Bahrain airport seeks to become carbon neutral

BAHRAIN’S airport has taken a key step towards becoming a completely carbon-neutral facility.

The Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), the operator and manager of Bahrain International Airport (BIA), said it had set out a policy commitment to absolute emissions reduction.

The airport now meets all the requirements needed to upgrade to Level 4 ‘Transformation’ as stipulated by the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme of the Airports Council International (ACI) – the only institutionally-endorsed carbon management certification standard for airports.

According to ACA, at Level 4 ‘Transformation’ “airports are required to align their carbon management ambition with the global climate goals and transform their operations with absolute emissions reductions in mind, while also strengthening their stakeholder engagement.”

The programme has six increasingly stringent levels of accreditation: Mapping, Reduction, Optimisation, Neutrality, Transformation, and Transition, to recognise facilities that successfully manage and reduce their carbon footprint.

BIA is the second airport in the Middle East – after Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan – to reach level 4, becoming one of just 23 airports globally to hold this status.

BIA has expanded the scope of its carbon footprint to include waste management activities, the take-off and landing of all flights, and construction emissions, alongside all level 3 emission sources.

The BAC also established carbon reduction targets to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C. Accordingly, it developed a carbon management action plan that includes an emissions trajectory and expected carbon reductions from all projects planned until 2050.

The trajectory includes all carbon reduction activities planned, such as retrofitting projects aimed at upgrading the energy efficiency of BIA’s existing facilities and infrastructure.

Other carbon reduction projects include the installation of solar panels at multiple locations as renewable sources of energy, and the introduction of smart meters to improve the monitoring of electricity and water consumption at BAC’s facilities and those used by stakeholders.

The operator engaged its stakeholders in the net-zero journey by calculating their carbon footprints and setting a carbon reduction tracker for them as well as holding carbon management workshops during BIA environment committee meetings.

Commenting on the level 4 achievement during a ceremony recognising airport partners and the BAC Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) team, BAC chief executive Mohamed Al Binfalah said: “While many airports enlist the support of international consultants to support the programme and meet its requirements, BAC opted to empower its HSE team to undertake this challenge alone, spurred by their commitment and dedication to sustainability objectives.

“We remain committed to operating BIA as an environmentally-friendly facility and look forward to working collaboratively with our partners to further minimise its environmental impact,” he added.

He said making choices that have less harmful effects on the environment is imperative for the aviation ecosystem.

“In 2021, the global air transport sector pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Achieving this goal requires the co-ordinated efforts of the entire industry, including airports. BAC is proud to support this global initiative and raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment,” he explained.

“We are also keen to play a role in the government’s strategy to reach net-zero emissions by 2060, which will help to create a cleaner and more sustainable future for the kingdom.”

Carbon neutrality is achieved when any residual airport emissions are compensated through the purchases of carbon credits.

Carbon offsetting is providing funds to other projects that reduce carbon dioxide so as to make up for the emissions that cannot be completely eliminated by the airport.

An airport could, for example, pay for a wind energy facility to replace a coal-fired power-plant.




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