Calculating Gatwick Airport’s annual greenhouse gases
Every year since 2009, RSK has calculated the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Gatwick Airport, which is the second-busiest airport by total passenger traffic in the UK. Over time, the granularity and accuracy of the reporting have improved considerably, thus helping the airport to establish itself as a leader in a sustainable aviation economy. RSK’s annual assessment is calculated according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol guidelines and externally verified by third-party consultants to ensure the airport maintains its compliance with the most stringent industry standards.
The associated GHG data are presented in relation absolute carbon impact in terms of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2e) and using intensity metrics such as t CO2e/passenger and t CO2e/air traffic management to highlight carbon efficiency improvements made by the airport, despite the significant passenger traffic growth. The results are displayed against previous years’ assessments and compared against the long-term targets.
To assess Gatwick Airport’s aircraft during landing and take-off cycles, RSK created a market-leading bespoke carbon model that calculates the aircraft emissions for each phase of the airfield’s landing and take-off cycle. The model considers each specific aircraft type and engine configuration, and the related performance and specifications necessary to account for the aircraft fleet and to define the actual emissions as accurately as possible
RSK’s assessments have enabled Gatwick Airport to determine GHG hot spots to develop targeted reduction strategies to meet its internal sustainability goals. Emissions from passenger surface access are forecast to increase between 2016 and 2028 before declining slightly by 2040. However, total non-transfer passengers travelling to Gatwick Airport are expected to rise by about 35% between 2016 and 2040 but to result in a decrease in GHG emissions per passenger. This will be the result of increased use of public transport use and of more efficient fuel, along with hybrid and electric vehicles.
Overall, since 2010, direct GHG emissions, those over which Gatwick Airport has influence, have declined by 44%, while indirect emissions have risen by 15%. The airport’s total emissions have risen by 7% during this time; however, passenger numbers have increased significantly, by 37%.