16 Dec Taking Airport Carbon Accreditation to a higher level


Despite the downturn in the aviation sector, the sector continues taking actions against the climate change. Since March this year 29 airports joined the program for the first time and a further 22 achieved new levels of accreditation. At the To70 offices around the globe, we see an increasing interest from airports on all continents to join the program. Now, ACI is taking the ACA program to a higher level.

New developments in the program

A few weeks ago, ACI showed its increased ambition by introducing two new accreditation levels in the ACA program: Level 4 Transformation and Level 4+ Transition. With this ad dition, the ACA accreditation levels now comprise:

Level 1 Mapping
Level 2 Reduction
Level 3 Optimisation
Level 3+ Neutrality
Level 4 Transformation
Level 4+ Transition

The first airports have already been certified at these new levels.

The objective of introducing the new levels is to “bring the program into line with the latest scientific and policy developments of recent years, and quite rightly reflect enhanced public expectations of the societal and environmental role we play[1].

What´s new in Level 4/4+?

While Levels 2 and 3 allow for flexibility in the magnitude of reductions achieved, Levels 4 and 4+ set out further obligations by requiring a long-term carbon management strategy oriented towards absolute emissions reductions.

Airports applying for Level 4 certification will have to:

  • Include additional emissions sources at Scope 1 and Scope 3;
    • De-icing substances for surfaces and aircrafts;
    • Refrigerant losses;
    • Third party non-road construction vehicles and plant emissions;
    • All aircraft full flight (Cruise, Climb and Descent) emissions (½ way approach);
    • All offsite emissions from activities originating at the airport, e.g., waste incineration, landfill, sewage, etc.
  • Formulate a long-term, absolute emissions reduction target, aligned with the 1.5°C pathway or the 2°C pathway outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);
  • Define the steps to achieve this target and the interim milestones to measure its progress;
  • Demonstrate evidence of actively driving third parties towards delivering emissions reductions.


At To70 we believe that society’s growing demand for transport and mobility can be met in a safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable manner. The ACA program is one measure that adds to achieving that goal.

Thanks to our experience in many other related projects, we know the implications that solutions to reduce the airports carbon footprint can bring along. For example, for solar panels at airports issues like sun light reflection, electromagnetic interference, vehicle access and Obstacle Limitation Surfaces have to be assessed for their impact on safety. Likewise, for wind turbines in the vicinity of airports, the radar interference, Obstacle Limitation Surfaces, turbulence downwind and lightning nuisance have to be assessed.

We have experience in guiding and verifying ACA applications all over the globe and on all levels. In the near future we expect to announce our specific Level 4/4+ certified verifier(s). We are pleased to guide your airport through any of these levels of accreditations or act as a third-party independent verifier for your airport.

About To70. To70 is one of the world’s leading aviation consultancies, founded in the Netherlands with offices in Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin America. To70 believes that society’s growing demand for transport and mobility can be met in a safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable manner. To achieve this, policy and business decisions have to be based on objective information. With our diverse team of specialists and generalists To70 provides pragmatic solutions and expert advice, based on high-quality data-driven analyses. For more information, please refer to www.to70.com.


[1] Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE


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Peter Gal
Peter Gal is managing the To70 office in Colombia. After being active in the Dutch aviation sector for 11 years, Peter started the To70 office in Colombia in 2011, helping the Colombian aviation sector to cope with the challenges that come along with its huge growth.
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