The GMR consortium-AAI run Delhi Airport has become the first carbon neutral airport in Asia-Pacific following a series of measures taken by it to reduce carbon footprint, including setting up of a 7.84 MW solar power plant.

The announcement was made by the international body of aerodrome operators across the world, ACI during the Airport Carbon Accreditation certificate presentation ceremony in Montreal, Canada on Tuesday.

The Airport Carbon Accreditation has upgraded Delhi Airport to highest level of certification — a level 3+ neutrality — available to airports across the world, according to a release.

Carbon neutrality occurs when the net carbon emissions over an entire year are zero or when the airport absorbs or offsets the same amount of emission that was generated.

This achievement is accredited by ACI under Airport Carbon Accreditation that monitors the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions.

"Achievement of the accreditation for carbon neutrality is indeed recognition of a great team work. With this achievement, we have set up new benchmark for other airports in this region to follow.

"Going forward we are focusing on energy conservation and exploring alternative solution for generating green energy.

Delhi Airport aims to increase its solar power generation capacity to 20 MW by 2020," Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) Chief Executive Officer I Prabhakra Rao said, after receiving the prestigious certificate.

DIAL, which runs Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, is a joint venture company, in which GMR holds majority stake. 

The ACI has earlier awarded Delhi Airport twice as the world’s number one aerodrome in 25-40 million passengers per annum category under the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme.

The passenger traffic at the Delhi airport spiked 18.1 per cent last fiscal to 48.42 million as compared to 40.98 million passengers who arrived and departed in FY15.

ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Director, Patti Chau said, "We are extremely delighted to welcome the first airport in our region with such achievement. Level 3+, Neutrality is the highest level of environmental achievement available to airports under the programme and it is recognition of the airport’s great effort in reducing and offsetting emissions." 

According to release, DIAL, at IGIA, has taken the proactive approach towards environment management and sustainability development.

Terminal 3 of Delhi Airport is a LEED Gold certified green building. The energy efficiency measures implemented in IGIA has been registered in UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) as clean development mechanism project.

Besides, DIAL has also set up a 7.84 MW solar power plants to reduce GHG emission, the release said, adding other energy efficient and environment friendly infrastructures at the airport include state-of-the-art sewage and water treatment plants, energy efficient bridge mounted equipment (BMEs), energy-efficient lighting systems, advanced fuel hydrant systems, among others, it said.

The various emission saving measures implemented in DIAL have resulted in 51 per cent reduction in specific GHG emission (kgCO2/Pax) during the last five years, it added.