At the Second ACI EUROPE Aviation Sustainability Summit, that took place on 20 May, Lithuanian Airports have officially joined the European airport initiative Net Zero, which is aimed at achieving zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the environment by 2050 at the latest. The growing number of airports having signed the resolution significantly strengthened aspirations of European airports in combating climate change.
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on global aviation, the number of 24 European airports having joined the resolution, including Lithuanian Airports, proves that combating climate change is an important goal that the aviation sector sets for itself. All three Lithuanian air gates, being committed to reducing to zero by 2050 or earlier CO2 emissions from operations that they can control themselves, will try to reduce as far as possible the amount of electricity consumed for heating, cooling and lighting, to minimize fuel consumption of land vehicles and ancillary equipment, etc.
According to Marius Gelžinis, the CEO at Lithuanian Airports and the member of the Board of the Airports Council International, joining the Net Zero commitment is an important event for the air gates of the country because reducing the environmental impact of the aviation sector and sustainable activities represent important goals of Lithuanian Airports.
“In participating in the international airport greenhouse gas (GHG) management program 'Airport Carbon Accreditation' (ACA), Lithuanian Airports have already done a lot in the areas of emission assessment and reduction. Emissions from all three airports are calculated and certificates are renewed annually, Vilnius Airport Emission Reduction Plan is implemented - the lighting systems are being replaced with LED ones, the vehicle fleet is being upgraded with hybrid cars, and the solar power plant, which is installed on the new building of very important people (VIP terminal and conference centre), is operated, new buildings and parts thereof are designed according to the highest energy sustainability requirements. Acquisition of certificates of origin for electricity, confirming that the energy used last year at three air gates of the country was produced from renewable sources, was another important work that was done in 2020”, - says M. Gelžinis.
According to the Head of Lithuanian Airports, this year, work to reduce emissions to the environment will be carried out even more intensively. The interested parties plan, the main objective of which is to include emissions from partners operating at the airport in the overall CO2 accounting and to reduce them gradually, is currently being prepared at Vilnius Airport.
According to Jost Lammers, President of the Airports Council International and CEO at Munich Airport, Airports operating in Europe, have been purposefully pursuing for more than a decade to halt climate change by reducing emissions.
“The growing number of airports which are committed to achieving zero-emissions to the environment by 2050 shows that the airport market is in solidarity with the ambition of the European Green Deal to seek the status of the climate-neutral continent. We believe that joint efforts will make a significant contribution in addressing the global climate related problem. So, I want to congratulate Lithuanian Airports having joined the initiative, which is aimed at reconciling personal environmental and global climate protection goals”, - says Jost Lammers.
There are currently 10 airports in Europe having reached zero CO2 emissions. The Net Zero resolution remains open to airports that would decide to join the initiative. It can be reviewed at https://www.aci-europe.org/netzero
It is recalled that all three Lithuanian airports are also the members of the international Airport Carbon Accreditation programme: Vilnius Airport was and is the first in the Baltic States to move to the second level of the programme (aims to manage and reduce through specific measures the carbon footprint), and Kaunas and Palanga airports are at the first level (they undertake to calculate on an annual basis the carbon footprint related to their activities). However, in the near future, the latter two airports are aiming to move to a higher level.
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.