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This is how Hamburg Airport is to become climate-neutral

Hamburg Airport is to achieve de facto climate-neutral operation by 2035.

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This is how Hamburg Airport is to become climate-neutral

Hamburg Airport is to achieve de facto climate-neutral operation by 2035. To this end, the company, which belongs to the city of Hamburg and the investor Hamburg Airport Partners, is significantly expanding the use of renewable energies. Over the next twelve years, Hamburg Airport will invest a total of 250 million euros in implementing the “Net Zero 2035” strategy. Its core is a wind farm with six wind turbines that is to be newly built on an area of ​​Hamburg Airport near Kaltenkirchen. Its power generation should completely cover the airport's power requirements and also make a significant contribution to heat generation.

"We are gradually switching to an independent, 100 percent renewable energy and heat supply for our airport city," said Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO of Hamburg Airport, on Wednesday at the presentation of the annual figures for 2022. Around 70 million euros would be made available for the construction of the wind farm alone. At the same time, the airport supports the airlines in expanding climate-friendly flying, for example by providing increasing quantities of synthetic kerosene in the future, but also through research funding and financial incentives for the use of particularly energy-efficient aircraft in Hamburg.

Hamburg Airport has been “climate-neutral” since last year. However, this calculation also includes compensatory measures such as reforestation projects elsewhere or compensation payments. On the site in Heidemoor near Kaltenkirchen alone, Hamburg Airport has had around a million trees planted over the past twelve years, said Eggenschwiler: "'Net Zero 2035' is an ambitious but achievable goal, thanks to our climate protection measures that have been established and continuously adapted for decades .” Since 2009, the airport has reduced its emissions of greenhouse gases by 80 percent. Hamburg had bought the site near Kaltenkirchen decades ago because at the time a new airport in Schleswig-Holstein was planned to replace the city airport. However, this plan has long since been scrapped.

In addition to generating electricity from wind energy, Hamburg Airport also wants to use solar energy and geothermal energy. Hydrogen is to be produced from green electricity by electrolysis for the airport's vehicle fleet. In addition to electricity and geothermal energy, district heating and biogas are also planned to be used to heat the airport buildings.

The strategy has been agreed with the owners of Hamburg Airport, said Eggenschwiler. However, the two shareholders have to accept another annual loss for the airport operator for 2022, the third in a row as a result of the pandemic. Last year, there was a minus of 27.2 million euros. With a passenger count of around 11.1 million last year, the airport reached about two-thirds of 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

The management of Hamburg Airport expects 13.8 million passengers this year. During the holiday season in July, the airport plans to handle up to 350,000 passengers a week. The way back to the normalization of flight business at Hamburg Airport is also accompanied by the extensive use of new, automated systems, for example for checking in and automatic baggage drop-off by the passengers themselves to equalize rush. It is also hoped that the new generation of scanners will soon be used in Hamburg, said Eggenschwiler. However, the federal government must procure these for the federal police. The so-called "CT devices" can also detect liquids in luggage to determine how dangerous they are, so passengers will no longer have to unpack them separately.

As in the previous year, Hamburg Airport is hoping for the support of temporary workers, especially from Greece and Turkey, when it comes to the chronically heavy workload of baggage handling personnel. They would be employed on the same financial terms as the airport's permanent employees, said Eggenschwiler. We are hoping for the support of the federal government in the most unbureaucratic recruitment of foreign employees, especially from Turkey, and for their work permits.

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