Photo caption: Erik Velderman, CEO, TKH Airport Solutions. Courtesy Nadd Alshiba
As the global airport industry, comprising over 40,000 ICAO-coded airports and revenues exceeding US$173 billion, work its ways to become carbon net-zero by 2050 through enhancing infrastructure, technology-based operational efficiencies, robust controls and benchmarked excellence, the Airport Show taking place in Dubai from May 9 to 11, will have a sharp focus on sustainability and innovation.
Together in Innovating Future Sustainable Airports will be the theme of the world’s largest annual airport industry B2B platform. Over its three-day run at the Dubai World Trade Centre, it will highlight ways sustainable aviation can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Airports Council International’s Sustainability Strategy through improved service quality, widening infrastructure development, and ensuring safe and efficient operations by all the stakeholders.
As the expanded, evolved version of the e-Apron at 2022 edition, the Sustainable Apron, in continued partnership with dnata, will feature ground handling equipment and services that enable airports in their sustainability goals. Innovation Trail will be a bespoke customer experience which includes an impressive line-up of breakthrough innovations from leading airport suppliers in more than 20 countries. Sustainability Trail will have a strong focus on products and services that enable regional airports to shape their roadmaps to sustainability this year. The products that will be considered in this trial are those supporting airports in reducing CO2 emissions and promoting operational efficiencies at airports.
The 22nd edition will connect over 200-plus aviation brands and 100-plus buyers from over 30 airports and aviation authorities from 20 countries. Also taking place on its sidelines will be four industry-specific exhibitions and conferences. It will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.
It will see over 4,500 visitors, with the exhibitors coming from Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States of America. Its organiser hopes this breaks the previous records. Last year’s edition drew 4,200-plus attendees from 71 countries, over 160 exhibitors from 23 countries and 100-plus hosted buyers from 23 countries along with five country pavilions.
May Ismail, Event Manager at Reed Exhibitions Middle East, its organiser, said environmental impacts and energy efficiency in the medium-and-long term are among the key areas of concern and focus by airports in operating their facilities and services. It includes energy consumption in the heating, lighting and cooling of a terminal and for powering systems that support the daily operations of an airport, including passenger services, ground vehicles and airside services.
SITA, the world’s leading specialist in air transport communications and IT, has found 73 per cent of airports working to have in place by 2024 policies/physical systems that promote energy savings. Its report confirms airports implementing renewable energy usage and smarter infrastructure controls. By 2024-end, 62 per cent of airports will have policies or frameworks in place that includes environmental impacts and lifecycle management controls. The airports are focusing on the environmental impacts of the technology and plans to implement newer solutions to drive greater efficiencies and support their de-carbonisation efforts.
Raed Younes, UAE & Regional Business Development, dnata, said: “dnata, part of the Emirates Group, provides ground handling, cargo, travel, flight catering and retail services in 38 countries across six continents. In 2022, dnata successfully launched an e-Apron at the Airport Show 2022 with the support of the event organiser, RX Global. At its 2023 edition, the Sustainable Apron will be even bigger and better, featuring advanced ground support equipment (GSE) and the latest technologies that significantly enhance environmental efficiency at airports. In 2022, dnata committed US$ 100 million to implement green technology and initiatives across its businesses to achieve its strategic objective and reduce its carbon footprint by 50% by 2030. In recent years, the company has significantly invested in advanced technologies to optimise resources and improve operational efficiency across its facilities. It installed renewable energy features, such as solar panels, heat recovery units and electric vehicle charging at its existing facilities and will also incorporate carbon reduction initiatives in the construction and operation of its recently announced new cargo centres in The Netherlands and Iraq.
He added: “Choosing green options is a prime consideration in dnata’s fleet planning, too. It has increased investments in electric and hybrid ramp, ground support and forklift equipment, and refurbished existing GSE with new technologies to further decrease emissions and update them to the latest safety and quality standards. As a result, dnata became the first ground handler to successfully complete green aircraft turnarounds using only zero-emission GSE in the USA and UAE. In the financial year 2021-22, dnata’s customer-oriented teams handled over 527,000 aircraft turns, moved 3 million tonnes of cargo, uplifted 39.9 million meals, and recorded a total transaction value (TTV) of travel services of US$ 632 million.”
Michael Schneider, CEO of Siemens Logistics, said: “Our technologies enable customers to achieve more with less resources. For Siemens Logistics, the key to sustainability lies in life-time considerations for equipment paired with automation, and digitalisation. Take, for example, Baggage 360, our digital solution which considerably increases the efficiency of existing operations and eco-systems. It provides airports / customers with forecasting and optimisation functions allowing them to plan operations well in advance. This saves resources and with that environmental footprint and costs. We are looking forward to presenting our sustainable solutions at the upcoming Airport Show in Dubai.”
Benjamin Violet, Regional Sales Manager for Middle East and Africa at ITW GSE, said the aviation industry’s sharp environmental focus needs equipment with lower energy consumption. In fact, the Middle East major airports have led the way in switching off the APU by equipping their infrastructure with line powered GPUs and PCAs. Now the focus is to move away from diesel equipment and replace with battery powered eGSE. At ITW GSE, we have played a key part of this transition supplying the zero emission battery driven 7400 eGPU since 2018. Some of the infrastructure challenges we see is the need for more charging points and grid power, he said.
Our newly launched EcoGate will amongst other things help with the eGSE’s charging situation in the airport. EcoGate helps airports optimise their operations by connecting gate equipment into a unified and intelligent system, such as GPUs, PCAs, charging stations, and even aircraft detection systems. At its core lies the Intelligent Power Management (IPM) that can be incorporated into the new 3500 PCA unit. By intelligently managing power distribution, EcoGate allows airports to upgrade or install new gate equipment without the need for costly new power infrastructure.
Jurek Grzeszek, Director of Sales and Services TLD MEAI, an Alvest Group company specialising in designing and manufacturing GSE at its nine factories across the world, said sustainability is not only an environmental and social responsibility but also enhances long-term profitability and brand reputation and encourages innovation. Today several airports are pursuing transition in a fast-paced mode but infrastructural changes take time. The available technology is compatible with the current needs. TLD continues to innovate with Electric Drivelines allowing GSE to adapt to airport infrastructure. Alvest is developing a unique approach to managing airport operations globally and would stop producing GSE with traditional combustion engines by 2025. TLD in 1991 launched the first-ever eGSE which drives relatively short distances with limited speed and has a growing demand. In 2008, the TLD Green initiative had been launched with fleets of high-loaders that are still operating. Alvest is the world’s number one supplier of ground support equipment through its main subsidiary TLD. Its products include aircraft loaders, tractors, ground power air conditioning and jet start units.
Erik Velderman, CEO, TKH Airport Solutions, said the company has been seeing a growing interest from the Middle East region for sustainable innovations. In the airfield ground lighting business, innovations like smart airfield lighting, individual lamp control and implementation of ‘Floating Follow-the-Greens’ technologies have become hot topics. TKH’s CEDD airfield ground lighting technology is gaining traction in the region the technologies have been providing the tools for airports to become more efficient airside, reduce operations cost and increase revenue by through efficient slot sales.