Sustainable aviation fuels; Sustainable aviation fuels;

Sustainable aviation

We’re helping aviation clients to transform their operations and meet net zero goals.

We’re helping aviation clients to transform their operations and meet net zero goals.

The world needs a sustainable aviation industry. Airports form part of critical supply chains for medicine, food, knowledge, business, employment, tourism and cultural exchange. Compared to other forms of transport their land take is relatively low, and as a sector they have been proactive in embracing sustainability in terms of efficiency, both in terminals and aircraft design and operations. While most of the industry’s emissions remain a fuel and performance engineering challenge to solve, we believe there is much we can contribute now:  on the ground, in the terminal, in day-to-day operations, readying the industry for the next generation of clean-tech aviation.

Arup has some of the best minds working in sustainable development. Here are just some of the growing ways we’re helping aviation clients to transform their operations and meet net zero goals.

The sustainable airport

Our definition of sustainable goes beyond carbon emissions, important as they are. As major pieces of transport infrastructure, airports have the opportunity to adopt low emission development strategies, optimise their energy and resource use, pioneer the use of electric vehicles within their estates, embed circular economy principles as they build new capacity, and drive socially valuable outcomes for local populations. We help clients in the sector to develop highly integrated approaches to all these opportunities.

Net zero

How can an airport achieve net zero emissions?

We help airports to become industry leaders in utilizing green energy sources to offset carbon emissions

Find out how we've helped San Francisco International Airport scope sustainable solutions


How can we design airports to become more physically sustainable?

We help you consider a 360-degree lifecycle approach to design, construction and operation of new and existing infrastructure. At Mactan-Cebu International Airport we adopted circular economy principles in the design of its signature roof, using timber to lower the carbon footprint of construction when compared to steel and cement.

Find out more about Mactan-Cebu International Airport


How do airports grow without damaging nature and biodiversity?

We help clients minimise their environmental impact, whilst continuing to provide opportunity for socio-economic growth for generations to come

Discover how we helped Hong Kong International Airport build smart, green facilities

Healthier spaces

How can airports become healthier for employees, communities and users?

We work for airports to be perceived as a green and pleasant place to work and travel through.

Learn how Shenzhen BaoAn International Airport Terminal 3 sets the standard for green aviation buildings in China, with its façade design responding to hot summers, noise and thermal insulation.

Read more about Shenzhen BaoAn International Airport

Local community

How can airports play a bigger role in the local community?

We believe airports can act as a catalyst for local, regional and international socio-economical development

Find out how Barcelona El Prat airport will benefit the wider community

Towards the decarbonised airport

Given the growing global regulatory shift to net zero, the industry has to move decisively to measure and address airports’ current emissions and transition to net-zero economy. The sector faces reputational, strategic, operational and ultimately commercial risks if it fails to decarbonise effectively. 

We believe that the pathway to net-zero should be seen as an investment in the future, bringing airports to the forefront of sustainable design, construction, and operations. As such, achieving net-zero requires commitment from the financier through to the airport owner, operator, commercial tenants, airlines and host city.

The list of benefits from decarbonisation are substantial: reduced maintenance and replacement costs, extending useful life of buildings, improved thermal comfort, airflow, and improving lighting for health, well-being and productivity of occupants. In addition, a net-zero strategy will maximise airports’ resilience to the impacts of climate change and will prepare them for a future of greater extremes.

Pathway-to-a-decarbonised-airport Pathway-to-a-decarbonised-airport

Tomorrow starts today

The time for airports to act is now. Arup is helping owners and operators to demonstrate leadership in sustainable aviation, achieving best practice in building design, construction, maintenance and refurbishment on both new and existing airports. It’s also time to explore and prepare the infrastructure to support alternative aviation fuels like hydrogen or battery power, in what is likely to be mixed set of propulsion technologies in the medium term.

A shared pathway

If you’d like to explore Arup’s sustainable aviation pathway, our highly integrated approach to achieving these complex goals, get in touch. It represents our latest thinking, born of long experience in the aviation sector, but full of lessons drawn from other industries’ journey on the same path.