How Are Green Airports Helping in Decarbonizing the Global Air Transportation Industry?

5 Apr


Key takeaways:

  • Introduction
  • Characteristics features of green airports
  • Changing dynamics of the industry

In the Paris Agreement of 2015, almost all countries party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change presented their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) for reducing carbon emissions. A vital component of most of the INDCs presented by the countries was cutting down on carbon dioxide emissions in the transportation sector. Since then, to comply with their INDCs, both developed and developing countries have focused on reducing carbon emissions caused by different modes of transportation and their associated infrastructure. The concept of green airport stems from this shift toward sustainable transportation.

Why are green airports considered to be the future of air travel?

Green airport essentially refers to air transportation services and infrastructure facilities that are environmentally sustainable. These airports implement certain unique strategies that bring down their carbon emissions drastically. For instance, most of these airports feature energy-efficient solutions such as smart HVAC systems and LED lighting solutions. Smart HVAC systems employ advanced sensor technologies which help airports to control the heating and cooling functions optimally. Furthermore, LED lighting solutions consume much less power as compared to traditional lighting solutions, thereby reducing the overall energy consumption of the airport. Most importantly, green airports make use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy to generate electricity for powering the electrical appliances in the airport.

Efficient waste management and disposal mechanism is another area in which sustainable airports put a lot of emphasis. These airports have structured waste disposal, recycling, and reuse systems in place which helps create a culture of environmental sustainability. The authorities working at such airports are also given the responsibility of organizing awareness campaigns within the airport premises to create an environmentally conscious passenger class. Waste reduction campaigns, segregation of dry and wet waste, and installation of recycling and disposal bins at every checkpoint are some of the characteristic features of green and sustainable airports.

A major chunk of carbon emissions from airports is caused by the transportation services that operate within the premises of the airport. Hence, sustainable airports consciously make efforts to replace fossil fuel-using vehicles with more eco-friendly options. As a result, sustainable airports typically feature electric vehicles such as electric buses, bikes, and lorries for transporting people and luggage to and from aircraft. Certain sustainable airports have also started bike-sharing programs which have received huge acclaim from environmentalists across the globe.

Apart from such unique strategies adopted by eco-friendly airports to promote sustainability, other factors have also contributed to the growth of the green airports industry. One important factor that has positively impacted the sector is that several governments across the globe have enacted strict regulations on their respective airports to curb carbon emissions. Hence, adopting environmentally sustainable practices has become mandatory for many international airports. Also, the rising adoption of advanced technologies and business intelligence solutions is expected to play a key role in strengthening this industry's position. Furthermore, the growth in demand for operational cost savings and efficiency is anticipated to help the domain flourish in the coming period. Owing to these factors, the industry is predicted to witness huge growth in the Asia-Pacific region in the 2023-2032 period. South Korea, for instance, is anticipated to witness the growth of the green airport industry at the fastest CAGR of 14.3% in the forecast period. India is projected to grab the second spot with a CAGR of 13.5% in the 2023-2032 timeframe.

Understanding the evolving dynamics of the green airports industry

In the past few years, various international airports have adopted sustainable practices and helped in the rise of this industry. For instance, in October 2022, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in Mumbai, India, announced that it had completely switched to green energy sources for all its power consumption needs and operations in the airport. This shift towards sustainability made CSMIA one of the few 100% green and sustainable airports in India.

On the other hand, private companies have also partnered with airport management firms to launch green technologies for international airports. For example, in January 2023, Schneider Electric, a leading digital automation company, announced a partnership with AlphaStruxure, an energy-as-a-service provider. Under this partnership, both companies will develop a 13,000-panel solar array integrated microgrid infrastructure at the JKF International Airport, New York. Also, the joint venture of Schneider Electric and AlphaStruxure has received a contract to operate this infrastructure once it has been built. Such alliances are anticipated to help the companies to expand their footprint in the coming period.

To summarize, the rising carbon emissions from the global transportation sector have led to a growing shift toward the development of sustainable airports. These airports primarily feature robust energy efficiency systems and waste management mechanisms which help them reduce their carbon footprint. The growing adoption of technological advancements and business intelligent solutions is also predicted to play a role in widening the scope of the sector.

For insights into how your business can capitalize on the opportunities offered by the industry, feel free to contact us.

Akhilesh Prabhugaonkar

Akhilesh Prabhugaonkar

Author's Bio- Akhilesh Prabhugaonkar holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering from the reputed Vishwakarma Institute of Technology. He has a special interest in the fields of forensics, world history, international relations and foreign policy, sports, agriculture, astronomy, security, and oceanography. An ardent bibliophile and melophile, Akhilesh loves to write on topics of his interest and various other societal issues. This love for writing made him enter the professional world of content writing and pursue his career in this direction.


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