New Zealand ambassador Craig Hawke has toured CO2-neutral airport operations at Hamburg Airport, reflecting the climate partnership between Christchurch and Hamburg airports.

Hawke was joined by New Zealand trade commissioner Simon Hearsey. The aim of the visit was to find out more about the decarbonisation measures at Germany’s fifth biggest airport. The partner airports already operate in a CO2-neutral manner and are working on an infrastructure for the use of green hydrogen in aviation. Their common goal is to cut fossil CO2 emissions to zero.

Hamburg Airport CEO Michael Eggenschwiler said: “We are delighted to have an experienced partner in Christchurch Airport to drive forward our joint ambitious climate goals. Ambassador Hawke's visit underlines once again that we are taking a pioneering role in decarbonisation which is attracting attention beyond Hamburg.

“With New Zealand, we are pooling our expertise in a unique way on an international level to work towards CO2-free airport operations and a future with sustainably operated aircraft. This involves both H2-powered vehicles on the ground and infrastructure for hydrogen-based aircraft propulsion. The future of energy and heat supply with self-generated green electricity is also an important field of cooperation.”

The cooperation between the two airports is intended, among other things, to identify technical and operational solutions that can further reduce CO2 emissions. Both partners also want to actively prepare and promote the future use of green hydrogen as an emission-free energy carrier in aviation and exploit synergy effects. In developing a hydrogen infrastructure, the airports face, among other things, the challenge of developing suitable technical storage options – for example, for cryogenic liquefied hydrogen, the use of which could possibly appear in aviation by 2035. In addition to the focus on vehicle fleets and future aircraft engines, emission-free energy and heat supply are also at the centre of the exchange. The different approaches to the production and use of wind energy and photovoltaics for a CO2-free energy supply for the entire airport infrastructure are key to achieving Net Zero quickly and efficiently, the airports said.

Image: Craig Hawke, Michael Eggenschwiler and Simon Hearsey (Hamburg Airport / Oliver Sorg)