Germany’s Hamburg Airport and New Zealand's Christchurch Airport have revealed plans to work together towards the Net Zero climate goal.

At around 18,500km apart, Hamburg Airport and Christchurch International Airport are located exactly on opposite sides of the globe. Both airports have taken on a pioneering role in environmental protection. Hamburg became the first major airport in Germany to operate in a CO2-neutral manner at the end of 2021 and has been raising awareness of green alternatives throughout the industry for more than 20 years. In late 2020, Christchurch became the world’s first airport to achieve Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 4. The airport continues to address emissions reduction, ahead of science-based targets aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°.

With this cooperation, both airports are now pooling their many years of knowledge and working together to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions. The partners want to actively prepare and promote the future use of green hydrogen as an emission-free energy carrier in aviation and exploit synergy effects. This involves both H2-powered vehicles on the ground and hydrogen-based aircraft propulsion systems to enable a sustainable future for aviation. In building a hydrogen infrastructure, airports face the challenge of developing suitable technical storage options – including for cryogenic liquefied hydrogen, the use of which in aviation appears possible by 2035. In this context, the use of green hydrogen for small aircraft will also have to be investigated.

In addition, technical and operational solutions are to be jointly identified with which CO2 emissions can be further reduced. Among other things, both airports see great potential in company-owned energy parks. Christchurch Airport will rely on photovoltaics in its 400-hectare Kōwhai Park energy park announced last December and on track to be New Zealand’s largest solar energy park. Hamburg Airport sees opportunities in the use of renewable wind power, among other things for the production of green hydrogen in the region.

Prior to entering into a formal partnership, the airports exchanged information about their environmental activities on a monthly basis.

Image: Hamburg's head of environment Jan Eike Hardegen and Nick Flack, general manager planning & sustainability at New Zealand's Christchurch International Airport. Courtesy: of Hamburg Airport / Oliver Sorg