Green commute to the airport: together towards sustainable airports

What can we do to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of commuting to the airport? What are the alternative, sustainable ways of doing that? How can the ecological footprint of a passenger or airport staff member be reduced? These were among the questions requiring complex solutions that Budapest Airport sought to answer, with the help of transport development experts, as part of an EU project called LAirA, the international closing conference of which was held on 5 December at Terminal 1.

Environmental protection has numerous aspects relating to the way we access airports; tens of thousands of people commute to airports by road on a daily basis. To reduce the energy consumption and the environmental pollution resulting from this, the habits of passengers and airport staff members need to be changed, in addition to many other possible developments. As part of sustainable operation, Budapest Airport, the operator of Ferenc Liszt International Airport, pays special attention to the accessibility of the airport, from an environmental and infrastructural aspect as well. These efforts fit in well with the development concepts of the partners participating in the “Sustainable airport accessibility” project. The 14 partners, which included Central European airports, development agencies and local municipalities, formulated their development ideas in the LAirA (Landside Airport Accessibility) project, which was supported by the EU’s Interreg CE (Central-Europe) program. The aim of the project is to aid the integration of intelligent and low-emission transport solutions into the daily commute to urban airports.

As part of the project, Budapest Airport conducted a survey amongst passengers and employees last year. The results revealed that 60% of staff commute to work by car. To reduce the environmental pollution resulting from this, the airport operator developed a mobile application together with Oszkár, a Hungarian ride sharing service provider, whereby employees can share their trips with each other, and thus reduce the environmental burdens of their commute to work.

Using the information and the international best practices gathered in the course of the LAirA project, Budapest Airport also formulated its own, comprehensive mobility strategy. The construction of a turbo roundabout between main road number 4 and Terminal 2 commenced this year, which will manage the increasing passenger traffic of the airport and the cargo traffic turning off towards the newly opened Cargo City rapidly and efficiently. Budapest Airport also increased the number of chargers for electric vehicles available around the airport; 4 dedicated e-chargers are provided for cars used in airport operation. More charging stations are being established and the vehicles used at the airport are being replaced on a continuous basis. Our partners operating at the airport are also developing; the electric taxis used by Főtaxi can use 5 fast chargers and passengers arriving at the airport with electric vehicles have access to a fast charger in Terminal Parking. The airport operator also provides 15 dedicated parking spaces for the users of the MOL Limo car sharing service, with 6 charging stations to be installed during the summer of 2020.

An airport is a city in a city; BUD operates day and night on an area of approximately 1500 hectares, with numerous buildings and its own infrastructure. Accordingly, airport operation requires a comprehensive approach and mindset, whereby Budapest Airport has implemented numerous environmental protection measures. Ferenc Liszt International Airport has been certified carbon neutral for more than two years now, and has committed to reduce the harmful emissions of the airport to zero by 2050.

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