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Athens International Airport becomes carbon neutral


11 Jan 2017


Climate & Environment

Athens International Airport becomes the first carbon neutral airport in Greece

Over 20 million passengers passed through the airport in 2016

There are now 25 carbon neutral airports in Europe, 2 in Asia and 1 in North America

180 airports are now Airport Carbon Accredited, welcoming 37.3% of global passenger traffic

Brussels: At the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris in December 2015, the airport industry committed to have 50 carbon neutral airports in Europe by 2030. Today we announce the latest airport to reach that goal: Athens International Airport which has achieved carbon neutral status (Level 3+), certified by the independent carbon management programme Airport Carbon Accreditation.

Niclas Svenningsen, who heads the Climate Neutral Now initiative at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat in Bonn, Germany commented «The news that Athens International Airport has become carbon neutral through Airport Carbon Accreditation is a great way to kick off 2017. The ambitious efforts of a growing number of carbon neutral airports are testament to how seriously this industry is working on addressing its direct impact on climate change. With 25 European airports now carbon neutral, the airport industry is already halfway towards meeting its pledge at COP21. We look forward to more progress in the year ahead.»

This brings the total number of carbon neutral airports around the world to 28 – a movement that began when Swedavia’s Stockholm-Arlanda airport achieved certification as the first carbon neutral airport in the world in November 2009. Across the 4 available levels of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, there are currently a total of 180 airports, working to address their CO2 emissions. These airports welcome 37.3% of global passenger traffic.

Since its opening in 2001, Athens International Airport has had an ardent and ever-evolving environmental agenda. Among other things, it was one of the first airports to invest in solar technology, building a €20 million photovoltaic park on the airport site, as a source of clean, sustainable power. It was also among the early adopters who became accredited in the very first year of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme (2009), renewing and successfully upgrading its certification over the intervening years.

Reacting to the news, Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI EUROPE commented « I am delighted for Athens International Airport (AIA). Since its inception, AIA has been an ambitious and worthy addition to the European airport network - one that is always looking to innovate and push the boundaries of excellence in all aspects of airport management & efficiency. In that spirit, it was one of the earliest advocates of the need for a carbon standard for the airport industry and has been an active participant in the Airport Carbon Accreditation from the very outset. So my heartfelt congratulations to all the team at AIA on their achievement of becoming carbon neutral – another of their ambitions realised! »     

Dr Yiannis Paraschis, CEO of Athens International Airport commented « By achieving carbon neutrality, Athens International Airport continues to tangibly demonstrate its commitment to the fight against climate change. We are proud to be among leading airports, not only as a major economic engine, but also through our reduced ecological footprint thanks to the environmental awareness and complementary efforts of our colleagues and partners across the airport community.

Athens airport managed to drastically reduce its carbon footprint, from 2005 through 2015, following a years-long effort to diminish energy consumption in its installations, through a number of interventions and investments in more efficient equipment among other actions. Additionally, Athens International Airport continues to plan additional energy and fuel saving measures, such as the certification of our energy management system as per ISO 50001, the continued modernisation of airport equipment, and the optimisation of operation of our energy systems. » 



In parallel, Larnaca International Airport and Paphos International Airport in Cyprus and Toulon Airport in France have recently entered the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme at the ‘Mapping’ level, embarking on the journey to better carbon management.

To find out more about the programme including the carbon reduction achieved in Year 7 ((June 2015 to May 2016), visit the programme’s dedicated results microsite:






The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has estimated that aviation’s total CO2 emissions account for 2% of global emissions’ impact on climate change. Of that figure, airports’ own operations only account for up to 5%, but airports are keen to tackle their greenhouse gas emissions – several individual airports operators having already committed to becoming carbon neutral in the past few years with some having already achieved this.

The Airport Carbon Accreditation programme - launched by the airport association ACI EUROPE in 2009 - certifies airports at 4 different levels of accreditation covering all stages of carbon management (1. Mapping, 2. Reduction, 3. Optimisation and 3+. Neutrality). It is independently administered, institutionally-endorsed¹ and has the support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the European Union (EU) and others.

Airports are at different points on this journey to become cleaner and more efficient. As the centrepoints of a complex web of aircraft movements, technical operations and surface access transport, airports can address their CO2 emissions in a variety of ways. These can include better insulation and energy efficiency, switching to green energy sources, investing in hybrid, electric or gas-powered service vehicles, encouraging employees, passengers & visitors to use public transport, working with airlines & air traffic management to reduce runway taxiing times and implement green landing processes and much more.

Originally developed and launched by ACI Europe in June 2009, Airport Carbon Accreditation was extended to airports in Asia-Pacific, in November 2011 (in partnership with ACI Asia-Pacific) and to African airports in June 2013, (in partnership with ACI Africa) and North American airports in September 2014 (in partnership with ACI-NA).


¹The programme is administered by leading consultancy WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff and overseen by an independent Advisory Board including representatives from the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change), ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme), the European Commission, ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference), EUROCONTROL and Manchester Metropolitan University.

As the programme administrator, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff assesses and approves the airports under the programme, provides administrative and secretariat services and advises applicant airports through the accreditation process. WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff is one of the world’s leading professional services firms. Amongst others it provides services to transform the built environment and restore the natural one and expertise ranging from environmental / climate remediation to urban and transport planning, to designing and implementing sustainable transport networks and strategies, to airport sustainability carbon management and energy planning and management.


To find out which airports are certified & their level of certification, visit:


For more information, contact : Robert O’Meara, Director, Media & Communications, ACI EUROPE

email : tel : +32 486 54 14 71


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