Christchurch and Hamburg airports’ partnership. 18,500km apart but side-by-side tackling climate change
On 18 October, Christchurch Airport in New Zealand and Hamburg Airport in Germany announced their official new partnership in sustainable airport operations.
Both airports have separately taken a strong stance on environmental operations at their respective ends of the globe. However, they will now tackle the issue together with a particular focus on the future of green hydrogen.
The two airports are partnering on infrastructure for the use of green hydrogen in aviation. Combining their years of sustainability research and execution, the pair will work closely together with the twin goals: eliminating carbon dioxide emissions and taking a pioneering role for net-zero aviation in their country.
Each airport has a particular focus on the use of green hydrogen in their operations. This ranges from hydrogen powered vehicles to hydrogen-based aircraft propulsion systems. The airports seek to set up a hydrogen infrastructure and with this, identify a solution to the problems with hydrogen storage.
Additionally, opportunities to further reduce CO2 emissions throughout the airports will be capitalised upon. This will be supplemented with the use of renewable energy including that from Christchurch Airport’s own solar energy park.
Discussing the partnership, Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO Hamburg Airport said:
“We stand by our responsibility: sustainable airport operation with renewable energies is a building rock for climate protection in air transport […] We are all the more pleased to have gained an experienced partner in Christchurch Airport. On an international level, we can bundle our know-how to work towards CO2-free airport operations and a future with sustainably operated aircraft.”
Malcom Johns, Chief Executive of Christchurch Airport highlighted the necessity for these partnerships in the pursuit of the climate agenda:
“We are both openly ambitious in supporting aviation to decarbonise […] We realise this will take partnerships like ours to do this. We have enjoyed monthly online meetings with Hamburg Airport team members for some time now, sharing information and knowledge while discussing and supporting each other’s goals and achievements. It is time now to set ourselves some more joint goals.”
The early partnership
Before the official partnership was announced, the two airports were working closely with regards to the application of hydrogen to airport operations. This was an area that Hamburg Airport had already established themselves as a leader in the field.
2020 – The airport was recognised in 2020 as the world’s first airport to achieve Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 4. It mentors air-transport hubs globally including JFK, Perth and Brisbane Airports, and Bristol on the reduction of carbon emissions
2021 – In December the airport announced the Kowhai Park project. This sought to become New Zealand’s largest solar energy park. It is located on the airport premises and comprises 400 hectares.
2022 – The airport went a step beyond carbon neutral to becoming climate positive. This takes the airport beyond net-zero emissions and actually creates environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Hamburg Airport was the first major commercial airport in Germany to achieve CO2 neutral operations. This was the product of tireless optimisation of the airport’s building infrastructure to save emissions through the reduction of energy consumption. Among many other initiatives, the airport created an underground thermolabyrinth, naturally pre-heating or pre-cooling air from outside and feeding it into the air-conditioning systems.
For more information on the Christchurch, Hamburg airports collaboration read here. For other articles exploring how airports are using innovative methods to reduce their environmental impact see Mumbai International Airport Becomes Another of India’s 100% Green Energy Airports, Efficient Technology at Terminal 4 Changi Airport , The IAP “Developing a Sustainable Air Hub in Singapore” Blueprint
Article by Jess Brownlow