A collaboration between Exeter Airport, travel company TUI and Cranfield University is investigating how to reduce the environmental impact of aircraft turnarounds at airports.
The study will focus on how to decarbonise ground operations and reduce environmental impact by analysing the movement of both aircraft and ground vehicles.
Experts from Cranfield University’s Centre for Air Transport Management, which has a long-standing focus on aviation and the environment, are using TUI data, airport vehicle usage data and other information sources to create an ‘emissions inventory’ of ground operations.
By examining the different elements of the turnaround in detail, the study will address a gap in current research and identify where tangible emissions savings can be made in the short term, and where there may need to be bigger changes in the future, including new technology.
Professor Anna Smallwood, Head of the Centre for Air Transport Management, Cranfield University: “Addressing the future challenges faced by the aviation industry will require high degrees of collaboration to develop integrated solutions. This is an excellent example of industry and academia working together to understand the real issues and find opportunities to move forward in a viable and sustainable way.”
Andrew Bell, Chief Executive of Exeter Airport operator, Regional & City Airports, said: “This project is the latest in our ongoing collaboration with Cranfield University to help drive innovation across our industry, and is a vital part of RCA’s commitment to make our own airport operations net zero by 2040. We’re excited to be involved and look forward to seeing how the findings could be put into practice across our airport estate.”
The next step will examine potential mitigations, including the use of electric and alternatively fuelled airside assets, as well as other operational measures that can be adopted by the airport.
The study is expected to report back next year.