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NEWS Last modified on May 16, 2016

BLOG: A parking initiative that helps airports reduce carbon emissions

Airports are under ever increasing pressure to implement more eco-friendly solutions and services, writes AeroParker's CEO, Jon Keefe. 

Not only does the responsibility of greener approaches create a clearer message to passengers, it’s also an opportunity for new business developments within future airport plans.

So where does AeroParker; an ecommerce platform that enables airports to sell car parking and other ancillaries directly to passengers before they arrive at the airport, fit in to creating greener airports?

Well more of that later, firstly some facts:

• The Community Observatory on Airport Capacity (COAC), reported that up to 50% of an airport’s carbon footprint can be due to passenger access. In other words landside.

• Moreover, the European Commission implemented a strategy (Transport 2050) which through its aims should dramatically reduce carbon emissions in transport by 60% by 2050. This is going to be a challenge in view of the expected air traffic growth. The National Air Traffic Services is forecasting that air traffic in countries like the UK will increase by 45%, which will undoubtedly have an enormous impact on the environment.

• There is a programme named, Airport Carbon Accreditation, launched by ACI, which aims to encourage and recognise airports who are ambitious with carbon management efforts around the world. There are 4 levels of certification within the framework.

With these facts outlined, we now return to where does AeroParker and pre-book parking fit with an airport moving towards carbon neutrality?

Carbon Management at airports is about CO2 emissions, understanding CO2 levels and moving towards carbon neutrality.

To date, in respect of Airport Carbon Accreditation, 155 airports worldwide are certified at one of the four ascending levels of the programme (mapping, reduction, optimisation, neutrality), representing 32.6% of worldwide passenger traffic.

At the optimisation and neutrality levels, airports are required to take into account emissions produced by third parties at an airport – which usually covers passenger access. Reducing emissions stemming from passenger access can thus help airports become certified at the highest levels of the programme.
The key is that pre-booking parking passengers are only making one trip to the airport’s car park, and another trip on their return when they exit the car park. Whereas both taxis and vehicles performing kiss and fly drop off for example make 4 journeys in transporting a passenger to and from the airport.

Whilst saving time and reducing traffic, pre book parking drivers are lowering the airport’s carbon producing journeys by 50% as they are making half of the commutes to and from the airport’s landside area compared with taxis and kiss and fly.

On average 20% of passengers in the UK take a taxi to the airport (CAA, 2015). This means for an airport of five million O&D passengers there would be one million taxi drop journeys per annum.

With an average journey of 65Km to and from an airport by car or taxi and with an average of 121.3g/Km of CO2 emitted by a newly registered UK car, (DVLA/DfT, 2015) the math’s is simple.

If an airport of five million O&D passengers could convert 1% of taxi journeys or kiss and fly drop offs to pre book parking this would be equivalent to 10,000 journeys.
Our system enables an airport to incentivise passengers to convert their mode of transport to the airport from taxi or kiss and fly to pre book parking. And for every 10,000 journeys that are converted then an average of 157.6 tonnes of CO2 is saved.

To put that into perspective that is enough CO2 to power a 13-watt CF lightbulb for 1,384 years continuously! (YouSustain, 2016)

If we can cut the number of trips made in and around the landside area of an airport by even a fraction, the difference in our clients carbon footprint is meaningful. It is in everyone’s best interest to develop a sustainable future for our airports. 

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Joe Bates

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