Air passengers up, emissions down at UK airports

UK airports have cut their carbon footprints by 3%, despite a 5% passenger rise since 2010, according to a new report from the Airport Operators Association (AOA).

Entitled Sustainable Airports: Improving the environmental impact of the UK’s global gateways, the report covers 18 airports which accounted for 95% of all air travellers in the UK last year.

The AOA calls on the UK Government to help develop sustainable aviation fuels and promote a global emissions trading scheme to facilitate future progress.

It also proposes a combination of newer fleets and better operational measures to help reduce the carbon used by airport partners in aviation.


Heathrow’s Terminal Two earned praise for the design of its runway, which reduces taxiing time and fuel consumption. It is the first airport terminal to be judged as ‘Excellent’ through the BRE Environmental Assessment Methodology.

Heathrow’s sustainability director Matt Gorman said: “The findings of this report make it clear that Heathrow can continue to contribute to the UK’s economic growth while minimising its impact on local communities and the environment.

“Heathrow has published extensive details on how we can add to our airport capacity, whilst meeting both air pollution limits through new public transport options, cleaner vehicles, as well as limiting noise through new landing approaches, and working proactively with airlines.”

Beyond airports

The report warns that airports only account for a small proportion of aviation’s carbon emissions. Other contributors such as airlines, air traffic controllers, and aircraft manufacturers have joined the Sustainable Aviation coalition which has pledged to reduce UK aviation carbon emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2050, whilst maintaining growth.

The UK Government’s Aviation Policy Framework (APF) of 2013 claimed that the aviation sector is responsible for about 1 to 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions and in the UK, aviation emissions account for about 6% of the total.

Earlier this year GE Aviation Wales saved £1.4m by investing in energy efficiency.

Read the AOA report here: –

Brad Allen

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