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Commentary: Finavia’s climate programme and the location of Helsinki Airport support responsible flying

Article published
31.5.2021 at 10:56
Finavia Henri Hansson
The objectives of our climate programme and the results we have achieved serve as an example of environmental responsibility in the aviation sector. In addition, the geographical location of Helsinki Airport supports the aviation sector’s cost-efficiency without compromising on responsibility. The location enables short flight routes between Europe and Asia, writes Henri Hansson, Technical Director at airport company Finavia.

We have invested in climate work for years, which has resulted in all 21 Finavia airports being carbon neutral. We are also an example of environmental responsibility for the hundreds of companies operating at our airports.

Our goal is to create value for our stakeholders and society in the form of, for example, Finland’s accessibility and good connections, exceptional customer experience and responsible growth. In addition, we are constantly working to improve the efficiency of our operations so that the environmental impact is reduced. It is also important for us that the continuity of our operations can be ensured without compromising on our environmental objectives.

Having responsible operations is our competitive asset in the international competition between airports. That is why we also encourage other companies operating at our airports to be environmentally friendly. It is in the interest of the entire industry that companies and people at airports are committed and motivated to do their best for sustainable development.

For example, we work actively with airlines and air navigation companies to develop aviation operations. Together, we have been able to shorten airplanes’ taxiing distances and develop the use of airspace in a way that reduces fuel consumption and emissions. So-called green landings at Helsinki Airport accounted for 75% of all daytime landings last year and 82% of nighttime landings. This is more than the objective in Helsinki Airport’s environmental permit.

The geographical location of Helsinki Airport enables short flight routes

The geographical location of Helsinki Airport supports environmental responsibility. As airlines plan their flight routes between Europe and Asia, the shortest route is through Helsinki Airport. The distance from Helsinki Airport to Beijing is approximately 6,300 kilometres. It is over 1,000 kilometres less than from Berlin to Beijing. The geographical location of Helsinki Airport enables airlines to take a shorter route to Asia compared to other European airports. This means lower fuel consumption and shorter flight times for airlines.

Our unique geographical location supports our goal of making sure Finns are well connected to the world. Accessibility and comprehensive connections are vital for Finnish economic life and companies. They enable Finland to maintain its competitive position in the global markets. Being dynamic, in turn, increases employment and economic success in Finland.

Finavia’s climate programme started more than ten years ago

We have reduced CO2 emissions from our own operations in a determined manner. In 2013–2015, the electricity used in our operations produced approximately 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Since 2018, the production of electricity has been based on wind power, so we have been able to reduce its impact on the environment to zero.

Emissions from airports consist of heating and vehicle emissions, and we aim to reduce them. In 2020, we were able to halve the emissions caused by heating compared to the year before. This huge development was created by the COVID-19 crisis, which led to the closure of large sections of terminals at Helsinki Airport. Emissions from vehicles are also decreasing rapidly. We compensate for emissions that we have not yet completely eliminated by supporting environmental work.

Finavia is heavily involved in international and domestic climate work

In addition to developing our current carbon-neutral activities, we want to be involved in supporting emission reductions globally, as the environmental impact knows no national boundaries.

We are involved in Finland’s largest climate commitment, which aims to promote clean and smart mobility. The commitment has been signed by dozens of companies in the Avia network who want to promote the success and competitiveness of Helsinki Airport. The vision of the Avia network is to make Helsinki Airport the most sustainable, attractive and accessible airport in the airport community world.

In addition, we are a member of Airport Council International Europe (ACI) and participate in its working groups and Net Zero CO2 Targets. We are also a founding member of the Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation collaboration network, which promotes the use of biofuels in aviation, and a member of the Network for Electric Aviation in the Nordic region.

Read more about Finavia’s climate programme

Read more about the Avia network’s Green Deal Manifesto

Read more about Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation

Read more about Network for Electric Aviation