ISSUE 06 l JUNE 2021
Signs of Aviation Recovery
As of June, more than 2.47 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across 180 countries [1]. The increasing uptake of vaccines is starting to result in small signs of recovery in the aviation industry with increasing numbers of passengers expected to return to air travel in the second half of 2021. Airports including HKIA are now preparing for a sustainable recovery as confidence in international travel starts to return with all possible steps taken to protect the health of travelers and airport staff.

Representatives from airports around the globe 'gathered' remotely in early April to discuss the measures and pathways to redefine airport resilience at the Airports Council International (ACI) World Environment Standing Committee meeting. There was a strong consensus for airports to focus on better balancing the three sustainability pillars - social, environment and economic. In particular options for the incorporation of externalities into airport business, including social and environmental costs in terms of initiatives that may better align environmental and social risks with economic strategies. Climate change is a global challenge that requires joint efforts and common actions. Airports are working together to commit more timely and strategic investment in the decarbonisation of the airport operations. In June 2021, ACI World and the five ACI regions, in collaboration with its airport members, announced the industry goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, paving the way for individual airports to follow. We look forward to collaborating with fellow airports on this important initiative through best practice sharing to enable the introduction of industry-level decarbonisation measures incrementally from now to 2050.

While we will have more coverage on the industry net zero goal in the next issue, we are delighted to provide you updates on various environmental initiatives implemented by both AAHK and our business partners in this newsletter. These include the soon-to-be-launched airport-wide Green Airport Design and Construction (GADC) Strategy, a pilot trial of an Artificial Intelligence robotic waste sorter system, Cathay Pacific's net-zero carbon target by 2050 and Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (HAECO)'s Electronic Lesser Check Sheet Project. A brief summary of hydrogen adoption at airports, a low-carbon energy alternative, is also included in the "Industry Trend" section.
Peter Lee
General Manager, Sustainability
Airport Authority Hong Kong

Green Airport Design and Construction at HKIA

AAHK will be rolling out an airport-wide Green Airport Design and Construction (GADC) Strategy in July 2021. The GADC Strategy was built on the green airport design approach and practices already adopted in the Three-Runway System (3RS) Project and expanding AAHK's green design commitment to cover both building and non-building infrastructure projects, as well as those larger scale developments that are implemented by franchisees and other business partners at HKIA.

Eden Ngan, Senior Manager, Environment of AAHK, shares more details on AAHK's approach to green building design and sustainable construction, and the new airport-wide GADC Strategy.
Q: What is AAHK's strategy and practice of green design for the 3RS Project? Why is it important to AAHK and HKIA's environmental performance?

Sustainability and environmental considerations are an integral part of our strategy for developing and expanding HKIA. In support of our pledge to make HKIA the world's greenest airport, we established a Green Airport Design Strategy for the 3RS Project to put the consideration of environmental performance at the centre of design development at the earliest stage of project life cycles.

Under the Strategy, design consultants are required to identify opportunities for environmental efficiencies at the scheme design stage and considerations may extend to improving energy efficiency to minimising air pollutants and carbon emissions, taking into account the associated life cycle benefits. All measures identified are then further evaluated at the detailed design stage with environmental benefits and efficiencies quantified where possible to facilitate informed decisions on adopting initiatives. When adopted, the initiatives will then be embedded into works packages and tracked through the construction and works stages. 
The implementation of the 3RS Green Airport Design Strategy has helped to ensure high importance is being placed on considering environmental and green design elements as early as possible in project development and are implemented in follow on works - ensuring that the project's environmental impacts are minimised over the whole project life cycle.
Q: What were the key achievements?

The adoption of Green Airport Design Strategy has enabled early and thorough consideration of green design proposals to drive good environmental efficiencies. An example is the use of LEDs for airfield ground lighting (AGL). Use of LEDs was identified at the scheme design stage when this technology for AGL was still relatively new. Compared to incandescent lighting, LED is more energy efficient ad has a longer life, requiring less frequent replacement and causing less disturbance to future runway operations. With demonstrated operational and environmental benefits, LEDs were adopted for over 2,000 airfield ground lights in both the new North Runway and the re-modelled Centre Runway.

We've also been pursuing third-party green building and design certification for major 3RS Project  developments. For example, the Terminal 2 Expansion Works has achieved a Provisional Platinum rating under BEAM Plus, which is the highest rating under this well-recognised green buildings assessment scheme organised by the Hong Kong Green Building Council. Meanwhile, the Third Runway and associated works contract obtained an "Excellent" rating under the Interim Client and Design Award of the Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Award Scheme (CEEQUAL), which is an international evidence-based sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme for civil engineering, infrastructure, landscaping and public realm projects.

Besides, two construction components of the 3RS Project were recognised in the Sustainable Construction Awards organised by the Construction Industry Council in 2018 and 2020. These included a Merit Award in 2018 for the 3RS Aviation Fuel Pipeline Diversion Works, which involve the construction of two new 5.2km aviation fuel pipelines connecting the Aviation Fuel Receiving Facility at Sha Chau with HKIA. The second award is a Silver Award granted in 2020 for the Deep Cement Mixing Works for the site formation of the 3RS reclamation.
Q: What is the new airport-wide GADC Strategy about?

