Athens International Airport (AIA) has become the first airport in Greece to be classified as “carbon neutral”.
AIA has achieved carbon-neutral status (Level 3+), as certified by the Airport Council International’s (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation management programme. This brings the total number of carbon neutral airports around the world to 28 — 25 in Europe, two in Asia and one in North America.
“Since its inception, AIA has been an ambitious and worthy addition to the European airport network — one that is always looking to innovate and push the boundaries of excellence in all aspects of airport management and efficiency”, Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI EUROPE, said.
Athens Airport’s achievement comes after the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris in December 2015 when the airport industry committed to have 50 carbon neutral airports in Europe by 2030.
“The news that Athens International Airport has become carbon neutral through Airport Carbon Accreditation is a great way to kick off 2017”, said Niclas Svenningsen, head of the Climate Neutral Now initiative at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat in Bonn, Germany.
“The ambitious efforts of a growing number of carbon neutral airports are testament to how seriously this industry is working on addressing its direct impact on climate change. With 25 European airports now carbon neutral, the airport industry is already halfway towards meeting its pledge at COP21. We look forward to more progress in the year ahead.”
AIA’s environmental agenda
Since its opening in 2001, Athens International Airport has had an ardent and ever-evolving environmental agenda. Among other things, it was one of the first airports to invest in solar technology, building a 20 million euros photovoltaic park on the airport site, as a source of clean, sustainable power. It was also among the early adopters who became accredited in the very first year of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme (2009), renewing and successfully upgrading its certification over the intervening years.
“By achieving carbon neutrality, Athens International Airport continues to tangibly demonstrate its commitment to the fight against climate change”, Dr Yiannis Paraschis, CEO of Athens International Airport, said.
Athens Airport managed to drastically reduce its carbon footprint from 2005 through 2015, following a years-long effort to diminish energy consumption in its installations, through a number of interventions and investments in more efficient equipment among other actions.
“We are proud to be among leading airports, not only as a major economic engine, but also through our reduced ecological footprint thanks to the environmental awareness and complementary efforts of our colleagues and partners across the airport community”, Paraschis added.
According to Paraschis, AIA continues to plan additional energy and fuel saving measures, such as the certification of its energy management system as per ISO 50001, the continued modernisation of airport equipment, and the optimisation of operation of its energy systems.
Over 20 million passengers passed through the AIA in 2016.
The carbon neutral airport movement began when Swedavia’s Stockholm-Arlanda airport achieved certification as the first carbon neutral airport in the world in November 2009.
Across the four available levels of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, there are currently a total of 180 airports, working to address their CO2 emissions. These airports welcome 37.3 percent of global passenger traffic.