Climate protection strategy

Responsibility for people and nature

Whether noise control, conservation, climate protection, or waste or water management, Munich Airport understands its responsibility and pursues a wide range of projects to keep its operations’ impact on local people and the environment as low as possible. In doing so, it focuses on two main aspects: the airport’s Environment Management team ensures that legal and official requirements are met. In addition, Munich Airport has created its own programs to help it reach very specific environmental protection goals.

An ambitious goal: Germany’s first airport with climate-neutral operations

The airport has once again significantly developed its climate-related goals to enable it to keep pace with its own targets, taking into account the fast-paced development of objectives in climate protection policy. With respect to the emissions that it is able to impact directly, the airport is to make its operations completely climate-neutral by 2030 – and will be the first airport in Germany to do so. To achieve this, the Munich Airport Group is aiming to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that can be attributed directly to it by 60 percent using a wide array of technical measures. It is no longer possible for technology to have a major impact on the other 40 percent of these emissions. Instead, they will be balanced out by compensation measures until 2030, preferably within the region. This climate protection goal was passed by the Supervisory Board in December 2016 and is significantly more ambitious than the former aim to achieve CO2-neutral growth by 2020.

37 percent lower CO2 emissions per passenger since 2005

FMG has been undertaking ambitious measures since 2008, which have resulted in the approximately 162,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted in 2005 falling to around 150,000 tonnes in 2016. Had the over 200 individual measures not been effected, CO2 emissions from Munich Airport would have been around 30,000 tonnes a year more than they actually are. In 2016, Flughafen München GmbH alone invested around 460,000 euros in projects to help increase energy efficiency as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1,491 tonnes over the long term, although some of the impact will not be felt until 2017.

The European airport organization ACI Europe awarded FMG «Level 3 – Optimization» for the sixth consecutive time for its 2016 Airport Carbon Accreditation following the successful reduction of carbon greenhouse gas emissions.

One important factor in the climate protection strategy are the new pre-conditioned air systems (PCA systems), which cost almost 30 million euros. This technology supplies aircraft with pre-conditioned air while parked. As a result, the aircraft no longer need to run their auxiliary power units (APUs), which are responsible for high levels of noise, CO2 emissions, and other air pollutants. In future, PCA systems will help to prevent up to 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

In terms of the climate protection strategy, the commissioning of the new satellite building initially results in an increase in CO2 emissions due to energy requirements. When combined with further, minor increases caused by higher passenger figures, this totals around 10,000 tonnes of CO2. Nevertheless, the overall footprint in scopes 1 and 2 still fell by 46 tonnes in absolute terms. This notable success was made possible solely thanks to the new block heat and power plant, which was put into operation at the end of 2015. By improving on the efficiency and power of the old system, it has offset over 80 percent of the increase. The remaining 20 percent have been balanced out by savings in existing buildings.

Carbon emissions at Munich Airport

Scopes 1, 2, and 3 without the LTO cycle, APU, and public transport
In tonnes per year

Grafic: Carbon emissions at Munich Airport

Specific carbon emissions per passenger

In kg of CO2

Grafik: Spezifische CO<sub>2</sub>-Emissionen pro Passagier

The footprint covers all emissions

Delivering effective climate protection for an airport is a complex task. After all, any calculation of greenhouse gas emissions not only includes emissions resulting from the operation of infrastructure and aircraft emissions during take-off, landing, taxiing, or handling, but also other sources – these include the arrival and departure of passengers, visitors, and employees and the operation of businesses active at the airport such as hotels, shops, restaurants, gas stations, and workshops.

The following individual sources of emissions are counted:

  • Power center
  • De-icer recycling system
  • Airside/in-house vehicle traffic (such as buses on the apron, luggage transporters and aircraft tug vehicles), ground power units, and other service equipment
  • Procured power, district heat, and natural gas
  • Power, district heat, cooling power, fuel, and natural gas supplies to external companies
  • Air traffic in the LTO cycle
  • Glossary
  • Auxiliary power units
  • Engine test runs
  • Feeder traffic: landside/public vehicle traffic (employees, passengers, visitors and freight)

According to the ICAO calculation method applied internationally, only the portion of CO2 that taking off and landing aircraft emit up to an altitude of 3,000 feet (914 meters) is attributed to the airport. All of an aircraft’s movements below the 914-meter mark are counted under the LTO cycle (landing and take-off cycle).

