Newcastle International announces target to become a Net Zero Airport by 2035

Newcastle International has announced its ambitious plans to become a Net Zero emissions airport by 2035.

As the majority of airports across Europe announce their plans to become Net Zero before 2050, the North East’s largest airport has set out to bring forward the target date to align with the end date of its Masterplan and its centenary year in 2035.

The Net Zero carbon strategy shows the Airport’s commitment to being a good neighbour, as well as taking action to become ever more environmentally friendly.

To help deliver these goals, the Airport will take steps to procure and generate renewable energy as well as shifting to new technologies.

Over the next 15 years, a brand new fleet of electric vehicles will be introduced across the airport, including passenger and car park buses, together with improved facilities for customers with electric vehicles.

As well as this, Newcastle International will be taking action to help stakeholders to reduce carbon emissions from flights by working with airlines to encourage more use of the latest, most efficient aircraft such as the A320 NEO – which already operates at the airport. The NEO aircraft delivers a 15% saving in CO2 emissions.

Newcastle International is a member of Sustainable Aviation, which is made up of airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers and air traffic service providers to work towards the common goal of cleaner, quieter and smarter aviation.

Nick Jones, Chief Executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: “Decarbonising the Airport before 2035 will be a challenge, but this is something that we feel strongly about.

“Newcastle international Airport is an extremely important asset to the region and we pride ourselves on being a good neighbour. The people of the North East are at the heart of everything we do, so it is vital that we make the changes needed to be able to grow the airport in a sustainable manner that protects the environment we all live and work in.”

David Rees, Co-head of Asset Management at AMP Capital, added: “By making such investments into the future of aviation, Newcastle International is leading the way for the industry and we are delighted to see one of our assets making such positive steps.

“We welcome these ambitious plans which also take into account the community that the Airport serves.”

Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and Lead of the LA7 local authority shareholders, said: “It is fantastic that Newcastle International Airport is leading the way for aviation and contributing to the well-being of the planet with its Net Zero 2035 strategy.

“The Airport’s Net Zero strategy aligns closely with the ambitions of the North East to be a low carbon region. Councils and combined authorities across the region have declared climate emergencies. Collectively, we can work to bring about positive change. ”

Paul Maynard, Aviation Minister, added: “Newcastle Airport’s target of becoming Net Zero by 2035 shows a firm commitment to tackling climate change.

“This impressive environmental ambition is just one of the ways the airport is serving the needs of its community, helping make the UK cleaner, greener and more environmentally-friendly.”

In 2020, Newcastle International Airport will seek to join the ACI Europe Airport Carbon Accreditation Scheme.

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Airport Council International (ACI) Europe define Net Zero as the following:

Net Zero carbon emissions are achieved “when CO2 emissions generated by human activity are balanced globally by CO2 removals over a specific period”.

This means that the concept of ‘Net Zero carbon emissions’ is different from the term of ‘carbon neutrality’. The Net Zero concept does not allow for offsetting.

The main sources of CO2 emitted by airport operators and over which they do have control are:

  • Electricity consumption, predominantly for heating/cooling/lighting and servicing terminal buildings and other buildings managed by airport operators.
  • Boilers – mainly for heating purposes in relation to the above mentioned buildings. These run on gas and oil.
  • Ground vehicles running on petrol, diesel or gas.

Airport operators do not have control over aircraft emissions at the airport & in the vicinity of the airport, as these are operated by airlines. Therefore, the emissions from aircraft operations are not covered by the commitment.