ISSUE 03 | AUGUST 2020

In this issue, we are pleased to have Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Director General of ACI World, to share his views on rebuilding a sustainable aviation in the post-COVID-19 world.

Rebuilding A Sustainable Aviation

The COVID-19 pandemic brought airports around the world to a virtual standstill and continues to have a dramatic impact on the wider aviation ecosystem.

There have been signs of recovery recently with more domestic flights resuming across airports and more countries reopening their borders to international traffic. This shows a positive move to re-establish public confidence in air travel.

As the aviation sector prepares to resume operations, now is the time to plan its long-term recovery and help the sector to emerge stronger and more sustainable in the post-COVID-19 era. 

Airports will play a very important role on the economic recovery of the industry and sustainability is more important than ever to the aviation sector. The current crisis has made clear how vulnerable the aviation industry can be to external shocks. The impact of climate change, for instance, is both harmful and far-reaching. It also has the potential to shut sectors down and cause irreversible damage.

While we work toward a return to normal operations, it is important to note that “the normal” before the pandemic had its challenges that have not gone away. The industry was already facing climate change threats. It is essential that we work together to find enduring solutions that will allow the aviation industry to continue to grow and develop in a sustainable way in the future.

The long-term survival of the aviation sector depends on a fully sustainable recovery. It is crucial for the sector to take a holistic approach to long-term planning, not to look for short-term fixes that increase the risks to the environment. Creating a sustainable system that strikes a balance among the three pillars of sustainability – social, economic and environmental – should be the priority. Aviation cannot be replaced by other modes of transport in many parts of the world, it provides the connectivity for business, communities, people and families. The industry is more important than ever in this respect and a global joint effort is needed to support the recovery and lay the foundation for future growth.

In addition, stronger collaboration among sectors will also be vital for the industry to restart and sustain its development. While we are seeing more stringent environmental compliance for bailouts to the sector, we must also actively identify ways where different stakeholders can work together to move towards a low-carbon future.

The recovery from COVID-19 offers us an opportunity to build back better – making the industry more resilient than ever. The pandemic has shown how important timely actions are to address a looming crisis, and delaying actions may lead to irreversible loss and economic cost. Climate change remains the greatest challenge facing the world. Delaying our efforts to reduce emissions today means more ambitious target and actions will be required in future, and lead to larger economic losses resulting from greater damage brought about by climate change.

To this end, we have to keep climate action high on our agenda and reaffirm our commitment to sustainability by working together to reduce and minimise emissions providing our passport to growth again.
Luis Felipe de Oliveira
Director General, ACI World

Aircraft Dry Wash Services at HKIA
Since mid-2019, Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (HAECO) was the first Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) service provider to offer a dry wash service for aircraft at HKIA. Dry washing not only achieves significant reductions in potable water use, it also brings multiple benefits to HAECO, airlines and HKIA. In 2020, AAHK also approved China Aircraft Services Limited to conduct aircraft dry wash on the maintenance apron. We are honored to have Agnes Leung, Environment, Health and Safety Manager of HAECO and Sherrick Ng, Ramp Services Officer of HAECO, to share more insights with us on aircraft dry wash.
Q: How was the idea of the aircraft dry wash conceived and developed?
Agnes: In keeping with our vision to be a green and sustainable MRO service provider, we persistently review our operations and strive to minimise its impact on the environment. With great potential to provide environmental and operational benefits, the dry washing is identified as an alternative to the traditional aircraft exterior wet washing.
We have carefully studied the dry wash technique and cooperated closely with AAHK to ensure this service rolls out without a hitch. We have conducted trials to compare different dry wash products, and worked with AAHK to develop Dry Wash Procedures, ensuring the cleaning processes are performed in accordance with environmental, health and safety requirements.
Q: Please tell us more about the aircraft dry wash.  
Sherrick: As the name suggests, aircraft dry wash is a technique that involves little or no water in cleaning the aircraft. It employs a biodegradable and non-toxic detergent, which is more effective at removing insects, oil stains and other dirt from the aircraft’s exterior, and after washing, the chemicals dry to form a coating on the fuselage. Hence, it enhances the aircraft’s resistance to dirt and reduces the frequency of wash required.
Q: What are the benefits of the aircraft dry wash technique?
Sherrick: The most significant benefit is the amount of potable water that has been saved. Compared with wet wash, dry wash is estimated to use 90% less water and produces less effluent, which is approximately 860,000 litres of water a year.

