A new project was approved by the European Commission (EC) to help mitigate the environmental impact of the aviation sector. hOListic Green Airport (OLGA) is based on an integrated approach and started on 1st October 2021. It will develop innovative sustainable measures for reducing both airside and landside emissions while improving energy efficiency, air quality, biodiversity, and waste management. These solutions support the European Union’s (EU) carbon neutrality ambition and aim to improve quality of life.
In support of the EU Green Deal, several projects will be financed by the EU to facilitate the transition to low-carbon mobility and a climate-resilient society.
One of the projects that will actively contribute to this strategic objective is OLGA. Focusing on boosting environmental performance at airports from flight operations, passenger and freight, and community perspectives, OLGA is uniquely positioned to showcase innovative sustainability measures and to prove scalability and EU-wide applicability.
Four international airports and their local stakeholders are involved in the project: Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Milan Malpensa, Zagreb, and Cluj. Further roll-out of the project results will be ensured by the Airport Regions Council (ARC), which is the organisation of cities and regions with an international airport on their territories. In addition, the OLGA project will connect with other EU-funded projects and initiatives focused on green aviation, boosting Europe as a pioneer in smart and sustainable mobility.
Joining forces to significantly contribute to the environmental transition of airports operations
OLGA project brings together 57 partners and associated entities which form a diverse consortium gathering a high level of experience and expertise, ranging from large and small airports, airlines, and the aeronautic industry to public authorities, researchers and innovative small and medium enterprises focusing on environmental performance.
The project is led by Groupe ADP with Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport as the frontrunner. Augustin de Romanet, Chairman and CEO of Groupe ADP stated that "OLGA will be a showcase of our expertise. As main worldwide airports operator, we are already involved in reducing our environmental footprint, contributing to the environmental transition of the airline industry, developing industrial and territorial ecology projects, and reducing the environmental impact of projects on a lifecycle basis.”
Air France, as a partner of the OLGA project and a pioneer in the electrification of ground support equipment fleet at the Paris airports, is a real driving force in clean energy transition and reduction of local emissions thanks to its work on optimization of electric recharging operations, hydrogen solutions and use of sustainable aviation fuel.
With similar ambitions, Milano Malpensa Airport, part of SEA Milan Airports, will take forward the commitment to decarbonization. Armando Brunini, CEO of SEA Milan Airports, emphasizes that “OLGA drives us to accelerate our efforts on environmental sustainability. Our main focus will be the implementation of initiatives related to the use of hydrogen for both airport vehicles and for connectivity. In addition, we will develop models and solutions for the conservation of biodiversity in the areas surrounding Malpensa airport.”
Zagreb Franjo Tuđman Airport (also managed by Groupe ADP and its subsidiary TAV Airports) and Cluj Airport will be key in demonstrating the replicability of innovations implemented at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport as well as in conducting complimentary demonstrations to further boost environmental performance. Huseyin Bahadir Bedir, CEO of Zagreb Airport, stated that “Zagreb Airport is committed to the efforts of applying technological solutions in business processes that will lead to the reduction of pollution and noise. This approach will directly contribute to improving the quality of life of the local and wider communities”. Cluj Airport and its local partners will also “focus on innovation mobility actions, on energy efficiency and renewable technologies for its Terminals. Smart connectivity with Cluj-Napoca city, one of the 2020 finalists of the European Capital of Innovation Award, will yield a green airport-city transformation”, explains David Ciceo, CEO of Cluj Airport.
The project also includes an Advisory Board (AB) consisting of 27 members including academia, aeronautic and mobility companies, airports, industry, and territorial administrations. The AB members are to provide feedback on project activities, share expertise, and assess project results.
A holistic approach to reduce the environmental impact of aviation
With a total budget of 34 million euros, out of which 25 million euros will be granted by the European Commission over a period of 60 months, OLGA partners will seek to solve the challenge of significantly reducing the environmental impact of the air transportation sector as a whole.
It is expected that the OLGA project will rapidly achieve quantifiable advances, thus accelerating the exploitation of results. The efforts and innovative measures of OLGA will lead to CO2 reduction, air quality improvement, and biodiversity preservation while involving the entire value chain of the aviation sector. The OLGA results will further generate positive impacts at societal, environmental, and economic levels which will spread at local, national, and EU scales.