Heathrow has set out its plans to expand operations and become carbon neutral. The airport has outlined its approach to four key areas to reduce and offset carbon emissions from the growth in the number of flights created by an additional runway.
The plan outlines action on four key areas including: cleaner aircraft technology, improvements to airspace and ground operations, sustainable aviation fuels, and carbon offsetting methods.
To encourage cleaner aircraft technology, Heathrow will treat environmental performance of aircraft as a key consideration of slot allocations for new flights; offer free landing fees for a year at the airport for the first commercially viable electric flight; continue offering cheaper landing fees for cleaner and quieter aircraft; and review the infrastructure requirements for charging electric aircraft through the Heathrow Centre of Excellence for Sustainability.
For airspace and ground operations, Heathrow aims to support the government’s plans on modernizing airspace. This includes the potential elimination of routine stacking for aircraft coming to land, reducing emissions from aircraft on the ground through reduced taxi times, increasing access to on-stand power sources, and having fewer engines used while moving around the airport.
To promote the use of sustainable alternative fuels, Heathrow says it aims to make the airport a leading hub for the development and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels by providing the necessary airport infrastructure, and support for pilot projects.
Elsewhere, Heathrow will continue investing in UK peatland restoration and other projects to play a role in developing the next generation of UK carbon offsets.
Over coming months, Heathrow will seek feedback from members in the aviation industry, advocacy groups and climate change experts to set out further details in its plan. Members of the public will then have an opportunity to feed into this process – including plans to mitigate road traffic and construction – in the next statutory consultation on Heathrow expansion in the summer of 2019.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive at Heathrow, said, “Climate change is the biggest challenge facing our generation. But it is not aviation that’s the enemy – it is carbon. We are committed to taking the lead to deliver carbon neutral growth in aviation, and the plan we launch today sets out the roadmap to get there.”