Brisbane Airport.

The appointment of an airport CEO has marked the formation of the Federal Government’s Australian Jet Zero Council, which was welcomed by the Australian Airports Association (AAA). 

This council will work with the aviation industry to identify opportunities to decarbonise the sector, and opportunities for industry and government to collaborate in achieving emissions reduction targets, including through sustainable aviation fuels and emerging technology.

AAA’s CEO, James Goodwin, said it is vital for Australia’s aviation sector to play its part in achieving the Federal Government’s net zero emissions target by 2050, particularly to reach the early goal of a 43 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.

“Airports are also looking at other ways to help reach these net zero targets through increased use of recycled and recovered materials in pavements, more energy and water efficient airport buildings, equipment and on-site renewable energy generation and storage,” Mr Goodwin said. 

“Airports have already begun to invest in onsite renewable energy generation to reduce scope two emissions, with significant ‘solar farm’ operations at Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin and Melbourne Airports, generating over 24MW of electricity at full capacity.   

“As the vast majority of airfield emissions are scope three emissions from airlines, airports are key to facilitating emerging technologies for other alternative aviation fuels (such as hydrogen and battery-electric) and renewable energy sources which are still at early stages of development.”

CEO appointed to the council

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister, Catherine King, announced that Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO, Gert-Jan de Graaff has been appointed to the council, representing not just Brisbane Airport, but airports across the country.

Mr de Graaff said aviation accounts for two to three per cent of global emissions. 

“The beauty of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is that it can be used right now with immediate benefits with existing infrastructure and aircraft,” Mr de Graaff said. 

“But we don’t have local production. Australia needs a domestic SAF industry, and it’s a very exciting time to be part of the first ever Australian Jet Zero Council to be chaired by Minister King.” 

Brisbane Airport was the first Australian airport to receive global recognition for sustainability leadership, having achieved Level Four Airport Carbon Accreditation by Airports Council International. 

Brisbane Airport Corporation is on track to be net zero (scope one and two) by 2025. 

But the airport veteran will not just be representing Brisbane Airport. Gert-Jan de Graaff is Chair of the Major Airport Group at the Australian Airports Association. 

The airport position on the Council will be rotated on an annual basis.  

“Not only does Brisbane Airport want a cleaner and greener aviation industry but we know many passengers do too, along with our airline partners.”

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