Strategy in airports

Since 2000, BAA has actively participated in the debate on the impact on climate from aviation. Our objective is to develop and promote measures to minimise the emissions produced by aircraft.

The BAA strategy against climate change has two main elements:

  1. Provide support for legislators to incorporate the aviation industry into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

  2. Work with the aviation industry to improve energy efficiency through technological and operational advances.

Technological and operative advances

During the last 30 years, aircraft manufacturers have made continuous advances in fuel efficiency and they expect to make substantial improvements with new aircraft designs. By 2020, European manufacturers expect to reach an energy efficiency level that is 50% higher than that of 2000. The Sustainable Aviation Group, of which BAA is a member, is actively working towards this objective.

There are significant opportunities to reduce emissions through more efficient air control. At present, there are 35 air control organisations in Europe, while in the United States there is only one. The "Single European Sky" is a project for integrating air traffic control systems in Europe. The International Air Traffic Association (IATA) forecasts a 12% reduction in global CO2 emissions produced by aviation just as a result of better operations in the control systems.

However, aviation is increasing at a more intensive rate than the technological capacity to reduce emissions and at present there is no alternative to the consumption of kerosene. This means that cost efficient policies have to be developed for managing the impact of aviation on climate. BAA believes that selling emissions is the best solution.

Impact of the airport on climate

The main sources of CO2 associated with airport operations are:

  • Energy use in buildings and infrastructures (gas and electricity).

  • Transport to and from the airport.

  • Ground vehicles.

  • Aircraft movements on the runway.

  • Auxiliary power units (APU) which power the aircrafts' air conditioning and lighting while they are on the runway.

  • Freezers.

  • The energy used by the supply chain.

BAA's objective is to reduce emissions as soon as possible, dealing directly with the sources of emissions in its own operations, over which the company has direct control. Furthermore, BAA aims to exercise a positive influence on the companies that operate in its airports. BAA is working to quantify the different sources of emissions in our airports, in line with international guidelines on best practices and we will publish the results on our website as soon as the data is available. At present, approximately 436,320 tons of CO2 are emitted per year in the 7 BAA airports from permanent facilities. The strategy for managing the impact on the climate of our airports has the following elements:

Inside buildings:

  • Guarantee energy efficiency measures in new facilities.

  • Invest in energy efficient technology.

  • Increase the information and tools for improving data on energy use.

  • Promote change in behaviour concerning energy use.

  • Install renewable energy sources when economically viable.

In the airport:

  • Supply electricity and air conditioning from terminals so that aircraft can disconnect their systems.

  • Re-design the parking lanes so that aircraft can reach their parking space more directly.

  • Tow aircraft from the runway so that they switch their engines off earlier.

  • Reduce vehicle emissions.

Outside the airport:

  • Make more investment in public transport infrastructures that service the airports.

  • Compensate for the impact of our business flights.