New carbon capture tool for airport development to meet net zero


IATA, in collaboration with Atkins, has developed a suite of innovative digital tools for airports to estimate the embodied carbon associated with the construction of terminal buildings and aviation assets.

The digital toolkit will enable airports to better understand and mitigate the impacts of construction-related activities that contribute to carbon emissions. 

As the global aviation industry embraces post-pandemic growth, modernizing and adapting infrastructure to meet net zero targets and the demands of sustainable aviation, the need to lower embodied carbon in new buildings, such as terminals and runways, becomes increasingly pressing.  

The digital tools will provide embodied carbon benchmarking for the three key airport asset types: terminal buildings, runways, and multi-story car parks. This will enable airport development teams to understand the carbon footprint of construction activities and in dialogue with airport operators on how to mitigate it. 

The new tools are believed to be the first early stage embodied carbon assessment tools specifically concentrated on airport terminal buildings. 

Although most current tools measure carbon in general buildings, and at a later stage in the design process, this new digital toolkit is aviation-specific and can be applied at an early stage in the design, thereby adding value.

“Decarbonizing aviation is the industry’s greatest challenge, and the industry is fully committed and making progress. However, reaching net zero by 2050 will require collective efforts from the entire industry supply chain and from policymakers." said Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President Operations, Safety and Security.

He noted, “Our collaboration with Atkins on this innovative digital toolkit will help airports meet their own objectives by providing a crucial platform to evaluate and reduce carbon impacts for new airport developments. By facilitating dialogue around carbon mitigation from day one of an airport development project, together we are making headway towards net zero aviation,"

 Atkins’s Technical Director for Aviation Infrastructure, Andy Yates said, “Our embodied carbon advisory team have worked with IATA to develop a set of innovative industry tools, leading a mature aviation market into a challenging and previously unexplored area of embodied carbon assessment. These tools allow clients to confidently explore the vital conversations around embodied carbon reduction as airports respond to the complex challenges that surround the sector’s net zero goals.”

He continued, “The tools have been developed by a multi-disciplinary team including architecture, airport planning, and structural design as well as carbon experts, ensuring a solution that understands the complexity and multi-faceted approach needed to assess embodied carbon.”

Credibility, transparency, and flexibility are key components of the tool’s development, enabling future adaptability and adjustment of any assumptions.

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