New partnership for sustainable airport operations: Hamburg Airport and New Zealand’s Christchurch Airport will be pursuing their ambitious climate goals together in the future. Both airports have taken on a pioneering role in decarbonization in their country. Together they now want to actively work towards the Net Zero climate goal, with a particular focus on the future use of green hydrogen. By the end of 2035, Hamburg Airport wants to completely eliminate carbon dioxide emissions (Net Zero) and develop its own hydrogen infrastructure.
“We stand by our responsibility: Sustainable airport operations with renewable energies are a building block for climate protection in air traffic – we will continue to follow this path consistently. Keywords are wind power, solar energy, green hydrogen. Which solutions are suitable for airports and their respective locations must be examined and prepared individually. We are all the more pleased that we have gained an experienced partner in Christchurch International Airport. At an international level, we can pool our know-how to work towards CO2-free airport operations and a future with sustainably operated aircraft,” says Michael Eggenschwiler, Chief Executive Officer at Hamburg Airport.
“Hamburg and Christchurch are both very ambitious to do their part to decarbonize air travel,” said Christchurch Airport Chief Executive Malcolm Johns. “We are aware that we need partnerships like ours to do this. For some time now we have had monthly online meetings with members of the Hamburg Airport team, where we share information and knowledge and discuss and support each other’s goals and achievements. Now it is time to set further common goals.”
18,500 kilometers away – but with common climate goals
Hamburg Airport and Christchurch International Airport have a very special geographical connection: at a distance of around 18,500 kilometers from one another, they are exactly on the opposite side of the globe. Both airports have taken on a pioneering role in environmental protection within their sphere of activity. Since the end of 2021, Hamburg Airport has been the first major airport in Germany to be CO2-neutral and has been raising awareness of green alternatives throughout the industry for more than 20 years. In late 2020, Christchurch was recognized as a global leader in airport decarbonization when it became the first airport in the world to achieve Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 4. The airport strives to further reduce emissions based on science-based targets designed to
With the cooperation, both airports are now pooling their many years of knowledge and are striving together to achieve the goal of completely avoiding carbon dioxide emissions and taking on a pioneering role in their country for net-zero aviation. Both partners want to actively prepare and promote the future use of green hydrogen as an emission-free energy carrier in aviation and use synergy effects. This involves both H2-powered vehicles on the ground and hydrogen-based aircraft engines to enable a sustainable future in aviation. When setting up a hydrogen infrastructure, airports are faced with the challenge of developing suitable technical storage options – including for cryogenic liquefied hydrogen, which can be used in aviation until 2035.
Technical and operational solutions are also to be jointly identified with which CO2 emissions can be further reduced. Both airports see great potential in their own energy parks, among other things. Christchurch Airport is banking on photovoltaics at its 400-hectare Kōwhai Park energy park, which was officially announced last December and is on track to become New Zealand’s largest solar energy park. Hamburg Airport sees opportunities in the use of renewable wind power, including for the production of green hydrogen in the region.
Even before Hamburg Airport and Christchurch International Airport decided to enter into a formal partnership, they exchanged views on their environmental activities. They were networked by the German-New Zealand Center for Green Hydrogen, Research, Networking and Public Relations based at the University of Otago New Zealand. It was developed under the co-lead of Dr. Paul Jerabek (Institute for Hydrogen Technology, Helmholtz Center Hereon Hamburg, Germany) and Prof. Sally Brooker (University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand). Prof. Sally Brooker commented on the cooperation agreement between Hamburg Airport and Christchurch International Airport: “We look forward to seeing the rapid development of the zero-emissions ambitions of both airports, especially with regard to green hydrogen,
About Hamburg Airport
Hamburg Airport is the largest international airport in northern Germany and the fifth largest in Germany. Around 50 airlines currently fly to around 115 national and international destinations directly from Hamburg. Around 1,000 destinations worldwide can be reached with just one change. In addition, Hamburg Airport is a “city within the city”, an attractive destination with around 60 shops and restaurants, 10 travel agencies and leisure facilities. With a modern infrastructure, Hamburg Airport is preparing for the challenges of the future of air traffic.
About Christchurch International Airport
Christchurch Airport is the international gateway to New Zealand’s South Island and an important engine of the region’s economy. The airport was the first airport in the world to be certified at decarbonization level 4 under the Airports Council International program. The airport is now working to enable other businesses, including airlines, to decarbonize as quickly as possible. A key focus is the development of the Kōwhai Renewable Energy Park on a 400-acre site just behind the runways to power the new generations of electric aircraft and airplanes – including Heart Aerospace’s ES-30 – on green hydrogen.
Photo: Working meeting at Hamburg Airport: Hamburg’s Environmental Manager Jan Eike Hardegen and Nick Flack, General Manager Planning & Sustainability at Christchurch International Airport in New Zealand.