Adelaide Airport - Level 3 Carbon Reduction Accreditation



Adelaide Airport Ltd (AAL) is an example of a company that is seeing rich dividends from heavy investment in environmental management. In 2013 Adelaide Airport was the first Australian airport to be awarded Certification to Level 1 (‘Mapping’) of the Airport Carbon Accreditation program through the Airports Council International (ACI). As of May 2015, AAL has been certified to Level 3 (‘Optimisation’), again being the first Australian airport to do so.

Adelaide Airport is the major gateway to South Australia with around 8 million passengers using the airport each year, a number that is continuing to grow. The airport complex employs approximately 9,000 people.

Adelaide Airport Limited currently has a vision to become a top tier Airport Business Centre in Asia Pacific. To aid their vision Adelaide Airport Limited have set themselves the goal of becoming an airport that is recognised as delivering exceptional outcomes, including environmental in a carbon constrained future, to their customers, partners, shareholders and the community.

To achieve this Adelaide Airport has been actively engaged in reducing their energy consumption over the past few years. In strategising on potential energy saving areas the company has developed a five-year sustainability strategy and carbon management plan. A prudent carbon management plan to AAL is one that addresses:

1) Carbon Risk (the potential financial and business impact associated with a carbon constrained economy) and

2) Climate Risk (the potential impact on assets and operations associated with more variable climate.


It is through implementation of such a carbon management plan that AAL has committed itself to reducing its carbon footprint associated with its infrastructure, terminal operations, use of plant and vehicles, staff travel but also to guide its commercial clients to do likewise.

AAL3Adelaide Airport employs a greenhouse gas accounting system to underpin their carbon management plan and is essential in measuring progress against internal reduction targets. The GHG Accounting System has been so successful Adelaide Airport was the first Australian airport to be awarded Certification to Level 1 of the Airport Carbon Accreditation program through the Airports Council International (ACI) in 2013. Level 1 is awarded to Airports that sufficiently monitor their carbon emissions. Adelaide Airport had previously set its sight on reaching Level 2 of ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation scheme by 2015. To be awarded Level 2, airports must have been seen to have made significant steps towards reducing their carbon emissions. However AAL had bettered this target, reaching Level 2 by October 2014.  

To achieve Level 2, AAL implemented a number of initiatives including office and terminal lighting upgrades, improving the energy efficiency of T1 heating and cooling system, and running an extensive staff awareness campaign to improve energy habits and reduce electricity used throughout Adelaide Airport facilities.

Furthermore, in 2013 Adelaide Airport Limited engaged air quality specialists to conduct local air quality modelling assessment of emissions from airport operations including aircraft emissions and ground-based activities. Findings of this assessment will be used to allow AAL to properly monitor and develop sufficient strategies to manage their emissions into the future. AAL are also consulting with the EPA in updating the airport air pollutant dispersion model to reassess the potential future impact of aviation and induced traffic on local air quality.

To achieve Level 3 accreditation a number of criteria must be met, including the requirement for airports to engage third parties (Airlines, Ground Handlers, Catering Companies etc.) in carbon footprint reduction of which Adelaide Airport met by May 2015. Some other steps Adelaide Airport Limited have used to reduce their emissions include the construction of Green Star rated buildings, installation of LED airfield lighting, bicycle storage facilities at the terminal and the purchase of an electric car for staff use.

Over 85% of AAL’s carbon emissions come from their use of electricity, but since 2010 AAL entered into an electricity contract that included the purchase of 10% of renewable green energy. Other examples of efforts to reduce emissions include adoption of energy efficient LED lighting.

Between 2008/2009 and 2012/2013 financial years AAL’s greenhouse gas emissions have decreased from around 2.0kg CO2e/passenger to 1.7kg CO2e/passenger, a 17% reduction.

AAL continue to identify and implement cost-effective energy reduction projects and look to identify opportunities to generate renewable energy onsite. As part of their 2014 Master Plan AAL has released their environment management actions for 2014-2019.


Such actions include plans to

  •  Develop and implement a Green Vehicle Program
  •  Assess the potential to introduce biofuels for Ground Service Equipment in partnership with airlines
  •  Install electric vehicle recharge points in the short-stay car park

To the more ambitious

  •  Assess the economic feasibility of a renewable energy power station, as well as
  •  Identify prospective sites where wind turbines may be practical at Adelaide Airport


Through these steps it is anticipated that Adelaide Airport will continue to prove itself as one of Asia Pacific leading airport in the sustainability of their surrounding environment and continue to surpass the emission reduction targets it has set itself.