ISSUE 02 | APRIL 2020

Working Towards a Sustainable Recovery

The COVID-19 has created hardships for the business community and the aviation sector is likely to be among the hardest hit. Whilst the priority today is to implement relief measures to alleviate the impact, there has been increasing attention on the planning of sustainable recovery that could be sustained over the long-term while also enhancing the sector’s ability to stand up to the next challenge.  

This year, AAHK will roll out several important airport-wide environmental projects to improve HKIA’s resilience by strengthening its sustainability performance.

  • Climate Resilience Study – commenced in February, the study reviews HKIA’s operational resilience and adaptive capacity to a changing climate. Covering AAHK’s infrastructure, assets and operations, essential utilities and transport links as well as airport business partners’ operations, the study will adopt a scenario-based approach to evaluate the risks and opportunities at HKIA associated with climate change. Its findings will facilitate decision-making and future planning to strengthen the resilience of HKIA.
  • Long-term Carbon Reduction Target Study – the study was kick-started early this month to set a new airport-wide carbon reduction target for HKIA, which will run from 2020 to 2035 from a 2010 baseline. It will encourage the whole airport community and other key stakeholders to work together to achieve decarbonisation.
  • HKIA Sustainable Management Recognition Scheme – a new scheme to be rolled out in the second half of this year to encourage the airport community to take further responsibility of sustainable management. The scheme will include a baseline performance assessment, a capacity building programme and a best practices sharing event.

The COVID-19, considered as a zoonotic disease which has transferred from wildlife into people, has again attracted wide attention to illegal wildlife trafficking and the risks associated with consumption of wildlife. As a member of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce, AAHK adopts zero tolerance policy and continues to work with the airport community to identify opportunities to combat illegal wildlife trade. More details are available in “What’s happening” section. Other stories featured in this issue include Cathay Pacific’s Flight Folder app (“Spotlight”) and an update on aviation industry’s actions to cut down the use of single-use plastic (“Industry trends”).

In short, despite the pandemic, we are forging ahead with our work. We will proactively engage our key stakeholders and in particular our airport business partners, to ensure the above initiatives deliver real value and drive HKIA’s sustainability forward. Updates on these projects will be shared through this newsletter in due course. Stay tuned!

Mike Kilburn
Assistant General Manager, Sustainability
Airport Authority Hong Kong

Chief Operations and Service Delivery Officer of Cathay Pacific Airways, Mr Greg Hughes (right), and the then Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Shun Chi-ming (left) showcased this innovative technology in a flight simulator.

Cathay Pacific’s Paperless Flights 

Starting from December 2019, all Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon cockpits have gone paperless by using the digital flight and weather application Flight Folder. This not only helps to save paper, but more importantly to reduce the fuel consumption from each aircraft.  We are honoured to have James Toye, Line Operations Manager of Cathay Pacific to share with us more information on the app.

Q: How was the idea of the Flight Folder app conceived and developed?
James: The Flight Folder app began as what we refer to as the Electronic Flight Folder (EFF), for replacing the hardcopy paper flight folders and the “blue bags” crew used to use in Dispatch. Each “blue bag” held pilots preflight briefings, navigation logs, weather data and official flight records, to name a few.
Development of the Flight Folder took well over a year. Over six months of trials across Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon was followed by the process to gain approval from the Civil Aviation Department. During trials, we tested over 200,000 flight plans and 36 million NOTAMS (Notices to Airmen). That’s a lot of testing!
Q:  Please tell us more about the Flight Folder.
James: The Flight Folder is basically an app on pilot’s iPads – or what we call the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) – that pulls together all of the information operating crew need for each of their flights. It includes charts, maps and pre-flight paperwork as well as a separate function, developed in collaboration with the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), MyFlightWx. MyFlightWx provides flight crews with the latest weather information, including airport weather reports, aerodrome forecast and hazardous weather warnings, as well as HKO’s in-house global turbulence forecast, for enhancing flight safety and efficiency.
Q:  What are the benefits of the app?
James: The obvious benefit of the Flight Folder is the amount of paper we save, over 300,000 pages a week in flight plans and over 400,000 pages for manual updates! As a knock on effect of that we are also saving fuel due to the reduced weight we are carrying. The manuals alone added 69 kg in weight on every flight, that’s 13.4 million kg per year or 4,000 tonnes of carbon for the fuel alone.

On top of that we are providing crew with the most sophisticated and leading edge technology available to do their jobs, making their jobs easier. Crew can use the quick search function and filter the information they need instead of having to turn through hundreds of pages.

Aviation Industry Cut Down on Single-use Plastics

Single-use plastics (SUP) refer to plastics that are meant to be disposed right after use. This includes bottles, straws, bags and wrappers. It is estimated that 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced worldwide every year and half of which is for single-use items*. Airports and airlines are working hard to reduce, and where possible eliminate the use of SUP. 

In November 2018, Delhi International Airport announced a ban on SUP products at Indira Gandhi International Airport, aiming to make the airport plastic-free by the end of 2019. Learn more.

Dubai Airports started to ban the use of SUP at Dubai’s two airports – Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central, in January 2020. The ban is carried out in phases, starting with the removal of plastic cutlery, water bottles, drinking straws, takeaway food packaging and polythene bags from cafés, restaurants and shops at the airport. Learn more.

Kansai Airport Group has also made a commitment to reduce SUP by 25%, and reuse and recycle 60% of plastic containers and packaging at its three airports – Kansai International Airport, Osaka International Airport and Kobe Airport, by 2022. Learn more.

In December 2019, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced the partnership with its catering supplier to trial a closed-loop system for catering waste collection and recycling. Catering supplies have been redesigned with materials with lower specific gravity than the original, which can now be washed and properly recycled into new catering equipment. Learn more.


Hactl “Sustainable Trees” Project

Since summer 2019, Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited has implemented a “Sustainable Trees” Project to transplant the eucalyptus trees planted on the rooftop of SuperTerminal 1 to three schools in Tung Chung. These trees had to be removed due to aviation safety considerations. As part of the project, workshops were also organised where students could learn how to sustainably cultivate mushrooms by reusing discarded wood.

Click here to view the video.

Airport Community
Environmental Forum 

The 27th Airport Community Environmental Forum was held on 17 March, with 36 participants from airport business partners and AAHK. In addition to the regular updates on AAHK’s ongoing environmental initiatives, global and local environmental trends, external speakers were also invited to introduce a novel energy storage system for construction sites and the first lead-acid battery recycling facility in Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific Catering Services (H.K.) Limited also shared their experience in the installation of over 820 solar panels with a combined size of 3,000 m2 on the rooftop of its facilities, which could generate 320,000 kWh of electricity a year.

HKIA Combating
Wildlife Trafficking

To strengthen its commitment to tackling illegal wildlife trade, HKIA signed the Buckingham Palace Declaration and became as a member of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce in December 2019. Airport business partners have signed up to the Declaration include Cathay Pacific Airways Limited and Tradeport Hong Kong Limited. See the full list of Transport Taskforce signatories here.

The Buckingham Palace Declaration contains 11 commitments that aim to help support the Private Sector in fighting the illegal wildlife trade, with particular focus on information-sharing, staff training, technological improvements and resource-sharing.

AAHK Sustainability Report 2018/19 

In March, AAHK released its Sustainability Report 2018/19 which provides a comprehensive account of its management approach and performance towards sustainability in 2018/19 across five key thematic areas: “Our People”, “World-class Gateway”, "Greenest Airport”, “Airport City” and “Community”. The Report also explains how AAHK engages with its stakeholders and collaborates with its business partners to address sustainability issues and improve HKIA’s overall sustainability performance.

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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