Collaboration Crucial To Achieving Sustainability Goals—Avinor CEO

Stakeholders must collaborate and invest in decarbonization measures despite the financial pressures on the industry.

Credit: Ocean Driven Media
Abraham Foss, Avinor CEO, addresses Routes Europe 2022.

Partners from across the aviation sector must work together if the industry is to achieve its aims of becoming net zero by 2050, according to the CEO of Norway’s airport operator Avinor.

Speaking on May 18 during the opening of Routes Europe 2022 in Bergen, Norway, Abraham Foss said that despite the financial stress being felt by all stakeholders, the industry has no option but to collaborate and invest for the future.

“The climate change challenge is real and won’t disappear,” Foss said. “It’s not a question of if [we address it], it’s a question of when and how.”

He outlined how Avinor is working to ensure its own airport operations would be fossil-free by 2030.

The airport operator’s largest source of emissions is the consumption of fuel for its own vehicles, followed by business travel and energy consumption. Svalbard Airport stands out since the airport’s heating and most of its electricity are provided by a coal-fired power plant. Other sources of the group’s own controllable emissions include the discharge of chemicals for runway de-icing and fuel for use in firefighting exercises.

An important measure in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Avinor’s own operations is the introduction of advanced biodiesel, since almost half of the group’s greenhouse gas emissions come from its fleet of vehicles. Advanced biodiesel is used in vehicles that cannot be easily electrified, such as snow blowers and sweeper.

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When Avinor procures vehicles, an assessment will always be made as to whether a vehicle with an internal combustion engine can be replaced by an electric vehicle or an alternative technology that uses renewable energy sources.

Foss said the group is also working to support the development of future aircraft technologies, such as electrification. Norwegian carrier Widerøe hopes to operate all-electric flights by 2026.

“We are a small country, so we have to work together and see ourselves as part of a larger value chain,” he added. “We need to be able to come together so we can all achieve our ambitions. The target is very ambitious, but there is no other choice.”

Almost 3.7 million traveled to, from or via Avinor’s airports in April 2022—an increase of 349% compared with the same month last year.

The group, which manages a network of 43 airports across Norway, said the growth was largely thanks to the recovery of international air traffic. The figure for last month also represented a recovery of 87% compared with April 2019.