Demand for air transport is still increasing. It is estimated that within 20 years it will exceed twice the current demand. Never before has the world been so much within reach. At the same time, the need for sustainable development taking into account the interest of the global ecosystem is more increasingly emphasized.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the launch of the first civilian regular flights in the world. Since then, the number of unique connections between cities has exceeded 22 thousand. The availability of direct air connections and a decrease in transport costs allow a rapid flow of people, goods, capital, innovation or technology, being one of the most important factors of globalization. Since the 1970s, the actual cost of travel by plane has decreased by more than 60%, which significantly increased the popularity of passenger flights. Unfortunately, the development of transport has also some disadvantages. The aviation industry emits approx. 2.5% of global carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
In Sweden, there was even created a special term, “flygskam”, i.e. shame linked to flying, resulted from the concern for the natural environment. How does the airline industry respond to these challenges? More and more aviation market participants consciously use their connections to participate in saving the planet. Substantial resources are invested to meet environmental challenges, and at the same time to develop in a sustainable way. Awareness of responsibility, searching for and applying innovative solutions, as well as creating partnerships, is the only way to neutralize the impact of the sector on the environment with the current demand for air transport.
GREEN AIRPORT ON THE GALÁPAGOS
When speaking of model management of environmental impact, the world’s first fully eco-friendly Seymour airport, located in the Galapagos archipelago in Ecuador, also known as the Galapagos Ecological Airport, should be mentioned. The airport is powered in 100% by renewable energy obtained from photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines. Recycled materials were used for the construction of the terminal, and the water used at the airport comes from a natural, plant-based desalination process.
The airport is equipped with natural lighting and up in the ceilings airways to ensure the building’s air conditioning. Moreover, the airport was certified to the GOLD LEVEL by the US GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL, becoming the first in the world as a whole construction. The airport is certified CARBON NEUTRALITY by the ACI (AIRPORTS COUNCIL INTERNATIONAL), becoming the first in Latin America & the Caribbean.
KLM CALLING FOR RESPONSIBILITY
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, a pioneer in the field of passenger flights, continues to set trends after one hundred years of operation, this time committing itself to playing the role of the leader in creating a sustainable future for aviation. In the latest “Fly Responsibly” campaign, the Dutch carrier advises on how to travel more responsibly, and encourages its customers to fly less frequently as well as use rail transport. This sounds counterintuitive, but in the long-term it is of great importance to the planet. Activities that KLM presents on its campaign website envisages the involvement of airlines, the entire industry and passengers themselves.
COALITION OF AIRPORTS TO REDUCE CO2 EMISSIONS
In 2009, Airport Council International (ACI) initiated the global Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, which regards the management of carbon dioxide emissions at airports. The programme includes four levels of accreditation, ranging from mapping, through reduction, optimization, to achieving full neutrality. Since 2015, the number of European airports participating in this initiative has increased from 92 to 133, and the number of airports with a carbon-neutral status has risen from 20 to 37. This year, Kraków Airport plans to join the group of green airports, and started the accreditation process as the first airport in Poland.