Latest news and insights from various sources relating to UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Vienna Airport appeals to Austria’s highest courts over ruling that a new runway would violate climate law

Fri 24 Mar 2017 – Vienna Airport has filed an appeal to Austria’s highest courts over a ruling by a lower federal court that a new third runway would violate the country’s climate protection laws. The airport operator, Flughafen Wien, has lodged a complaint with the Austrian Constitutional Court arguing the ruling violates its guaranteed rights and freedoms to carry on a business. It has also filed an extraordinary appeal with the Austrian Supreme Administrative Court that the ruling contained serious procedural violations, inconsistent reasoning and was materially unlawful. In its judgment handed down last month, the Federal Administrative Court ruled the positive economic benefits of the airport expansion were outweighed by the potential harm to the public interest from climate change caused by higher carbon emissions as a result of increased flights. However, the airport argues national climate protection law specifically excludes CO2 emissions from flight traffic and it is anyhow only responsible for its own CO2 emissions.

Heathrow adds emissions along with noise metrics to its airline performance league table

Wed 21 Jun 2017 – Heathrow Airport has extended its quarterly ‘Fly Quiet League Table’ to include for the first time the emissions performance as well as the noise performance of airlines serving the airport. The 50 busiest airlines at Heathrow are now publicly ranked on their efforts to reduce emissions from the aircraft they use for operations at the airport. A new metric has also been introduced that takes into account unscheduled night flights operating between 11.30pm and 4.30am. The league table has tracked airline noise performance since 2013 and is credited with incentivising airlines to use their quieter aircraft types and operating procedures at Heathrow. Based on data from January to March, British Airways short-haul, Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways were judged to be the cleanest and quietest fleets at the airport.

Rocky Mountain Institute signs partnership deal with The Good Traveler carbon offsetting programme

Fri 10 Nov 2017 – The Good Traveler carbon offsetting programme is to be administered by the global non-profit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) under a multi-year partnership. The programme is a non-profit collaboration among US airports and transportation authorities that includes San Diego International Airport, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, the Port of Seattle and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. RMI will join their Advisory Member Group to help shape future strategy of the programme, with an objective to grow the market for high-quality carbon reduction options and to cultivate new travel-based emissions-reduction projects.

The Good Traveler programme was launched in September 2015 by San Diego International, which issued a Request for Proposals earlier this year from parties interested in operating the programme and supplying carbon offsets (see article).

“The programme is an important part of our efforts to address the impact of carbon emissions on climate change,” said the airport’s CEO, Kim Becker. “We are proud to see it grow and expand to other airports across the country.”

Under the programme, 100% of funds are directed to reducing the carbon impact of the aviation sector and airport communities. Offsets are verified and retired through the Climate Action Reserve, Verified Carbon Standard, the Gold Standard or American Carbon Registry.

The programme’s portfolio currently supports regional climate mitigation projects in the US that includes the Arcata Community Forest in Northern California, the Big Smile Wind Farm at Dempsey Ridge and Water Restoration Certificates by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

“The Good Traveler is a great way to help our travellers reduce their footprint, ensuring carbon offsets are verifiable, traceable and invested in projects that benefit our economy,” said Christine Weydig, Director of the Port Authority of NY and NJ’s Office of Environmental and Energy Programs.

RMI says it plans to incorporate in-sector travel emissions-reduction projects over time, such as projects involving sustainable aviation fuels.

Founded in 1982, RMI’s mission is to “transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous and secure low-carbon future and to engage with others to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables.” In 2014, the Carbon War Room initiative started by Virgin’s Richard Branson was merged with and now operates as part of RMI.

“We’re thrilled to join these airport leaders advancing sustainable travel and we are committed to ensuring The Good Traveler drives carbon reduction innovation,” said Adam Klauber, Director of RMI’s Sustainable Aviation programme, commenting on the new partnership. “We look forward to expanding its customer base and to integrating in-sector offset projects. This will be a game-changer for decarbonising the fast-growing aviation industry.”

Added Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman: “Visitors and citizens of the Seattle region care deeply about the environment and we are responding with our own commitment to reduce the Port’s carbon emissions by 50%. The Good Traveler is a perfect complement to these programmes. Passengers can be personally involved in reducing their carbon footprint through an easy-to-use, intuitive offsetting programme designed specifically for air travellers.”

Travellers can purchase credits from The Good Traveler website or retail outlets and works on a simple basis of a payment of $2 for every 1,000 miles flown. As of July 2017, the programme is reported to have offset nearly 20 million air miles equivalent to 3,352 tonnes of CO2.

The airport partners say the programme is also working towards more efficiently investing airport revenue into offsetting carbon emissions from ground operations through the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.

Copyright © 2017 GreenAir Communications

SpiceJet operates India’s first biofuel-powered flight as Indonesia seeks US and European help on palm oil biojet

A SpiceJet Bombardier Q400

Mon 3 Sept 2018 – Low-cost carrier SpiceJet last week operated India’s first test flight powered by biojet fuel. A Bombardier Q400 aircraft flew the 236-kilometre route from Dehradun in the norther part of India to the capital New Delhi using a 75/25 blend of conventional jet kerosene and a biofuel sourced from the jatropha crop.

Heathrow offers landing charge incentive to first electric-powered commercial flight

EasyJet vision of an electric aircraft

Wed 17 Oct 2018 – As part of efforts to encourage airlines to invest in electric technology and speed up the arrival of zero-emissions flights, Heathrow Airport has announced it will offer free landing charges for a year to the first electric or electric-hybrid commercial flight into the airport and then entering regular service.

NATS and IAA extend XMAN initiative to reduce Heathrow holding stacks for flights through Irish airspace

Fri 24 Mar 2017 – The air traffic management system to reduce the fuel-intensive and polluting holding stacks of aircraft arriving into London’s Heathrow Airport, the busiest hub in Europe, has now been fully extended to include flights travelling through Irish airspace. First trialled by UK air navigation service provider (ANSP) NATS in 2014, the XMAN (Cross-Border Arrival Management) system aims to instruct pilots to slow down the speed of their aircraft up to 350 nautical miles from Heathrow to avoid delays and unnecessary fuel burn. NATS, which has also been collaborating with ANSPs in France and the Netherlands, says XMAN is so far delivering over 4,700 tonnes of fuel savings for airlines annually, representing nearly 15,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. It is a key concept of the Single European Sky initiative, which will require 24 airports across Europe to deploy XMAN procedures by 2024.