With the achievements obtained from the 3RS Green Airport Design Strategy, we have formulated an airport-wide GADC Strategy for implementing a consistent approach for embedding green design and sustainable construction considerations in AAHK's development projects, including non-3RS ones, as well as projects implemented by us via partnership agreement with franchisees and other business partners at HKIA.

The implementation of the airport-wide GADC Strategy is planned to commence in July 2021, with an initial 2-year trial period. A Technical Advisory Group, comprising experienced project managers and green design professionals from relevant departments, was formed to facilitate its implementation.

Tree photo created by jcomp -
Adopting Clean Hydrogen Energy at Airports

In 2020, CSIRO, an Australia's national science agency, published a report showing that clean hydrogen can significantly reduce aviation emissions with potential benefits seen within five years. Since the first deployment of hydrogen-powered ground services equipment (GSE) at Memphis International Airport in 2015, airports around the world, in particular in Europe, continue to look for on-airport applications of hydrogen and consider it as a key strategy to transition to a low-carbon future and achieving the net zero carbon emissions goal.
  • In May 2020, Copenhagen Airports and other leading companies in Denmark announced a partnership to develop an industrial-scale production facility to produce renewable hydrogen for land, marine and air transport in the Copenhagen area. When fully scaled-up by 2030, the project has the potential to displace 30% of fossil fuels at the airport. Learn more
  • In May 2020, Incheon International Airport Corporation established with Hyundai Motor Company, Air Liquide Korea and Hydrogen Energy Network, and signed Memorandum of Understanding to establish a hydrogen refuelling station for fuel cell electric buses in Incheon Airport. This new hydrogen station is located in Terminal 2 and will open in June 2021. The partnership is part of the Ministry of Environment's project to install hydrogen refuelling stations and subsidise privately-financed infrastructure projects. Learn more.
  • In February 2021, Group ADP, the operator of the three main Paris airports, together with the Paris Region, Airbus and Air France-KLM initiated a worldwide call for expression of interests to transform the Paris airports into 'hydrogen hubs'. The partners aim to identify and test economically viable solutions enabling the adoption of hydrogen energy at airports, including ground handling vehicles and equipment, rail transport at airports and energy supply for buildings or aircraft during ground operations. Learn more.
  • In March 2021, Groningen Airport Eelde in the Netherlands announced its plan on hydrogen application, in collaboration with New Energy Coalition. The airport plans to use electrolysis to produce clean hydrogen on-site and uses it to power airside and groundside equipment and vehicles, and ultimately aims to have an entirely emission-free ground handling system by 2030. Learn more.
  • Two hydrogen filling stations and a 1MW high-power electrolyser are being installed at the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France. The two stations will be located in the immediate vicinity of the runways and roadways and will be used to refuel all types of vehicles. Deployment of the equipment is scheduled for the end of 2021. Learn more.

AAHK wins ACI Green Airports Recognition 2021
On 1 June 2021, AAHK received the Gold Recognition in the "Over 25 million passenger per annum" category of the ACI Asia-Pacific Green Airports Recognition 2021. The theme of the 2021 award was "Air Quality". AAHK was recognised for its outstanding achievement in improving local air quality via its Ground Services Equipment (GSE) Pooling Scheme - Phase 1 implemented at HKIA. Initially implemented in mid-2018, the Scheme enables individual ramp handling operators serving client airports to rent the shared-use GSE owned by AAHK, of which 95% are electric-powered. Since its implementation, the Scheme has been well received and led to a vast improvement in air quality at HKIA. AAHK will commence the second phase in April 2022 which will cover the apron area of Terminal 1 and increase the size of GSE from currently over 250 to 580.


Trial of A.I. Robotic Waste Sorter System

AAHK completed a one-month trial of an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) robotic waste sorter system at the T1 Midfield Concourse in March. The trial involved sourcing general waste or recyclables from HKIA to test the capabilities, efficiency and limitations of the system on various settings. The trial has helped to identify the most optimal operating environment for the system given the different waste streams at the airport as well as how it could improve HKIA's future waste recycling performance.

Cathay Pacific's Net Zero Carbon Emissions Commitment
Cathay Pacific (CX) has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, becoming one of the first airlines in Asia to establish a timeline for carbon neutrality. CX's key focus areas to reach carbon neutrality include investing in sustainable aviation fuel, offsetting carbon emissions, and reducing emissions through efficiency enhancement. Full details of CX's commitment to achieve carbon neutrality are available in their Sustainable Development Report 2020.


HAECO's Electronic Lesser Check-Sheet (eLCS) System
Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (HAECO) has introduced an electronic task card solution which enables their engineers to create, issue, and sign digital check-sheets with mobile devices. In addition to saving time and enhancing operational efficiency, the eLCS system minimises error due to handwriting misinterpretation and is environmentally-friendly with an estimated annual savings of more than 100,000 sheets of paper. The eLCS system is one of the Excellence Class recipients of the Innovation Award in the HKIA Carbon Reduction Award Scheme 2020.

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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