While Covid-19 remains the most impactful event from 2020, the year also saw bushfires, flash floods, earthquakes, locust swarms and cyclones – all connected with climate change one way or the other. The need to monitor and control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across various industries has never been more important. Aviation is a significant contributor to carbon and GHG emissions in the environment, with notable environmental sustainability implications, mostly arising from airline management facilities such as airports. Thus, airports must identify contributing factors from daily operations and lay out efficient measures and strategies to reduce GHG emissions.

Since its inception, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), Mumbai, has focused on carbon neutrality, emissions reduction and climate action, and integrated emissions-related concerns within its operational agenda. Understanding the potential risks of GHG emissions on the climate, the airport has aligned its efforts with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

CSMIA has set a goal to reduce the emissions resulting from direct fuel consumption and indirect energy purchase for operations, and adopted a target to reduce its Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions per passenger by 33%–35% against its baseline year of 2014; this target is also in line with Indian National Disclosures (INDC) commitments of the country. In addition, CSMIA has put together a carbon roadmap and a carbon management plan to streamline its processes to achieve emissions-reduction targets. The airport has a climate-change strategy that provides a robust framework for reducing its carbon footprint. The objectives of the strategy are to be attained through four phases: measure, manage, reduce, and communicate.

As part of the overall strategy to reduce its GHG emissions, CSMIA focuses on continually improving its energy management system (EMS) as well as identifying critical energy-consumption points and principal areas to reduce energy consumption. Practising the use of low carbon-intensive fuel, the airport has added CNG-powered vehicles to its fleet and has allowed the operation of only electric motor vehicles in the baggage operations area and inside terminals. Further, CSMIA has encouraged the use of bridge-mounted equipment (BME) providing preconditioned air (PCA) and fixed electric ground power (FEGP). These BMEs are currently available for use at all operational aerobridges at the terminals. Besides this, the airport is replacing fossil fuel-powered forklifts with electric forklifts. 

For reducing the impact of aircraft movements, the airport has introduced rapid-exit taxiways that save fuel consumption and reduce GHG emissions. Additionally, a common information-sharing platform known as airport collaborative decision making (A-CDM) helps to improve operational efficiency, minimise taxiing time, and enhance the predictability of events that effectively utilise available slots. 

Across the offices at CSMIA, automation processes have been implemented to ensure the reduction of paper consumption. Moreover, to reduce its Scope 3 emissions, the airport conducts several stakeholder trainings on lighting systems, solar power plant, ISO 50001:2011, environment management system and HVAC, along with sensitisation sessions.

CSMIA, through its initiatives and measures, continuously strives to achieve the global target of net-zero emissions and undertake measures to decarbonise its operations. Mechanisms are in place to monitor its progress periodically. Scope 2 emissions have reduced by 4,401.76 tCO2 during FY 2019–20 compared to FY 2018–19, and Scope 3 emissions have gone down by 38,797.78 tCO2 during FY 2019–20 compared to FY 2018–19. Overall, the airport witnessed a reduction of 41,665 tCO2 GHG emissions in FY 2019–20 compared to FY 2018–19.

Through implementing its ISO 14064-1: 2006 certification for GHG emissions and removals and ISO 14001 for air quality management, CSMIA keeps up its commitment to being a carbon-neutral airport. At the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme, a voluntary initiative launched by the European region of Airports Council International (ACI Europe), CSMIA received ACA Level 3+ ‘Neutrality’, the highest level of accreditation prior to December 2020, valid up to 16 May 2022. By reducing its carbon footprint and offsetting the residual emissions, CSMIA has become the 5th carbon-neutral airport in the Asia-Pacific region.

All in all, the airport’s terminal T2 has been meticulously designed to operate with state-of-the-art infrastructure with low environmental footprint. In 2016, CSMIA became the first Indian airport to receive a ‘platinum’ rating from IGBC. Such recognitions are a testimony to the airport’s commitment to reducing its business impact on climate change by actively measuring and monitoring its GHG emissions and reducing its GHG emissions’ intensity while maintaining business growth.