BUD scores 4+ on a scale of 5: Budapest Airport becomes the first in Central Europe to achieve global carbon management certification

Budapest Airport has stepped up another level in environmentally conscious operation: it has achieved level 4+ “Transition” in Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation program. Less than ten percent of the more than 550 airports participating in the assessment, only 52 airports, to be precise, have currently achieved this level, and Budapest Airport is the first airport in the Central European region to attain this certification.

Airport Carbon Accreditation, established by Airports Council International (ACI), is the only global, institutionally approved program that assesses the carbon emissions of the world’s airports, using a rigorous certification scheme, on a scale of one to five. Budapest Airport has moved up this certification scale by achieving a 4+ “Transition” rating. This upgrade confirms that the airport fully offsets the direct carbon emissions from its operations and is working with its partners to reduce emissions. In addition, Budapest Airport has set a long-term absolute emissions reduction target, developed a stakeholder partnership scheme and established a Carbon Management Plan, in line with the Paris Agreement targets, including a reduction pathway along which it will achieve these targets.

In order to achieve level 4+ “Transition” of the Airport Carbon Accreditation program, Budapest Airport has in recent years added new elements to the measurement of indirect carbon emissions from the activities of companies operating at the airport, in addition to reducing its own emissions. During data collection, the airport operator has taken into account, among other things, information on the materials used for the de-icing of aircraft, roads, taxiways and aprons, the amount of fuel used by subcontractors during construction and development works, as well as the routes and the treatment of waste and waste water. Measurements also include the total amount of fuel supplied to airlines and mapping the commuting habits of airport staff. The resulting comprehensive analysis will help Budapest Airport to further reduce the environmental impacts of the airport, together with its partners, and achieve net zero emissions target set by ACI by 2035.

The criteria for level 4+ “Transition” are fulfilled by only 10% of the airports participating in the program, currently a total of 52 airports,1 with Ferenc Liszt International Airport being the first in the Central European region to achieve this certification.

Budapest Airport has been following a consistent strategy for years, working closely with its partners to reduce the environmental impacts of the airport. It is continuously expanding its fleet of electric vehicles and developing its e-charging infrastructure, thus also encouraging its partner companies to develop e-mobility. As a result, 96 charging points are available for electric vehicles and more than 130 electric ground service equipment are already performing their tasks at the airport on a daily basis. Electric vehicle charging is also available for passengers; there are already 35 charging points in public car parks. From January 2023, 100% of the airport’s total electricity consumption are covered by renewable energy sources, and work is underway to develop a 7.5 MW solar farm and to prepare the development of a geothermal heating system for the airport. Thanks to the measures implemented so far, the company has reduced its direct carbon emissions by more than 70% over the last ten years and has also performed exceptionally well in waste management, recycling 73% of its municipal and packaging waste in 2023, more than double the rate of the population. The company has also reduced its natural gas consumption by 22% in one year.

Olivier Jankovec, the director general of ACI EUROPE emphasized: “I have only praise for Budapest Airport’s latest achievement within Airport Carbon Accreditation. The Hungarian hub has reached another critical step in carbon management, as it has become certified at level 4+ Transition, which means it has fully aligned its carbon reduction pathway with the ambitious climate goals of the Paris Agreement. BUD is the first airport in Central Europe to reach this level of carbon management maturity, and with its target to achieve net zero emissions already by 2035 for CO2 emissions under its control, the airport is also clearly a leader in terms of climate action at global level. Hats off to the entire team for this significant achievement!”

“As a responsible airport operator, we are convinced that rapid action is needed to protect the environment and integrate sustainable practices into our daily operations,” said Kam Jandu, the CEO of Budapest Airport. He added: “Achieving level 4+ “Transition” confirms that with a consistent strategy, combined with a passionate and knowledgeable team, the airport is able to fulfil its essential operations in a more sustainable way. The next step will be to achieve ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation level 5, which will mean attaining net zero emissions, and we aim to realize this by 2035 at the latest.”

The main goal: Net zero emissions by 2035

In 2019, Budapest Airport joined ACI’s NetZero by 2050 initiative, which set the target of achieving net zero carbon emissions from the operation of participating organizations by 2050 at the latest. Budapest Airport, however, has set itself the ambitious target to reduce its carbon emissions to zero 15 years ahead of the deadline, by 2035 at the latest.