Delhi airport achieves major green landmark after Covid-mitigation feats

The Delhi airport has been judged best in Asia-Pacific in terms of carbon emission reduction management

Delhi airport achieves major green landmark after Covid-mitigation feats
The Delhi airport continues to achieve significant milestones. Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Bharatahs

The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi achieved a major landmark in its efforts towards "sustainability and a greener future, with a Level 4+ accreditation under the Airport Council International’s (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. The Delhi airport is the first in the Asia-Pacific region to attain this distinction. In simpler terms, this means that the Delhi airport has now been certified as the best in Asia-Pacific as far as management of carbon emission reduction is concerned. 

The Level 4+ accreditation is a culmination of the Delhi airport's long history of implementing green initiatives. In 2016, it became the first carbon-neutral airport in Asia-Pacific. The GMR-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has now set an ambitious target of becoming a net-zero carbon emission airport by 2030.

 The Airport Carbon Accreditation programme is the only internationally-endorsed standard for carbon management by airports. Launched in 2009, the programme encourages airports and its stakeholders to effectively manage greenhouse gases (GHG) and cut carbon emissions. It certifies the efforts of airports in this regard across six levels. 

Planes parked at the Delhi airport. Image courtesy: Twitter/@DelhiAirport

These levels recognise airports across the world at different stages of their initiatives to achieve comprehensive GHG emission management and cover airports of all sizes, and even airports focussed on freight movement, not just hubs and regional airports with scheduled passenger traffic.    

Also read: India begins Covid-19 testing at airport for incoming passengers

The index started with four levels, namely level 1 (mapping), level 2 (reduction), level 3 (optimisation) and level 3+ (neutrality). As mentioned earlier, the Delhi airport had attained carbon neutrality, or level 3+ on the ACI index in 2016, and had held on to that rating ever since. 

At the ACI Europe's annual congress held at the Brussels airport this year, two accreditation levels were added. These were level 4 (transformation) and level 4+ (transition). They were included to bring the ACI index in sync with the Paris climate agreement objectives and limit average global temperatures to 2°C above the pre-industrial levels and not exceed 1.5°C.

The restructured ACI index is also in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommendations and climate change mitigation objectives of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The other global airport apart from IGIA to have received the prestigious Level 4+ rating is the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in the US.

Also read: IGI Airport terminal change creating chaos? Here's what you need to know

Level 4+ on the ACI index encourages airports to reduce emissions according to the latest scientific developments, alignment with the Paris climate accord and increased stakeholder engagement.  

Not only green initiatives, but the Delhi airport has also played a leading role in the fight against Covid-19 too. In September, it became the first Indian airport to set up a Covid-testing facility for incoming international passengers. It was subsequently extended to cover outgoing international passengers too. It had also been certified as the second-safest aerodrome in the world for effective implementation of Covid-related health and safety protocols by the Safe Travel Barometer, according to a PTI report. 

The Delhi airport and the Hyderabad airport, which are equipped with state-of-the-art time and temperature-sensitive distribution system, would be playing pivotal roles in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, Live Mint reported. Some of the coronavirus vaccines are in the final stages of their testing and a breakthrough is expected soon.

“Achievement of the Level 4+ accreditation is a testimony of our commitment towards ensuring sustainable development at IGIA. Going forward, we will continue to develop best in class infrastructure and provide services using innovative and sustainable technologies. With this achievement, we have set up a new benchmark for other airports in this region to follow,” said DIAL CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar. 

The Delhi airport is the busiest in India in terms of passengers and cargo movement and registered 67,301,016 passengers in 2019. It serves as a hub for Air India, Alliance Air, IndiGo, Spicejet, Vistara, GoAir, AirAsia India, Quikjet Airlines and Zoom Air.

(Cover image courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Bharatahs)