For a city notoriously known for its poor air quality, it’s quite a contrast for its airport managers to make a promise that its award-winning airport will become the greenest in the world. The bold pledge was made by the Airport Authority, the government’s statutory body tasked to oversee the operation of Hong Kong International Airport, along with its 40 business partners.
The announcement was made as the authority reached a milestone of about 10 per cent in carbon reduction. Such a pledge from a mammoth airport – one that operates 24 hours a day and served over 53 million passengers last year – should draw inspiration for other airports to adopt eco-friendly measures in their operations.
A three-year environmental plan was rolled out last year that aims to reduce carbon intensity by 2015 from its 2008 emission levels. Among those already accomplished were Aviation Security’s suspension of lifts after office hours, auto lights off policy at Cathay Pacific Catering and promotion of the paperless office at Sinopec.
The success of the plan has prompted the airport to raise targets even further. Additional plans include replacement of 100,000 lighting units with energy-efficient LEDs by end of 2014 and introduction of new electric passenger transfer cars by mid-2013 and eventually the whole fleet by 2017.
Although it costs more to implement these “green” measures – electric cars cost more than conventional ones – it is the long-term benefits that count.