At the Frankfurt Airport global hub, airport operator Fraport and the Lufthansa Group are working hand-in-hand on the initiative E-PORT AN, aimed at introducing more electric vehicles into the aircraft handling process, thus reducing the environmental impact of airport operations. The renowned U.S. aviation industry magazine Air Transport World (ATW) has acknowledged this commitment with the “Eco-company Partnership of the Year” award, which was conferred on February 15, 2016 at the 42nd Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards in Singapore.
“Lufthansa Group and Fraport demonstrate how working together can be a win, win for both companies as well as for the environment. I sincerely congratulate them for this initiative and their achievements,” says ATW’s Editor-in-Chief Karen Walker.
Alongside Fraport and the Lufthansa Group, the State of Hesse and the Rhine-Main Model Electro-mobility Region are also involved in E-PORT AN. Thus, the award can be seen as an acknowledgement of the efforts of all partners involved in the initiative.
Aircraft handling involves up to 20 different vehicles. The step-by-step replacement of individual handling processes by electrically-driven technologies does not just reduce the carbon footprint, but also leads to improved working conditions on the ground. There are currently three hybrid aircraft tugs – known as TaxiBots – at Lufthansa LEOS, the Group’s ground support company. Moreover, Lufthansa LEOS is carrying out certification tests on an eSchlepper (eTug), which is the first vehicle in the world able to manoeuvre aircraft up to the size of an Airbus A380 entirely under electrical power.
Electric vehicles are especially suited for use at airports, where the majority of journeys are short. Around 10% of Fraport AG’s 3,000+ motorized vehicles are electrically-powered. This includes vehicles used in aircraft handling such as conveyor belt vehicles, pallet loaders and small baggage tractors. Moreover, electric cars and minibuses are not just used by ground crew – they also find use in employees’ carpools.
To raise public awareness of electric vehicles in the eyes of passengers, the partners of the E-PORT AN initiative opened the world’s first “Green Gate” at Lufthansa Gate A15 at Frankfurt Airport on October 12, 2015. Here, travelers can see by way of models, information boards and animations, how electric vehicles can help to make aircraft handling more environmentally efficient.
E-PORT AN is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure via the Rhine-Main Model Electro-mobility Region. The model electro-mobility regions are nationally coordinated by the NOW GmbH National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. The regional coordination lies at the project management centre of the Rhine-Main model region, which in turn is located at the Stadtwerke Offenbach Holding GmbH. Through the integration of E-PORT AN in the “Strom bewegt” (“Power moves”) initiative by the state of Hessen, the visibility of the project of the airport environment and beyond is ensured.