55 major European airports join carbon program

AP News
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Posted: Jan 31, 2012 12:44 PM
55 major European airports join carbon program

Fifty-five major European airports accounting for over half of all passenger traffic on the continent are now part of a program aimed at cutting carbon emissions, Airports Council International said Tuesday.

Airports are changing airport vehicles and buses to electric or hybrid power, and installing solar panels to generate the airport's own electricity, among other measures. Specific taxiing techniques are used to reduce fuel burn, and ground power is provided to parked airliners instead of having them leave their engines running.

The industry group said participating airports include London's Gatwick and Heathrow; Frankfurt; Munich; Amsterdam; Brussels; Zurich; Geneva; as well as both airports in Paris and Milan.

The program known as Airport Carbon Accreditation was adopted in 2008 and aims to cut emissions from all operations with the ultimate goal of having the airport become carbon neutral.

There are over 400 airports in Europe, but most of them account for very small percentages of overall passenger traffic on the continent.

European Union Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said he was delighted to see that so many airports were participating.

"It is clearly helping to move European aviation onto a more sustainable footing," Kallas said in a statement. "Genuine progress on greening transport ... can only occur when the regulator's work is complemented by citizens and businesses taking action of their own."

Last year, the 43 accredited airports achieved a reduction of 729,689 tons of greenhouse gases, equivalent to removing around 180,000 cars from the roads.

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Slobodan Lekic can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/slekich