We are not unfamiliar with the fact that the aviation industry makes a difference in people's lives both locally and globally. Aviation is invaluable to the socio-economic growth of our world, and airports are well-positioned to help sustainable development. They assist to link the globe, but they are also very much a part of a city or a region. They must, however, be cognizant of our world and the need to lessen our collective carbon imprint.
The urge to tackle climate change poses distinct problems for different sectors of our economy. Aviation has two distinct goals: the transition to sustainable aviation fuels, which is still ongoing, and the need to create sustainable airports to reduce environmental drawbacks.
Airports have always made significant contributions to the national economy and surrounding communities, from wealth to employment to cultural exchange, but that role is likely to come under renewed scrutiny as sustainable development continues to redefine the opinions of governments, regulators, investors, and the travelling public. So, in this new economic scenario, what makes an airport "sustainable" and “an airport with a low carbon footprint”?
In India, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has been bestowed green airport recognition by the Airports Council International (ACI)-Asia for its environmentally sustainable initiatives. The airport's goal is to promote environmental strategy in order to reduce aviation's environmental effects and to honour airport members who have made noteworthy achievements in their environmental initiatives. Each year, a fresh topic from the environmental elements is chosen, and the theme for 2021 was air quality management, especially stressing the value of local air quality management, according to a DIAL statement.
Another concern that crosses our minds as the temperature continues to rise is greenhouse gas emissions. Usually, when we see the greenhouse emission rates, we focus on the aircraft itself, but what about the ground vehicles that are continuously running for aircraft maintenance?
Every day, the aviation industry employs a variety of ground vehicles that help the airport run more effectively, burning more fuel and emitting a considerable quantity of carbon dioxide. The vehicles range from pushback tugs to pull the plane, catering trucks, de-icing vehicles, sweeping vehicles, airstairs, follow-me cars, apron buses, and so on.
With the Indian government putting a lot of priority on electric vehicles, we will soon be able to charge electric vehicles at Mumbai International Airport. The airport has launched 25x7 AC electric buses between Terminal-1 and Terminal-2.
Similarly, Alaska Airlines and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport partnered to replace fossil-fuel-powered ground vehicles, including belt loaders and baggage tugs, with electric vehicles. This multi-million-dollar investment improved air quality by eliminating around 2,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. Likewise, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport pledges to be net-zero by 2050. The airport will control Scope 1 and 2 emissions by enhancing its energy efficiency.
Many airports have begun to provide greener fueling choices for airline ground equipment in recent years. Many other airports are taking a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach and are on their way to shifting to EVs to minimise their carbon impact.