Heathrow Airport has revealed its plan for ‘carbon neutral growth,’ outlining the role it will play on four key areas to reduce emissions from the addition of a third runway.
Published today, the plan builds on the momentum of technological change in the aviation industry to make travel more sustainable, with the four key areas including cleaner aircraft technology, improvements to airspace and ground operations, sustainable aviation fuels, and carbon offsetting methods.
On aircraft technology, Heathrow will consider environmental performance of aircraft as a key factor for slot allocations of new flights, as well as continue offering cheaper landing fees for cleaner and quieter aircraft. It is also offering free landing fees for a year for the first commercially viable electric aircraft, and plans to start work on reviewing infrastructure requirements for charging electric aircraft through Heathrow’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainability.
On airspace and ground operations, Heathrow will reduce emissions from aircraft on the ground through reduced taxi times, increased access to on-stand power sources, and fewer engines used while moving around the airport. The airport also intends to support the Government’s plans on modernising airspace, which includes the potential elimination of routine stacking for aircraft coming to land.
Heathrow goes green
The airport has also pledged to provide infrastructure and support for pilot projects to promote the use of sustainable alternative aircraft fuels, as well as lobby ICAO to develop goals for the uptake of such fuels.
Heathrow Chief Executive, John Holland-Kaye said, “Climate change is the biggest challenge facing our generation. But it is not aviation that’s the enemy – it is carbon. We are committed to taking the lead to deliver carbon neutral growth in aviation, and the plan we launch today sets out the roadmap to get there.”
The news follows the launch of a new £25,000 competition on Friday from British Airways and Cranfield University to help fund research to develop a sustainable alternative fuel that could power a commercial aircraft on a long-haul flight capable of carrying up to 300 passengers with zero net emissions.