Through the Airport Carbon Accreditation program, 133 European Airports have taken on the challenge to reduce their airport’s carbon footprint. The program has set ambitious goals and is currently working towards 67 of its member airports to reach carbon neutrality by 2030. While a portion of European Airports have met their goals, the majority of program members will need to find innovative and cost-effective solutions to help them meet their objectives.
In today’s day and age, the new world of technology provides a plethora of innovative solutions which enable airports to meet mission-critical objectives. Increased productivity, streamlining business processes, reducing costs, enhanced communications, increased operational insights are all major benefits of technology, but a major benefit that is sometimes overlooked is increased sustainability.
European airports looking to improve their airport’s sustainability efforts can begin by further enhancing their most critical operations by utilizing software. Software is an ideal solution to improving sustainability in that it is a solution that pays for itself. European airports that have tight budgets can invest in software knowing that by eliminating process deficiencies and increasing productivity, the cost savings will ensure a complete ROI. Critical areas which can greatly impact airport sustainability when automated include airside operations, safety management, and resource management. In addition to increasing sustainability, automating these processes can also increase airport safety and enhance operational efficiencies.
Documentation and tracking of information relating to airside operations has traditionally been very paper intensive. Automation of these processes can reduce an airport’s carbon footprint by drastically reducing paper usage. Research shows that airports can reduce paper printing and consumption by up to 50 percent by automating the majority of airside operations processes alone. This helps airports achieve quantifiable and measurable success in becoming eco-friendly.
Safety management operations are also very paper intensive. From safety reports to submission of investigative findings, tracking of safety data can consume a tremendous amount of paper. In providing a digital platform to submit and archive this information, it will help to further reduce paper usage at airports.
The use of resource management software is also an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions. Resource management software allows airports to optimize their gate and resource assignments to maximize the use of the airport’s current infrastructure. By optimizing these processes, the system would decrease time aircraft spend taxiing to a gate, thus reducing jet fuel usage. According to a recent study, it is estimated that around 18 million tons of CO2 are emitted annually during aircraft taxiing operations and, for Heathrow Airport, aircraft taxiing contributes to 30% of the airport’s total CO2 emissions. In addition to improving sustainability, resource management software can also help to improve other critical airport priorities including customer satisfaction, due to decreased aircraft congestion, and reduction of labor costs.
In conclusion, implementation of airside operations, safety management, and resource management software is an innovative way to help make airports “green”. Software implementation in these areas provides a multidimensional solution that provides various benefits which can help European Airports meet their sustainability goals.
Surgenor, Christopher. “Early promise of green aircraft taxiing solutions has yet to materialize although progress on regulatory approvals.” Green Air, Green Air Communications, February 24, 2017
Koumelis, Theodore. “Europe’s airport industry commits to set new vision of sustainability.” Travel Daily News, Travel Daily News, June 20, 2018