZQN to sign the pledge.”

SINGAPORE CHANGI CARBON OFFSET INITIATIVE

Changi Carbon Offsets is the latest green initiative launched by Changi Airport Group (CAG) as it looks to help mitigate carbon emissions.

The new initative is aimed at passengers, who with the aid of an intuitive carbon calculator on the Changi Airport website (https://carbonoffsets.changiairport.com) and Changi App, can calculate the carbon emissions from their forthcoming flights and be offered the option to pay to offset the emissions from their journey.

Working in partnership with Carbon Clicks, a New Zealand-based carbon offset company, CAG has selected what it dscribes as a set of high-quality carbon offset projects, which would have a significant impact on the environment and communities.

The selected projects will help to conserve and protect existing forests in Indonesia, plant forests in China, as well as provide wind power generation in India.

HAMAD ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Hamad International Airport (DOH) has renewed its ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System certification with the British Standards Institution (BSI).

The airport believes that the certficate extension – achieved after successfully completing an audit – reaffirms its commitment to setting industry standards towards environmental sustainability and stewardship.

“Retaining this global recognition is a testament to Hamad International Airport’s environmental sustainability goals towards waste management, minimising the consumption of natural resources and mitigating climate change,” says the airport.

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