The dry wash technique also ensures that the aircraft remains cleaner for a longer period of time, thereby reducing the need for aircraft cleaning to about 4-6 times a year, compared to 8-9 times a year for wet wash. Additionally, the antistatic effect of coating would reduce aircraft drag while in flight and conserve fuel. On top of that, dry wash allows partial cleaning, which is a new cleaning option for airlines and saves aircraft grounding time.
As dry wash can be carried out outside designated aircraft washing bays, there is a reduced requirement to tow aircraft, resulting in less jet fuel consumption by aircraft and ground services equipment, as well as less ground traffic at the apron. This in turn helps reduce the airport-wide greenhouse gas emissions. 

Business photo created by fanjianhua -

Sustainable Recovery for Aviation Industry
Sustainable recovery, an idea to link the COVID-19 recovery strategies with environmental protection and sustainability policies, has been widely discussed globally. It promotes the transition towards a new socio-economic model that is low-carbon, resilient and sustainable. Advocates of sustainable recovery strategies and initiatives related to aviation industry are emerging from global, regional and local parties.  
At the global level, the ACI World Governing Board has published a Resolution to call for urgent relief measures for airports to assist in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and has also urged a globally coordinated programme of measures to aid in a balanced recovery for the aviation industry. In the Resolution, ACI World emphasised the continued relevance of climate action to support sustainable airport development for the longer term, and to develop a comprehensive sustainable development strategy. Learn more.
At the regional level, aviation stakeholder associations are calling for their governments to put aviation sustainability at the heart of its recovery plan. In Europe, leaders from over a dozen air transport associations representing Europe’s aviation sector, including ACI Europe, have called on the European Union to support the sector’s decarbonisation initiatives through their allocation of future COVID-19 recovery funding. Learn more.
At the national level, the UK Sustainable Aviation coalition has urged the UK government to work with the industry to achieve sector-wide decarbonisation. The request put forward by the coalition includes developing aircraft and engine technology on hybrid and electric aircraft, accelerating UK airspace modernisation and progressing robust carbon offset measures and carbon-removal technologies. Learn more.
Meanwhile, non-governmental organisations are also calling for a post-COVID green recovery. A group of 57 UK NGOs have written to the prime minister to demand a “resilient and inclusive” economic recovery in line with the UK’s target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Learn more.
Governments have taken different approaches in response to the increasing demand for sustainable recovery. The UK government has created the Jet Zero Council to foster collaboration among aviation sector, green groups and the government to reduce aviation emissions in keeping with the UK’s climate commitments. The French government has set green conditions for Air France bailout. It has required Air France to renew its fleet with more efficient aircraft, to halve its carbon emissions from domestic flights by the end of 2024 and commit to sourcing 2% of its aviation fuel from sustainable sources by 2025. Learn more.

Cathay Pacific's New Single-Use Plastic Reduction Target  

Cathay Pacific (CX) has set a target to reduce 50% of it annual usage of single-use plastics by the end of 2022. With an aim to remove nearly 200 million pieces of plastic annually, CX will be reviewing all the single-use plastics in its operations and exploring greener alternatives, such as rotatable plastic cutlery, wooden toothpicks and increased use of recycled materials. 

Learn more

HKAEE Recognitions for Airport Business Partners

Four airport business partners were commended at the 2019 Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence (HKAEE) for their outstanding performance in environmental management.

Manufacturing and Industrial Services Sector

Public and Community Services Sector Restaurants Sector As the Gold Award winner for the Public and Community Services Sector at the 2018 HKAEE, AAHK is not eligible for entering 2019 and 2020 HKAEE.

HKIA Carbon Reduction Award Scheme 2020 - Coming Soon

The annual HKIA Carbon Reduction Award Scheme will be launched in the third quarter of 2020. This year, there are two categories under the Scheme. The Carbon Target Award recognises companies which have taken steps in setting a carbon reduction target while the Innovation Award commends companies that have adopted new carbon practices and technologies.

Stay tuned. Details to be announced soon!


We are eager to share and showcase environmental and sustainability practices. Please contact Chris Lee or Zara Lo to discuss your ideas.

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