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French airport group to eliminate GHG emissions by 2030, promotes sustainable aviation fuel

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France’s first 100% carbon-neutral airport group, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur Group, has unveiled its programme to eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.

The group, which has been implementing an ambitious policy to reduce its environmental footprint for over 15 years, has revealed plans to become carbon-neutral 20 years earlier than previously announced.

The plans include a series of measures to completely eliminate GHG emissions from the three airports it operates: Nice Côte d’Azur, Cannes Mandelieu and Golfe de Saint-Tropez. While the group had already joined 192 European airports in June 2019 in setting the 2050 carbon-neutral deadline, it has now revealed steps required to achieve this goal by 2030.

The programme has been welcomed by Bertrand Piccard, founder and president of the Solar Impulse Foundation, who said: “I admire companies that spontaneously set themselves ambitious targets. Faced with the slow pace of international negotiations, this is the best way to make progress towards environmental protection.

“By aiming to achieve zero net emissions by 2030 at the latest, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur has become a pioneer and set an example for the world of aviation. Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur intends to reach its goal as quickly as possible by calling on solutions labelled by the Solar Impulse Foundation, such as the contract signed recently with Antismog.”

While each of the three airports plans to advance towards this goal at their own pace, the biggest challenge will be for Nice Côte d’Azur, which has recently become France’s second-largest airport, behind Paris.

The airport has already cut GHG emissions by 80% in 10 years, and became France’s first carbon-neutral airport in 2016.

“Today, passengers passing through our terminals account for hardly 100 grams of CO2, which is 92% less than the average of European airports,” explained Isabelle Vandrot, head of sustainable development and the environment at Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur. “This figure represents a record and an incentive to do even better. But these last few grams are the most difficult to eliminate, because they bring us face to face with technical or technological barriers that must be raised, if we are to achieve our goal of zero grams of emissions in just 10 years.”

The group is encouraging airlines operating at the three airports to: systematically follow the single-engine taxi procedure, which halves emissions when taxiing; promote sustainable aviation fuel; and replace the notion of economic competitive performance with that of ecological competitive performance.