Sustainability

Climate Change

Climate Change

The AA and its key aviation-related business partners commit to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2050, with a midpoint target of 55% absolute emissions reduction by 2035 from a 2018 baseline.

The impacts of climate change are being observed worldwide, with countries experiencing more frequent and intense extreme weather events. Given the location of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and the criticality of its operations to Hong Kong and the neighbouring region, the Airport Authority (AA) recognises the importance of assessing, planning, and preparing for climate change and the impacts it can have on HKIA's operations and future development.

Recognising the goals of the Paris Agreement, the AA will significantly curb its emissions over the next 30 years and work collaboratively with business partners to reduce its direct and indirect emissions to accelerate the transition of HKIA to a low-carbon and climate-resilient airport.

Our Story

A Climate-resilient Airport

A Climate-resilient Airport

In 2020, the AA commenced the Climate Resilience Study to review and strengthen HKIA's operational resilience and adaptive capacity to a changing climate. As part of the Study, the AA applied the consideration of four climate scenarios adopted from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) (i.e., RCP8.5, RCP6.0, RCP4.5 & RCP2.6) and an additional sea level rise scenario (i.e., H++) to determine the types of climate-related risks and opportunities that might be relevant to the AA and airport operations.

Details of the AA’s approach to tackle climate change and manage its associated risks and opportunities are presented in the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Statement.

A Low-carbon Airport

A Low-carbon Airport

Given that airport business partners contribute over 60% of HKIA's carbon footprint, the AA works closely with the airport community under an airport-wide approach to set targets, implement carbon reduction measures, and drive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. The HKIA Carbon Reduction Programme is a platform for the airport community to measure, reduce and report carbon emissions and share best practices. Since 2008, the AA and airport business partners have made two pledges to reduce HKIA's airport-wide carbon emissions.

  • In 2008, the AA and 40 business partners pledged to reduce airport-wide carbon intensity by 25% by 2015 from a 2008 baseline.
  • In 2016, the AA and 53 business partners made a second airport-wide carbon reduction pledge to further reduce carbon intensity by 10% by 2020, compared with 2015 levels. 

Details of HKIA’s carbon emissions are available in the AA Sustainability Report 2020/21.

Long-term Carbon Reduction Target

In April 2020, the AA commenced a study to set a new long-term airport-wide carbon reduction target. The study concluded with a recommended target that aligns with the IPCC 1.5°C scenario, the HKSAR Government's 2050 carbon neutrality target and the Airports Council International (ACI) Long Term Carbon Goal of Net Zero Carbon by 2050. The new absolute emission reduction target is:

  • The AA and its key aviation-related business partners commit to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2050, with a midpoint target of 55% absolute emissions reduction by 2035 from a 2018 baseline.

Business Partners Engagement

To achieve the proposed midpoint target, the AA has established a carbon management action plan and a Business Partners Carbon Support Programme which includes key pillars on:

  • Finance – a dedicated Green Innovation and Technology Fund to help pilot new technologies and accelerate decarbonisation;
  • Governance – a structure comprised of key stakeholders across the airport to tighten partnership and accelerate decision making;
  • Technology and innovation – an airport-wide approach to coordinate and streamline efforts to identify, evaluate and pilot new technologies; and
  • Capacity building – an airport-wide tailored capacity building programme to develop the necessary skills and awareness required across the airport community to achieve the target.

In addition, the AA developed the Carbon Audit System as an online reporting platform to calculate and monitor HKIA's airport-wide carbon emissions. Business partners participating in the programme can use the system at no cost, enabling them to calculate and analyse their carbon performance on a single unified platform.

The AA's Climate Mitigation Strategy

The AA's Climate Mitigation Strategy

In addition to the airport-wide approach, the AA has established a climate mitigation strategy focusing on three areas: energy efficiency, clean transportation, and green buildings.

Energy Management and Energy Efficiency

Within the AA, energy consumption, in particular electricity, is the major contributor, accounting for over 90% of GHG emissions. The AA has established an ISO 50001-certified energy management system covering all terminal buildings. The AA has also been leveraging the latest technologies to drive improvements in energy performance, and hence reduce its GHG emissions. For example, a cloud-based building analytics system has been installed for Terminal 1 (T1), T1 Midfield Concourse and T1 Satellite Concourse. The system utilises big data analytics to detect and diagnose potential equipment faults or operational irregularities, monitoring a variety of equipment parameters and terminal conditions in real-time. Its artificial intelligence engine can detect and determine the root cause of operational irregularities and make suggestions to improve energy efficiency.

Innovative Energy Management Solutions

Innovative Energy Management Solutions

The AA has developed the Weather Forecast for Air-conditioning Control System (Weather FACTS) and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) to enhance HKIA's energy efficiency.

Weather FACTS automatically collects hourly weather data, such as temperature, humidity, cloud amount, wind direction, wind speed and solar radiation, from the Hong Kong Observatory, and HKIA’s own flight index, passenger flow and seawater temperature information. It employs big data and machine learning to forecast the cooling demand of T1 over the next 24 hours. Based on the forecast, the chiller system is set to deliver the appropriate amount of cooling volume needed, eliminating unnecessary energy consumption.

HKIA is the first airport in the world to adopt such a predictive control model for an air conditioning system. Together with the replacement of two new 5,000-refrigerant tonne chillers in 2021, an estimated 5.1 gigawatt hours of electricity could be saved annually, which is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of nearly 1,200 CLP residential customers. The same system will be implemented in other passenger facilities, including the new T2 Concourse of the 3RS, to further optimise our energy efficiency.

The AA has also developed BESS to cope with HKIA’s continued growth and need for a backup power supply. This is the largest battery storage system in Hong Kong, and contains over 400 lithium batteries, equivalent to more than 55,000 pieces of 10,000 mAh portable power banks. BESS, which operates without fuel, is more environmentally friendly than other existing backup generators and can efficiently store up electricity generated from routine testing of backup generators for future use, such as providing power in the event of an emergency. 

Airport Carbon Accreditation

Airport Carbon Accreditation

Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) was initially launched by ACI Europe in June 2009 and is the only institutionally endorsed carbon management certification standard for airports. The programme independently assesses the efforts of airports with six progressive levels of accreditation, including 'Mapping', 'Reduction', 'Optimisation', 'Neutrality', 'Transformation' and 'Transition'.

To achieve Level 3 'Optimisation', an airport must show that it has mapped and reduced its carbon emissions and has also engaged stakeholders, including airlines, caterers, ground handlers and others, to reduce their carbon footprints. Our airport-wide carbon reduction programme enabled HKIA to be the first airport in Asia-Pacific to secure ACA Level 3 'Optimisation' in 2013, and we successfully maintained this achievement at every 3-year renewal in 2016 and 2019.

The AA targets to achieve ACA Level 4 ‘Transformation’ at the next renewal, which recognises airports that align their objectives with the Paris Agreement.

Quick Facts

2008

HKIA Carbon Reduction Programme was first implemented in 2008

40/60

The AA accounts for 40% of HKIA’s GHG emissions, while 60% comes from business partners

1st

HKIA was the first airport in the world committing to both EV100 and EP100 in 2019

Awards & Recognition

Airports Council International's Airport Carbon Accreditation – Level 3 'Optimisation'
Airports Council International's Airport Carbon Accreditation – Level 3 'Optimisation'
CLP Smart Energy Award 2020  — Peak Demand Management Grand Award (Corporate/ Government Bodies)
CLP Smart Energy Award 2020 — Peak Demand Management Grand Award (Corporate/ Government Bodies)