The pledge, made at ACI Europe's Annual Congress & General Assembly in Cyprus, is the airport industry's self-imposed response to what it calls the "climate emergency" and the latest scientific evidence presented by the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.
This commitment comes alongside a call for the entire aviation sector to develop a joint ambition and initial roadmap towards a net zero carbon emissions air transport system.
ACI Europe insists that this is needed to supplement the significant efforts already being made by the aviation sector under ICAO’s Basket of Measures, including CORSIA.
Today’s pledge is backed by 194 airports run by 40 airport operators across 24 European countries – with each of them individually committing to the same objective.
This marks a step change in the climate action of the airport industry. Based on Europe’s airports current traffic volumes (2.34 billion passengers welcomed in 2018) and estimated carbon footprint, this net zero commitment will eliminate a total of 3.46 million tons of annual CO2 emissions as of 2050.
ACI Europe president and Munich Airport CEO, Dr Michael Kerkloh, noted: "Europe’s airports have been leading climate action with annual reductions announced every year for the past decade.
"Today, 43 of them have actually become carbon neutral, supported by the global industry standard Airport Carbon Accreditation. However, today’s commitment brings a new dimension to this – no offsets.
"Crucially, with its NetZero2050 commitment, the airport industry is aligning itself with the Paris Agreement and the ambitions of the vast majority of EU countries.”
He added: “Europe’s airports have already started delivering, and I am confident that many will reach net zero before 2050.
"There are already three net zero airports in Europe: Luleå, Ronneby and Visby – operated by the Swedish airport operator, Swedavia.
"Swedavia aims to achieve net zero emissions for all its airports including Stockholm-Arlanda by 2020 along with Hamburg airport by 2022, while Amsterdam-Schiphol, Eindhoven and Copenhagen airports have set this goal for 2030.”