20 Carbon Neutral Airports & Even More Engaged in Addressing Their Carbon Footprints

March 25, 2015


WASHINGTON DC, BRUSSELS, HONG KONG, CASABLANCA and PANAMA—With the groundswell of political visibility and a number of key events about Climate Change building up to the COP21 climate negotiations later this year, the independent programme Airport Carbon Accreditationtoday provided an update on its progress since going global in November 2014.

Following the global airport industry’s commitment to reduce its carbon emissions made 7 years ago*, the intervening years since then have seen an ever-increasing number of airports apply for certification by Airport Carbon Accreditation.

The programme certifies airports at 4 different levels of accreditation covering all stages of carbon management (MappingReductionOptimisation and Neutrality). It is independently administered, institutionally-endorsed¹ and has already won praise from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the United Nation Environment Panel (UNEP) and the European Union (EU). In the past twelve months, Airport Carbon Accredited status has been earned by a total of 122 airports across the world.**

Angela Gittens, Director General ACI World commented “These airports are reporting on their carbon management activities every year and they have mobilised on this of their own accord. An impressive 1.67 billion air passengers now travel through airports certified at one of the 4 levels of the programme – equivalent to 26.5% of global air passenger traffic.

Kevin Burke, President & CEO of ACI North America added “With six North American airports becoming Airport Carbon Accredited in just six months, North American airports have made tremendous progress in addressing their carbon footprints.  Through collaborative approaches to sustainability, airports around the world are leading the way in reducing global carbon emissions. We applaud their efforts and look forward to working with other North American airports to help keep the momentum going.”

Here are the most recent developments in some of the key world regions:

In the 6 months since the programme was launched in North America, 6 airports have become certified by the programme in this region. Following hot on the footsteps of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as the launch airport of Airport Carbon Accreditation in North America, Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport became the second North-American accredited airport at Level 2 Reduction.

The 4 other North-American airports are: Victoria International Airport has become accredited at Level 1 Mapping while Portland International AirportPortland-Hillsboro Airport and Portland-Troutdale Airport have been certified at Level 2 Reduction. Collectively, these 6 airports welcome over 4% of air passenger traffic in North America each year.


Four airports have moved up a level of certification: Antalya AirportVenice Marco Polo Airportand Rome Fiumicino Airport have upgraded to Level 3+ Neutrality, bringing the total number of carbon neutral airports in the programme to 20. In parallel, Nice Côte d’Azur Airport successfully reached Level 3 Optimisation.

Europe welcomed three new airports onto the programme: Stavanger Airport has become accredited at Level 2 Reduction, while Marseille Airport and Cannes Mandelieu Airport have joined the programme at Level 1 Mapping.

These developments are in addition to renewal certifications of airports in Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Czech Republic and Turkey.

In Asia-Pacific, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport recently achieved certification at Level 3,Optimisation, having successfully reduced its own CO2 emissions and engaged others to do the same. In parallel, Brisbane Airport in Australia entered the programme at the Mapping level.

And this month, Dubai Airports successfully entered both of its airports in the programme. This marks the entry into the programme of 2 very significant airports – Dubai International recently became the busiest airport in the world for international traffic, welcoming over 70 million international passengers a year, while Al Maktoum International has been built to secure Dubai’s future ambitions as a leader in air transport.

Dubai Airports, the operator of the two airports has indicated that this is just the beginning of its plan for their airports’ journey to more sustainable operations. Just last week, they announced plans for a 100-panel solar array at Al Maktoum International, which will have a capacity of 30KW and generate about 48.8MWh of electricity per year, equal to about two-thirds of the power used by the airport terminal building.

These two airports join their UAE-sibling, Abu Dhabi International Airport which is also one of the 24 certified airports in the Asia-Pacific region. Currently, these airports account for 21.6% of air passenger traffic in Asia-Pacific.


In addition, airports which have firmly committed to apply in the coming months for certification at one of the 4 levels of the programme include Denver International Airport and San Francisco International Airport in North America, Libreville Airport and Abidjan Airport in Africa and Galapagos Airport and Quito Airport in Latin America & Caribbean.

The full results for Year 6 of the programme (June 2014 to May 2015) will be released at this year’s ACI EUROPE Annual Assembly, Congress & Exhibition, in Prague from 24 to 26 June 2015.


The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has estimated that aviation’s total CO2emissions account for 2% of global emissions’ impact on climate change. Of that figure, airports’ own operations only account for up to 5%, but airports are keen to tackle their greenhouse gas emissions – several individual airports operators having already committed to becoming carbon neutral in the past few years with some having already achieved this.

*In 2007, the global airport industry committed to reduce its carbon emissions, in a special resolution passed at the ACI WORLD Annual Congress & Assembly.

Airports are at different points on this journey to become cleaner and more efficient. As the centrepoints of a complex web of aircraft movements, technical operations and surface access transport, airports can address their CO2 emissions in a variety of ways. These can include better insulation and energy efficiency, switching to green energy sources, investing in hybrid, electric or gas-powered service vehicles, encouraging employees, passengers & visitors to use public transport, working with airlines & air traffic management to reduce runway taxiing times and implement green landing processes and much more.

°Originally developed and launched by ACI Europe in June 2009, Airport Carbon Accreditation was extended to airports in Asia-Pacific, in November 2011 (in partnership with ACI Asia-Pacific) and to African airports in June 2013, (in partnership with ACI Africa) and North American airports in September 2014 (in partnership with ACI-NA).

¹The programme is administered by leading consultancy WSP and overseen by an independent Advisory Board including representatives from ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme), the European Commission, ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference), EUROCONTROL and Manchester Metropolitan University.

²WSP is the administrator of Airport Carbon Accreditation. It is one of the world’s leading professional services firms, working with governments, businesses, architects and planners and providing integrated solutions across many disciplines. The firm provides services to transform the built environment and restore the natural environment, and its expertise ranges from environmental remediation to urban planning, from engineering iconic buildings to designing sustainable transport networks, and from developing the energy sources of the future to enabling new ways of extracting essential resources. It has approximately 17,500 employees, mainly engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors as well as various environmental experts and design professionals, based in more than 300 offices, across 30 countries, on 5 continents. www.wspgroup.com

**For full details of the levels of accreditation of the 102 airports certified between June 2013 and May 2014 and the reductions achieved, please see Pages 43 to 46 of the Airport Carbon Accreditation – Annual Report

To find out which airports are certified & their level of certification, visit: http://www.airportcarbonaccreditation.org/airport/participants.html

For more information, contact : Robert O’Meara, Director, Media & Communications, ACI EUROPE
email : robert.omeara@aci-europe.org
tel : +32 486 54 14 71


About ACI-NA

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) represents local, regional, and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada. ACI-NA member airports enplane more than 95 percent of the domestic and virtually all the international airline passenger and cargo traffic in North America. Approximately 380 aviation-related businesses are also members of ACI-NA, providing goods and services to airports. Collectively, U.S. airports support more than 11.5 million jobs and account for $1.4 trillion in economic activity – or more than seven percent of the total U.S. GDP. Canadian airports support 405,000 jobs and contribute C$35 billion to Canada’s GDP. Learn more at www.airportscouncil.org.