The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has said that 44 of its airports have successfully transitioned their entire power consumption to 100 per cent renewable energy. This significant accomplishment marks a major milestone in India’s aviation sector, as it strives to promote sustainable development and reduce carbon emissions.

India has close to 150 airports. The rapid growth of India’s aviation industry in recent years has led to a corresponding increase in carbon emissions from airports. In response, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has been implementing various initiatives to foster sustainable practices and curb emissions at airports.

Analysis reveals that direct emissions from airport-owned or controlled sources, known as Scope 1 emissions, account for five per cent of the total, while indirect emissions from purchased energy consumption, referred to as Scope 2 emissions, contribute 95 per cent.

Recognising the urgency of addressing environmental concerns, most AAI airports have set ambitious targets to achieve 100 per cent green energy usage by 2024, with a subsequent goal of attaining net-zero emissions by 2030. AAI has directed its efforts towards ensuring that all operational airports adopt renewable energy sources by 2024.

According to agency reports, Jyortiaditya Scindia, Civil Aviation minister, has said that  the ministry is encouraging our airports to use green energy by 2024 and achieve net zero by 2030. Twenty-five of our airports are already using 100 per cent green energy. “Our target is to make another 121 airports carbon neutral by 2025,” he said.

Notably, Delhi and Mumbai airports, the country’s two major aviation hubs, have achieved the highest Level 4+ Carbon Accreditation awarded by the Airports Council International (ACI). This esteemed recognition is currently held by only three airports in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition, Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports have attained the status of being Carbon Neutral, reaching Level 3+ accreditation. Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, and Varanasi Airports have obtained Level 2 Airport Carbon accreditation, while certification is underway for 23 more airports.

AAI has demonstrated its commitment to renewable energy by installing solar power plants at several airports, with a combined capacity exceeding 54 MWp. Furthermore, the authority procures approximately 53 million units of solar energy through open access and green power tariff, significantly increasing the share of renewable energy to approximately 35 per cent of total electrical consumption across AAI airports.