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GAR Case Study: Sustainable Airport Operations for Effective Airport Air Quality Management

  • 29 Jul 2021

In June 2021, ACI Asia-Pacific announced the recipients of the Green Airports Recognition 2021 programme. This year, the programme called for outstanding achievements in improving local air quality. To continue showcasing the environmental progress of our airport members, we take a closer look at the Gold-recognized projects. Next up in the less than 25 million passengers per annum category: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.  


GMR Hyderabad International Airport logo
To reduce air emissions as well as operating costs, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) has adopted a wide array of eco-friendly technology, infrastructure, and practices in collaboration with their stakeholders.  
Air quality index


These efforts have resulted in minimizing the air emissions and maintaining good air quality at the airport and its surroundings. Rajiv Gandhi International Airport’s (RGIA) green initiatives are also aligned with ICAO’s environmental goal to limit or reduce the impact of aviation emissions on local air quality, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.  


More concretely, these sustainable airport operations have resulted in significant reduction in fossil fuel consumption and air emissions at the airport.  


Sustainable landing and take-off cycle of aircraft(s) and ground support operations, single engine taxiing 

Air traffic control and the airlines practiced Continuous Descent Approach and Continuous Climb Operations for landing and departing aircraft to reduce aircraft fuel burn. Single engine taxiing of aircraft avoided 40-50% of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) fuel burn per air traffic movement, or approximately 4,382 kl of ATF savings in a year.  


The airline, in co-ordination with the airport operator, implemented aircraft single engine taxiing and used the Fixed Electric Ground Power Unit (FEGP) in place of the APU since 2016.  

Fixed electric ground power unit 

From 2017-2019, 1,596,190 kWh of electricity used which in turn avoided ATF of 152,749 liters from aircraft Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). 


Solar-powered ground support equipment 

In 2019, Air India’s ground handler SATS developed a prototype of solar ground support equipment - baggage flight loader and step ladder in place of diesel equipment. Airside annually avoided 102,209 liters of diesel and emissions*:  


  • NOx: 1672 kg 

  • CO: 965 kg 

  • PM: 190 kg

Forty electric bus fleet have been introduced for city side passengers to commute between the airport and Hyderabad City.

Forty electric bus fleet have been introduced for city side passengers to commute between the airport and Hyderabad City.

Vehicle charging point provided by the airport for GSD equipment to avoid diesel eq

Vehicle charging point provided by the airport for GSD equipment to avoid diesel equipment

Electric ground transportation 

GHIAL and ground support departments introduced five electric coaches and 12 e-tugs and cars. The airport collaborated with the State Road Transport Corporation in introducing 40 electric buses in 2019 for the passengers’ commute.  


In 2019, electric buses and cars in the city side of the airport prevented 4,567 liters of diesel and emissions savings: 

  • NOx: 38,105 kg 

  • CO: 22,874 kg 

  • PM: 1,750 kg 

Green belt 

A green belt consisting of 693 acres of developed greenery and more than 2,000 acres of  natural vegetation absorb 685 tonnes of CO2 in the premises of the airport.  


Ambient air quality monitoring station 

GHIAL installed a real-time monitoring station that measures NOx, CO, PM 10 and PM 2.5, SO2, O3, and HCs. The airport’s recorded air quality parameters are well within the stipulated norms.  


Dust mitigation from the airport expansion activities.  


The savings from all these measures are to the tune of INR 150-195 million (~US$2.0- 2.6 million) every year. 


* NOx: Nitrogen oxide; CO: Carbon monoxide; PM: Particulate Matter  

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The case studies of all recognised airports are collated in the Green Airports Recognition 2021 publication.

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