Northern Germany's biggest airport takes on leading role in reducing CO2 emmissions

Hamburg Airport is the first major commercial airport in Germany to successfully transition to CO2-neutral operation. The company announced that it meets the strict requirements of the European airport association Airports Council International Europe (ACI) for certification of CO2 neutrality. Northern Germany's largest airport continues to expand its pioneering role in climate protection, building on reduced energy consumption, innovative technologies, nature conservation projects and high-quality offset certificates to effectively reduce its emissions.

Accompanied by Andreas Dressel, Hamburg's Finance Senator, and Senator for Economic Affairs Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg Airport CEO Michael Eggenschwiler today was awarded confirmation that the airport has achieved CO2 neutrality. The award is especially significant because it meets strict Airport Carbon Accreditation guidelines. The airport's long-term strategy focusses on a palette of measures and forestation projects. Hamburg Airport has committed to continuously optimizing its buildings to reduce emisissions further. Measures include improving efficiency of ventilation and air-conditioning systems, expanding use of the local heating network as well as pushing forward with the transition to ultra-efficient LED lighting. LED systems consume significantly less energy and save emissions in airport terminals as well as operational areas.

In the terminal buildings, a thermal labyrinth provides environmentally friendly air conditioning. Located 11 meters underground, the system draws in outside that is naturally precooled or preheated before it enters the air conditioning systems in the terminals. Hamburg Airport covers around 70 percent of its thermal energy needs with its own heat and power plant. This highly efficient plant runs on natural gas, while its green electricity is produced through renewable sources that is 100% free of CO2 emissions-

Without a drop of fossil diesel for over five years

The apron vehicle fleet has been almost completely converted to alternative drive systems and fuels. At Hamburg Airport, airstairs are run using solar power. Although tugs currently run on natural gas, the airport intends to switch to hydrogen and battery vehincles in the future. The airport has been operating without fossil diesel for more than five years. Hamburg Airport was the first international commercial airport to switch all its diesel-powered vehicles to a synthetic, low-emission fuel at the end of 2016. On its 750-hectare forest site in Kaltenkirchen, the airport is currently planting an additional 50 hectares of new forest using selected climate-stable tree species.

Hamburg Airport looks to completely eliminate CO2 emissions

Since 2009, Hamburg Airport has reduced its annual CO2 emissions by almost 80 percent, from 40,000 tons to 8,700 tons per year. In order to fully compensate for the remaining CO2 emissions, Hamburg Airport currently has to invest in high-quality compensation certificates. In cooperation with FirstClimate, Hambrug Airport uses these certificates to support ecological projects that demonstrably reduce CO2 emissions. As the company makes further progress towards cutting its emissions, the amount of compensation certificates purchased will also gradually decrease. The long-term goal is to completely eliminate carbon dioxide emissions altogether.

Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO at Hamburg Airport, comments: "Despite the economic difficulties caused by the Corona pandemic, we have been pushing ahead with our climate protection goals as our highest priority. We are delighted to be the first major German airport to achieve CO2 neutrality. Today, we benefit from the fact that innovative environemntal work has been carried out by our dedicated team of experts at the airport for more than three decades. The only reason we have been able to achieve CO2 neutrality now os that we started working towards this goal over ten years ago. In this way, as a municipal company, we are setting a good example and making our contribution to achieving Hamburg's climate protection targets."

Dr. Andreas Dressel, Senator of the Ministry of Finance, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, agrees: "Our Hamburg Airport is making great strides in terms of climate protection and is a pioneer for Germany. The airport company, in which the city of Hamburg holds a majority stake, is setting the pace here. After all, we want our public-sector companies to achieve climate neutrality within the next two decades at the latest. Energy transition and climate protection is a key focus and a common mission for all our public companies. This applies even more now than before the Corona crisis and the war in Ukraine."

"Hamburg has a special responsibility as one of the largest international aviation locations," says Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg's Senator for Economics and Innovation. "The goal is to transform air traffic toward CO2-free and quieter aviation. The current crisis offers the opportunity to initiate this process at all levels and to accompany it with appropriate support programs. Hamburg Airport is following this path tenaciously. Hamburg Airport aims to take the next step and achieve zero CO2 emissions in airport operations by 2035. I am convinced that they will succeed."