Not just the runway, the apron and the taxiway will be renovated at Palanga Airport, which was closed for reconstruction in early September - sustainable engineering solutions, which will make all processes more environmentally friendly, also will be implemented during the reconstruction. Together with other airports in the Lithuanian Airports network, the air gateway in Palanga aims to become in the future a zero-carbon airport.
According to Marius Gelžinis, CEO at Lithuanian Airports, the specific environmentally friendly solutions, which are being implemented during the reconstruction, will make a significant contribution to the goal set by all three of the country’s air gates – to achieve zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
‘We take a responsible attitude to long-term sustainability goals. For this reason, this spring we joined the European airport initiative Net Zero, which is aimed at achieving zero CO2 emissions by 2050 at the latest. Of course, we understand that the fight against climate change is a complex process that involves not only airports but also the businesses that operate at them. Much remains to be done on the part of infrastructure management. But the vision for the future is clear, and, without a modern infrastructure, as a basis for everything, we could not expect any more positive breakthrough in this direction. We have no doubt that, through purposeful work, we will be able to achieve the main goal of Net Zero in a shorter time than envisaged in the long-term program’, - says M. Gelžinis.
Will save electricity
During the reconstruction, the signal light system at Palanga Airport will be substantially reorganised. The system will become not only more efficient but also more environmentally friendly. The metal halide lamps, that were used in accordance with the project, will be replaced with economical LED lights. During these works, a 95-kilometer-long cable network will be laid and 667 new lights will be installed.
Electricity consumption for the lighting of the runway alone is expected to decrease by about 20% after the reconstruction. The statistics of Vilnius Airport shows similar electricity savings after the modernization.
‘It is now difficult to say exactly how much electricity will be saved, because this depends on the intensity of traffic at the airport. But we know that, after the LED system was installed at Vilnius Airport, nearly 450 MWh of electricity were saved over a period of five years’, - says M. Gelžinis.
The issue of CO2 reduction will be also addressed during the reconstruction of Palanga Airport through the installation, in the apron itself, of specialised Aircraft Ground Power Units (GPU) at certain aircraft parking lots. After their installation, it will be possible to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at Palanga Airport - in most cases, electricity facilities, that were previously delivered to the aircraft by diesel cars, will no longer be required.
Collecting of surface water
During the reconstruction of Palanga Airport surfaces, the surface run-off water collection and treatment system will be reconstructed and will become much more efficient. ‘We will have the possibility of collecting surface run-off water, and this is one of the most important qualitative changes. This is particularly important during the cold season of the year when, before taking-off, aircrafts are poured over with a special anti-icing fluid. It will be possible in the future to transport the collected surface run-off water for treatment to Vilnius Airport, since there are plans to build in the airport a plant for processing of such run-off water‘, - says M. Gelžinis.
Armands Svikis, Executive Director of Latvian company A.C.B., which is currently reconstructing Palanga Airport, says that all work is carried out using sustainable technologies and modern solutions.
‘We used the same solutions during the reconstruction of Vilnius and Riga airports. Therefore, we are certain of their effectiveness’, - notes A. Svikis. – ‘We carry out works at Palanga Airport in accordance with all necessary environmental requirements, supervision of work safety is done according to standards of airports and our internal standards’.
Almost all materials used by the contractor and construction waste that will remain after the reconstruction will be recycled: milled asphalt, mineral materials, concrete will be prepared in advance according to existing standards and they will be reused in construction or to meet temporary construction needs.
The pandemic has adjusted the plans
In addition to Net Zero, all three of the country’s air gates participate in the international airport greenhouse gas (GHG) management program 'Airport Carbon Accreditation' (ACA). About two and a half hundred airports worldwide participate in the program. Participation in the program obliges to assess and reduce not only electricity consumption, but also consumption of thermal energy, fuel, chemicals, and later - the consumption of aviation fuel.
Palanga Airport had to move to the second stage of this program already in 2021. However, the goal has been carried over to the next year after airports have reduced the extent of their activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is planned that in the future all Lithuanian airports will achieve zero CO2 emissions. To this end, there are plans to expand more actively solar power plants in the territories of all airports. A solar power plant has already been installed on the roof of the VIP terminal belonging to Vilnius Airport. Lithuanian Airports have replaced most of their vehicles with vehicles powered by electricity or hybrid engines. Businesses that operate at the airport are also encouraged to follow such an example.
About Lithuanian Airports
The network of Lithuanian Airports includes three air gates in Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga. In 2020, 1.8 million passengers and 30 thousand flights were served at Lithuanian Airports.