Vienna, May 22, 2014 – The City of Vienna, in cooperation with Vienna International Airport, were the hosts of the last study visit of the dAIR Interreg IVC project between 19 and 21 May 2014. Regional planners, environmental specialists and experts from nine other European regions came to discuss the actions that the region and airport are taking at the moment to curb the impact of fossil fuels in relation to their airport.
The airport of Vienna is quite a special one, with part of it owned by the City of Vienna. This does lead to a strong cooperation between the two entities, especially when it comes to carbon reduction.
“Ownership of the city in the airport is a very strategic decision and Vienna is very proud of the many ecological strategies taken by the airport,” said Erich Valentin, Member of the Vienna City Council and Provincial Parliament.
The management of the airport began a few years ago the process of gradual reduction of CO2 emissions, amongst others, by participating in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme and also by working on the dAIR project extensively. Beyond that, Vienna is at the forefront of mediation with neighbours. Through this mediation agreement 5 to 6 million euros are put on a yearly basis into an environmental fund by Vienna International Airport. This environmental fund is used by the communities nearby the airport.
Participants at the study visit were able to exchange ideas with a panel of specialists from the area about the projects that the region and airport are currently undertaking in this respect.
Beyond that, the airport, the city and the various public transport operators are working together to improve the quality of surface access to the airport. “The share of public transport to the airport in Vienna is rising significantly,” said Julian Jäger, Vienna International Airport CEO, who gave a presentation to the dAIR participants.
One of the best practices identified in Vienna relates to the surface access to the airport. It is the City Airport Train (CAT), which is a train that connects the centre of Vienna with the airport, using 100% renewable energy. The energy comes from hydro power (92%) and wind power (8%). It is the greenest way to reach the airport. There are also numerous other trains that reach the airport, and the Austrian Federal Railways are planning to increase the frequency of long distance trains from the airport in the next couple of years.
Further adding to CO2 friendly measures, a bike lane from the city to the airport has recently been completed, running 17 km. The airport is also promoting the use of bicycles for their employees, and a number of bike sharing systems are in operation at the airport.
This is the last study visit of the dAIR project, which will be followed by a final dissemination event to be held in Brussels on 13 October. The outcomes of the project will be presented then in front of both the partners and policy makers and other participants from Europe.
The project will continue to identify problems and solutions in airport areas and will culminate with a series of documents outlining the best practices identified. This helps public authorities and airport operators to understand the larger framework that is surrounding air quality at airports.