Farnborough Airport Pushes For Greener Operations

Photo sourced via Rushmoor Borough Council.
Photo sourced via Rushmoor Borough Council.

LONDON – One of the world’s busiest dedicated business and general aviation airports Farnborough Airport, UK, is betting on a green future as it looks to combat rising fuel costs and tackle its climate footprint.

The Airport Started Making Moves in 2018

The business airport made headlines in 2018 when it had been awarded carbon neutral status, and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) were made available to its customer in 2021. Sales of SAFs are gradually increasing despite prices hovering at 50% of Jet-A fuel. Nevertheless, the war in Ukraine has jacked the price of SAF. 

Moreover, this year, the airport introduced Electric Ground Power Units and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), which consequently slashed net greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%. This means that the airport is marking the beginning of the end of its diesel-powered cars on site. This is on par with the European standard of EN15940 to reduce NOx tailpipe emissions. 

Farnborough Airport CEO Simon Geere is upbeat about the green transformation of the airport. He stated that: “The introduction of HVO is another milestone in our sustainability program and an integral part in delivering against the government’s targets for net-zero carbon emissions.”

The continuation of post-COVID is gaining full steam and this justifies the business case of expanding and adapting to more sustainable growth. 

This summer will be an ambitious one for the airport. The airport will build a new state-of-the-art hangar facility branded the Domus III slated at a price tag of £55m. This new hangar will achieve the high environmental standard rated by a world-leading environmental assessment for infrastructure called BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment).

Geere added that: “The Farnborough Airport team recognizes that climate change is a clear and pressing issue and is committed to minimizing its environmental impact and improving environmental performance throughout its operations.”

Airport Begins To Plan for the Future

The airport is also looking ahead to ramp up its new electric aircraft infrastructure. The airport signed a memorandum of understanding with Vertical Aerospace, a British-based four-passenger eVTOL aircraft, which aims to bring commercial services in 2024. The airport sees a synergy between connecting eVTOL transport with business and general aviation. 

The move to electrification is still a long way to go as Farnborough is one of the preferred business airports in Europe. 90% of flights to and from the airport are short-haul to Europe, which questions the airport’s drive to go ‘green’. Meanwhile, transatlantic traffic to North America has significantly reduced due to the pandemic. Nice, Geneva, and Paris Le Bourget are the top destinations for outbound traffic. 

Last year, Farnborough witnessed 26,003 aircraft movements, almost 60 per cent of the pre-pandemic levels, with a  record total of 32,366 in 2019. This is a major improvement on the 19,952 figure in 2020. Monthly movements in March and April were 2,718 and 2,651, respectively, representing increases over the same time frame in pre-Covid 2019 of between 16 and 18 per cent.

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