Single runway operation again during Earth Hour
As is now traditional, this year Budapest Airport is once again participating in the global environmental initiative called Earth Hour. The Hungarian capital airport will close one of its runways, switch off the related lights and reduce energy consumption in passenger circulation areas and in the nearly 300 buildings located at the airport for an hour at 8:30 p.m. on 23 March.
Similarly to earlier measures praised internationally, the airport operator is switching off all airfield ground lighting fixtures (1622 lights in total) for one of its two runways, including all approach, edge and centerline lights, as well as the special lighting fixtures in the touchdown zone, which have a total output of more than 240 000 Watts, and are so bright that they can normally be seen from a distance of 20 kilometers (12.5 miles). This will of course in no way jeopardize aviation safety, as the other runway will continue to operate, and the lights can be switched back on at any time, if necessary.
The runway blackout is the most spectacular, but by far not the only element of Budapest Airport’s participation in the event on 23 March. Lighting will also operate in reduced mode in and around the nearly 300 buildings located within the 1515 hectare area of the airport. Lights will be switched off completely between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. wherever safe operation will permit. The airport’s participation in the Earth Hour initiative will be perceptible for passengers as well, since lighting in the terminal buildings and car parks will be reduced, and that of advertising billboards will be cut completely.
Budapest Airport has made numerous efforts in the interest of environmentally conscious operation. The airport operator launched its energy rationalization program in 2007, which it has continued to enhance every year, for the sustainable development of the airport. Last year, efficient energy usage resulted in natural gas consumption decreasing by 850 000 cubic meters, which is roughly equivalent to the total consumption of the airport during a month in the fall, or the annual energy need, and the related carbon dioxide emissions, of 280 family homes. The bankruptcy of the Hungarian national carrier Malév on 3 February 2012 resulted in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions in itself, but the airport operator’s consistent environmental efforts are evidenced by the fact that emissions figures have been improving for several years. There was even an improvement of nearly 8 percent in 2011, which was the all-time record year in terms of passenger traffic.
Budapest Airport’s environmental protection initiatives were recognized by the European arm of the umbrella organization for international airports, ACI Europe (Airports Council International Europe), which awarded international carbon accreditation to the operator. Carbon accreditation is an international certification system worked out specifically for airports, established in order to achieve a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the sector. Based on methodology applied since 2010, not only natural gas and electricity consumption, but the fuel consumption of the vehicles operated by Budapest Airport also counts towards the total value.