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San Diego achieves top rating in Airport Carbon Accreditation programme


San Diego International Airport (SAN) has achieved the highest level of certification in ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme – Level 4+ ‘Transition.’  

The airport achieved this certification through a series of programmes that have increased the use of carbon-free electricity and all-electric vehicles, facilitated carbon-emission reductions by airline and rideshare partners, and enabled carbon-offset purchases by our passengers. 

Airport Carbon Accreditation is the only institutionally endorsed, global carbon management certification programme for airports.

SAN is one of only three North American airports to achieve Level 4+ ‘Transition’ certification and the only airport in California to reach the milestone.

To achieve Level 4+, SAN has demonstrated that it continues to reduce carbon emissions under its direct control (i.e. emissions from building energy use and fleet vehicles), is on a trajectory to meet international Net Zero emission targets through implementation of its carbon management plan, has offset its remaining direct carbon emissions, and has effectively partnered with tenants responsible for Scope 3 emissions at the airport. 

“Since achieving Level 3+ ‘Carbon Neutrality’ in 2018, our team has been working with our airline partners, ground transportation providers, and passengers to reduce their emissions which is a key component of achieving Level 4+ accreditation,” said Kimberly Becker, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s president and CEO.

“It’s through collaboration that this goal was met and I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the airport authority team and the aviation partners that are committing to new ways of reducing emissions.”

Some of the notable projects and initiatives SAN has successfully implemented that contributed to achieving Level 4+ include:  

• The airport authority was one of the first organisations to enrol in San Diego Community Power’s “Power100 Champions” program and now receives 100% renewable and carbon-free grid-delivered electricity to the entire SAN airport campus.

• Transportation Network Companies (Uber, Lyft, etc.) conducting ridesharing services at SAN must meet an average fleetwide Greenhouse Gas Rating equivalent to the fuel efficiency of at least 52 miles per gallon by 2025.

• Through its stormwater capture and reuse system at Terminal 2 Parking Plaza, SAN has captured, treated, and reused more than four million gallons since the system was commissioned in 2018.

• The airport authority has developed one of the largest zero-emission shuttle fleets in the region, with a total of 33 all-electric buses.

• SAN has partnered with airports, airlines, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) producers, and other stakeholders to advocate for policies that would increase the use of low-carbon SAF to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector.

• The airport is working with our aviation partners to convert ground support equipment (GSE) to use lower-carbon alternative fuels. Airlines are expected to transition approximately 80% of their GSE to electric and renewable diesel by 2024.

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