Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, India, has achieved carbon neutrality via the Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation program. The airport is the second in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve Level 3+ Neutrality after Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport achieved the same feat in September 2016.
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), the consortium responsible for operating Hyderabad Airport, achieved carbon neutrality by adopting several environmental measures in phases across a seven-year period. Most recently this included commissioning a 5MW solar power plant; the installation of LED lighting throughout the terminal and approach roads; the installation of air conditioning units that optimize their performance according to ambient temperature and weather conditions; and the upkeep and cultivation of the airport’s surrounding gardens. The various energy conservation programs have resulted in a 30% reduction in carbon emissions over the last seven years, even though passenger traffic has doubled over the same period.
Other energy efficient and environment friendly infrastructures at the airport include a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant (STP) and water treatment plant (WTP); rain water harvesting; solid waste management; a composting plant; energy efficient bridge mounted equipment (BME); advanced fuel hydrant systems; fixed electric ground power units (FEGP); battery operated vehicles; acoustic enclosures to the diesel generator sets; and online continuous environmental monitoring stations to monitor ambient air, ambient noise and weather parameters.
SGK Kishore, CEO, GHIAL, said, “The Level3+ Neutrality status awarded by ACI under its Airport Carbon Accreditation program is a significant achievement for Hyderabad Airport. This achievement is an outcome of our sustained efforts toward the environment by proactive energy conservation measures, generation of renewable energy (solar), carbon sinking through extensive greenbelt and various other environmental protection measures with the active support of the airport’s stakeholders. Through this, GHIAL has demonstrated its commitment to support the Government of India’s resolution on the nation’s carbon footprint and oblige to COP 21 Global Climate Agreement with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in April 2016.”
Patti Chau, regional director, ACI Asia-Pacific, said, “Congratulations to the Hyderabad Airport team for the excellent achievement in becoming carbon neutral under Airport Carbon Accreditation. We are proud of Hyderabad Airport’s accomplishment, which is no easy task. The achievement demonstrates the airport’s continuous commitment to reduce its environmental impacts and reduce and offset emissions. ACI will continue to work with our airport members in their journey toward carbon neutrality which is crucial for the long-term development of our industry.”
The ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation program was launched in 2009, and certifies airports at four levels: Mapping (Level 1), Reduction (Level 2), Optimization (Level 3) and Neutrality (Level 3+). Carbon neutrality occurs when the net carbon emissions over an entire year are zero, meaning the airport absorbs or offsets the same amount of emissions that were generated. Hyderabad achieved Levels 1 and 2 of the program in 2012, and Level 3 in 2013.