All three airports are moving to the new level of the programme at the same time - Vilnius Airport, which has been participating in the ACA programme since 2016, is moving from the second to the third level of the programme, while Kaunas and Palanga airports, which have joined the ACA programme in 2019, are moving to the second level (“reduction”).
“We are pleased with the progress Lithuanian Airports are demonstrating in this environmental programme. Vilnius Airport is now entering the third level of the programme, which means that not only the airport, but also its partners will be directly involved in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Kaunas and Palanga airports have also shown real progress in actively reducing emissions from direct airport operations. I am pleased that Lithuanian airports are showing leadership in the Baltic region,” said Olivier Jankovec, CEO of ACI Europe, an organisation linking European airports.
Aurimas Stikliūnas, Interim CEO of Lithuanian Airports, says that the leadership in the Baltics is the result of carefully planned and consistently implemented steps to modernise a wide range of activities.
“The fact that all three Lithuanian airports are successfully participating in the environmental programme, which unites 235 airports from all over the world, is a significant achievement in the history of Lithuanian aviation. We have been implementing complex actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in our direct operations for a number of years, and we will continue to do so even more actively, and in the near future we will also involve our partners operating at the capital city's airport,” commented A. Stikliūnas.
He also adds that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is one of the strategic goals of Lithuanian Airports, and Vilnius' ambition is to continue its leadership and become the first airport in the Baltic States to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations.
All ACA member airports are committed to achieving zero emissions from their operations by 2050. 91 airports want to achieve this goal by 2030, including three Lithuanian airports.
A challenge that has turned into new opportunities
According to Kristina Greičiūtė, Environmental Project Manager at Lithuanian Airports, it is planned that the CO2 emissions per passenger will be reduced by around one third by 2024. This compares to 2.52 kg in 2015, 2.39 kg in 2016 and 1.89 kg per passenger in 2021.
“As we move from the first phase of the ACA programme to the second phase, we have prepared a plan to reduce carbon emissions at Vilnius Airport. We have taken real environmental steps - from upgrading lighting systems to more efficient solutions, to renewing the fleet with hybrid cars, to installing solar power plants and buying green electricity for our own use,” says K. Greičiūtė.
She adds that improvements in the overall efficiency of energy management at Vilnius Airport have had a significant positive impact on the implementation of the second and third phase of the ACA.
A significant change in efficiency and, at the same time, environmental protection took place in 2021 with the completion of the largest airfield renovation project in the country's aviation history at Vilnius Airport, which included the refurbishment and installation of taxiways to reduce aircraft taxiing times, as well as the electrification of aircraft parking areas,
A 25 kW solar power plant was installed on the VIP terminal and conference centre building a little earlier.
Involving partners in the third phase of the programme
Moving into the third phase of the ACA programme, Vilnius Airport will aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2024, or to achieve a reduction of approximately 1 kg of CO2 per passenger. In addition, this phase will require efforts not only to introduce more sustainable processes in its own operations, but also to involve the airport's partners. It will take into account third party airport operations, tenants' electricity and heating costs, waste disposal and other aspects.
According to K. Greičiūtė, the transition to new phases in all Lithuanian airports stimulates further search for more sustainable solutions.
“We aim to gradually upgrade all vehicles operated by the airport, to increase the share of hybrid vehicles, and, very importantly, we are already looking for opportunities to more actively deploy solar power plants on our premises,” explains K. Greičiūtė.
The aim is to have the entire fleet running solely on electricity or biodiesel by 2030, with plans to gradually offer passengers an expanded network of charging stations for electric vehicles, increasing the number of cars that can be charged.