The board of Riga Airport in Latvia has approved the airport’s operational plan for achieving zero CO2 emissions by 2050.
The airport intends to reduce its own emissions from electricity, heat and fuel consumption to as close to zero as possible. It will then neutralize emissions that cannot be reduced through CO2 sequestration. According to Riga Airport, electricity, fuel and heat consumption, as well as surface de-icing, are the main sources of emissions at the airport. Consequently, the airport plans to switch these operations to alternative energy sources by developing a solar panel park, switching to transportation powered by alternative fuels, generating heat from renewable energy sources, modernizing the electricity grid, replacing apron and runway lighting with efficient LED lighting, and improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
However, a significant part of the CO2 emissions is not under the direct control of the airport but is associated with companies and organizations operating at the airport. This includes aircraft fuel consumption, energy and fuel consumption by ground handlers and airport tenants, aircraft de-icing, wastewater treatment, and carriage of passengers and airport staff to and from the airport. That is why the airport’s Net Zero 2050 Roadmap also specifically highlights cooperation with stakeholders, including cooperation in the construction of Rail Baltica (a rail transportation infrastructure project to integrate the Baltic States into the European rail network), the development of suitable charging infrastructure to facilitate the use of electric vehicles, cooperation with local authorities to develop suitable micromobility infrastructure and other measures to tackle the impacts of climate change.
Riga Airport joined the Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe) Net Zero 2050 initiative in the summer of 2021, demonstrating its commitment to achieving zero CO2 emissions from its operations by 2050 and not causing any emissions that cannot be avoided or compensated by the appropriate disposal of an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases. In 2020, Riga Airport became internationally certified at Level 2 of the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) program and plans to achieve the highest level, Level 4+, by 2050.
Laila Odiņa, chair of the Riga Airport company board, said, “Riga Airport is ready to contribute to the achievement of global climate goals and to consider the necessary business transformation in advance. The Net Zero Roadmap is an essential complement to our sustainability strategy: we continue the dedicated work to reduce harmful emissions from airport operations, including the possibility of becoming certified to a higher level of the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) program in a few years.”