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South Africa is headed for carbon-neutral and solar-powered airports

Four of Africa's six airports that have received Level 1 Mapping for Airport Carbon Accreditation are proudly South African.

Recently, OR Tambo International Airport, King Shaka International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and Port Elizabeth Airport met the necessary international requirements to obtain the first of four levels before reaching the highest level of carbon neutrality.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The other two airports to reach Level 1 are in Morocco.

These four South African airports have a combined total of approximately 18 million passengers per annum that fly on our national carrier, SAA, as well as thousands of other airlines. They are also the first in the country to achieve this with other prestigious airports worldwide that have joined the ACA programme to improve their carbon footprint.

Now with the global aviation industry having pledged that by 2050, it will reduce its net carbon emissions to half its 2005 levels, South Africa seems to be taking its first steps towards being counted as a country that is serious about achieving this goal.

Who qualifies for accreditation?

Any airport in the world can apply but the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme is the only global carbon management certification programme for airports. In order to be considered for accreditation, the airport must decrease their carbon emissions by following a common assessment framework laid out by the ACA and set measurable goals.

Airports are offered support by ACA to guide them to make improvements and maintain higher standards of environmental management through long-term site-specific strategies.

In line with the ACA Level 1 requirements, South Africa’s four Level-1 accredited airports set out to gather detailed carbon emission research to determine their annual carbon emission and its sources.

They then had to get third-party verification from reputable firms and organisations capable of undertaking environmental consultancies to approve their calculations.

Airports company South Africa (ACSA) confirmed that these four South African Airports, together with two from Morocco, represent just over a quarter of African air travel.

There are currently just three African airports at level 2, Tunisia's Enfidha Hammamet International Airport, Ivory Coast's Félix Houphouet-Boigny Abidjan International Airport and Gabon's Libreville Leon Mba International Airport. No African airports have yet reached level 3 or 4.

Smaller airports are also going green

In addition to the ACA-accredited airports, three others are solar-powered. ACSA launched a 200m² solar power plant that supplies 750kW of power to George airport.

Kimberley Airport followed soon after that with a 11kV substation and then came Upington’s solar power plant which will deliver over a million kilowatt hours per annum to power its airport.

With so many domestic and international flights leaving South Africa, ACSA hopes that soon all nine major airports will be accredited. South Africans and tourists to our country often use affordable budget and low-cost airlines such as Kulula and FlySafair for both business and leisure travel. A search for cheap domestic flights to Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town or Port Elizabeth, reveals options from many airlines and the best deals on domestic and international flights.

Passengers can now book a flight and be rest-assured that if they are flying in and out of these airports that they are helping to fight one of the world’s biggest challenges and the devastating effect of carbon emissions.


5 Jul 2017 16:24