Milan’s prominent airports, Linate and Malpensa, are making major strides in combatting climate change with the groundbreaking eMAGO project. The initiative is set to revolutionize how aircraft and airport vehicles operate, significantly reducing emissions.
A Pioneering Initiative in Italy
CINEA, the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency, and SEA have recently entered into an agreement. The goal? To finance the installation of airport vehicle charging columns and establish a fixed power supply for aircraft. This funding is part of the ambitious CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) program. Notably, this marks the first instance of such a project in Italy. European airports such as Paris (Orly), Riga, Vilnius, and Kaunas have started on similar paths.
Addressing the Global Climate Challenge
Airports worldwide are feeling the pressure to reduce their carbon footprint. Europe’s Airport Council International ACI EUROPE set a bold net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 target. Milan’s airports are racing ahead, aiming for zero emissions by 2030. The eMAGO initiative is at the forefront of SEA’s various projects to electrify Milan’s airports.
The Financial Breakdown
With generous funding of €4,401,000 from the agreement, the eMAGO project’s total cost is projected at €14,670,000. Over the next 36 months, the initiative will focus on installing Aircraft Ground Power Units at both Linate and Malpensa. This move will ensure aircraft utilize this power during parking and ground handling operations, thus eliminating the need for onboard generators and mobile diesel generators.
The project also envisions numerous charging stations for airport operational vehicles. These electric vehicle stations are critical, whether shuttling cargo and passengers or transferring ground personnel. SEA had already set the ball rolling in 2020 by converting 50% of Malpensa’s passenger buses to electric models. The plan further involves revamping the entire fleet, with 70% electric vehicles and the remaining hybrids.
Giorgio Medici, the Head of Environment and Funded Initiatives at SEA, voiced his optimism. “SEA has long been introducing technologies and working on projects to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable air transport to achieve its zero emissions target,” he said. “Thanks to the funding we have obtained, we can now take major steps forward in the electrification process of our airports by working on the ground vehicles that are under our direct responsibility and on the supply of energy to aircraft in transit at our airports.”
Richard Ferrer, Head of CINEA’s Alternative Fuels Sector, echoed this sentiment. “By co-funding the eMAGO project, the European Union is supporting the aviation sector’s decarbonization,” he said. “The electrification of airport ground operations at Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa airports will be a turning point. It’s an important first step on the road to net-zero emissions. In this sense, the eMAGO project will significantly contribute to the European Green Deal.”
A Year of Remarkable Achievements
In a record-setting achievement, Milan’s airports, alongside others associated with ACI Europe, managed to cut down CO2 emissions by 549,643 tonnes from May 2021 to May 2022, marking an 8.1% decrease.
European Parliament members will be introduced to the eMAGO project this coming November.
As the world grapples with the pressing issue of climate change, initiatives like eMAGO present a beacon of hope, showcasing tangible steps toward a greener future.