Vienna Airport shows a positive scorecard with respect to its sustainability management as indicated in its updated sustainability reporting, featuring a 70% drop in CO2 emissions and a 40% decline in energy consumption.
The airport has defined the ambitious target of achieving CO2 neutrality by the year 2030 in spite of its further growth. In order to achieve these goals, it is resolutely working on an environmental protection programme including the following measures.
“Sustainability and energy efficiency have been top priorities for us since 2011. Thanks to our comprehensive sustainability management in all areas of the company, we can achieve our target of being one of the first CO2 neutral airports by 2030. We do not only pay lip service to climate protection. Instead, it is something we live and practice on a daily basis”, explained Günther Ofner, Member of the Management Board of the airport operating company Flughafen Wien AG, at today’s press briefing.
“Only specific measures benefit the climate, not only bias-driven accusations or symbolic politics. The quick implementation of “Single European Sky”, the unified European airspace, would be a priority action for air traffic control. This would cut jet fuel consumption by 10% and also reduce the number of delays and air traffic congestion. The expanding of rail connections to Bratislava is a particularly urgent measure”, Günther Ofner added.
“The research focus on developing alternative drive systems and new drive technologies is also important. Air traffic represents the first industrial sector showing a path towards growth in a CO2 neutral manner thanks to the European system of certificate trading (EE Emissions Trading System, ETS) and the global CORSIA rule. In light of the airline ticket tax generating income of € 70 million annually, as well as the obligation of the airlines to purchase CO2 certificates, the call for new taxes is an ill-founded demand, especially when it is introduced on a country and not on a European or global level”, he concluded.
Vienna Airport itself sets a good example and will compensate for all flights relating to its own operations by purchasing CO2 certificates, for example from Climate Austria. This possibility is open to all those who are concerned about generating CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, only less than 1% of all passengers take advantage of this option.
The measures in detail:
Reduction and optimisation of energy consumption
The smart city control software should enable the further reduction and optimisation of energy consumption. This unique instrument should also be marketed globally. Furthermore, importance is attached to CO2-free electricity and heat procurement, also by means of a biomass-fired local heat plant.
Photovoltaic facilities expanded to 23,700 m² – Fifth photovoltaic plant in planning
The fourth photovoltaic facility at the airport covering an area of 8,000 m² will be put into operation in August of this year. As a result, the entire area covered by the photovoltaic facilities in operation at Vienna Airport has been expanded to 23,700 m². Each year they generate about 1.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity, sufficient for the annual electricity consumption of some 600 households. Planning for the fifth photovoltaic facility is already in fully swing.
With steam ahead with e-mobility: Vienna Airport expands its e-fleet
At present, the fleet of electric-powered vehicles deployed by Flughafen Wien AG consists of more than 380 e-vehicles. The biggest potential to save fuel and thus reduce CO2 emissions is to operate electric-powered utility vehicles for aircraft handling. Several projects are being implemented at the present time. Catering vehicles are gradually being replaced by e-powered ones. The conversion of ground power units from diesel-driven generators to those running on batteries is being tested at the moment, and the airport is about to purchase 40 electric passenger buses. Vienna Airport will invest more than EUR 30 million for this by 2020. The new e-vehicles should also decrease diesel consumption by at least one million litres per year. Moreover, Vienna Airport boasts the world’s first electric charging station featuring the Chakratec flywheel energy storage technology. It is located at the K3 short-term parking area on the arrival level. Other large-scale facilities are being planned.
Sustainable construction – Office Park 4 is an environmental showcase project
Sustainability and energy efficiency are also the issues dominating the construction projects undertaken by Vienna Airport. The focus is on state-of-the-art solutions for building services engineering, optimised thermal insulation and facade design. Geothermal energy i.e. the heating and cooling with thermal energy plays a major role in this regard. It is not without reason that the Airport City Vienna became the first industrial park in Austria to be awarded the certificate for sustainable real estate development by the Austrian Sustainable Building Council (ÖGNI). The new Office Park 4 already received the platinum pre-certificate from the Austrian Sustainable Building Council even before it opens in May 2020 thanks to its extensive integration of sustainability and energy efficiency.
Lighting converted to LED, new model of noise fees favours quieter aircraft
The conversion of the airport’s lighting and advertising systems to LED has been largely completed. Measures are also being taken to reduce the level of noise. A new model of noise charges should motivate airlines to operate in Vienna with quieter aircraft. In particular, new types of planes with new engine technologies feature significantly noise levels than older jets. This measure is designed to be an incentive for airlines to deploy new, quieter aircraft in the future.