A carbon footprint provides the basis for reliably recording all forms of emissions in a way that enables international comparison. It breaks down all greenhouse gas emissions that can be attributed to an airport into three different scopes according to the «Greenhouse Gas Protocol» international standard.

Greenhouse gas emissions at Munich Airport

Grafic: Greenhouse gas emissions at Munich Airport

Scope 1

Block heat and power plant: the heart of energy supply

With its block heat and power plant, the airport generates over half of its on-site energy requirements using environmentally-friendly natural gas. The waste heat generated from this alone covers almost all of its heating and cooling requirements without requiring the use of additional energy. The airport then covers its remaining heating requirements by procuring district heat from Fernwärmeversorgung Freising. In turn, 50 percent of the purchased district heat – i.e. approximately 18 gigawatt hours (GWh) – is generated by a biomass thermal power plant in Zolling. This district heat obtained from biomass is renewable and climate-neutral, and cuts CO2 emissions by around 3,800 tonnes per year. The block heat and power plant’s six large engines have a total output of 24 megawatts of electrical power, and generate 145 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 155 million kilowatt hours of heat. This heat is used to keep the airport buildings warm in winter, while absorption refrigeration units are used to keep them cool in summer. If the heat and power were generated separately in the mix applied in the Federal Republic of Germany, the amount of carbon produced each year would be almost 50,000 tonnes higher, i.e. the same amount emitted by a small city with more than 40,000 residents.

LED technology reduces CO2 emissions

In 2016, further equipment was converted to LED technology, such as in parking lots P25 and P26, the vehicle garage, and freight forwarding building. Overall, the savings resulting from this style of lighting amounted to 986 tonnes of CO2 per year. A further 505 tonnes of CO2 were saved in other areas.

Sustainable building generates potential for savings

Flughafen München GmbH places great emphasis on sustainable building, a commitment that is underlined by its membership of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). An in-house center of core expertise plans and manages all carbon-relevant issues related to sustainable building.

Example measures from 2016:

  • Climate facade on the satellite building
    Thanks to advanced materials and innovative technology, the specific CO2 emissions per square meter of gross floor area caused by the satellite building is 40 percent lower than in the terminal. One of the factors that helps the building to set new standards when it comes to energy efficiency is the climate facade: the glass facades that run along the long sides of the building are equipped with a 4.5-meter-wide accessible «climate buffer», which separates the air-conditioned building interior from the outer facade. In this intermediate space escalators are situated that transport passengers between the three levels. Inspired by the idea behind thermos bottles, this layer of air helps to improve the building’s insulation. The facade itself is made from a newly developed form of glass: while letting in daylight, a special coating enables it to prevent the excessive build-up of heat caused by the sun’s rays.
  • Building technology
    By making improvements to its existing portfolio, FMG reduced its CO2 emissions by almost 19 percent between 2005 and 2016. However, there is still room for even further improvement, especially when it comes to the energy efficiency of office buildings and terminals. Energy requirements in existing buildings can be reduced using intelligent, user-dependent control technology. New buildings can be designed as «light-tech buildings» to meet the Passivhaus standard, while intelligent facade systems and climate-based concepts can help to increase user comfort. As a result, a further 20 to 25 percent increase in energy efficiency could be achieved for existing buildings, which is equivalent to carbon reductions of around 30,000 tonnes.
  • New buildings
    The additional new buildings planned for construction by 2020, in particular at AirSite West (such as the office building, Airport Academy and budget hotel) and on the rest of the campus (for instance, the north fire station, and the canteen on the apron) will also be included in the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 40 percent when compared to existing buildings. Based on forecast carbon figures, target figures with 40 percent lower CO2 emissions have been defined for this purpose.

Alternative energy on the rise

As part of its climate protection program, Munich Airport uses alternative fuels from renewable energy sources within its vehicle pool:

  • 22 vehicles run on bioethanol
  • A further 31 cars use biogas
  • 32 apron buses – more than half of the total – have been awarded the «Blue Angel» eco-label
  • There are 14 electric cars/mini transporters

The proportion of electric vehicles is set to rise significantly: within three years, Munich Airport will replace 121 of its older vehicles run on gasoline or diesel with new electric vehicles. This is equivalent to more than 20 percent of the current vehicle pool. This six-figure, environmentally-friendly investment is supported by subsidies from the German Ministry of Transport.

After weighing up various options, biogas has proven to be the best technology to bridge the next eight to ten years: around 150 vehicles could run on biogas, provided that there is a biogas refueling station in the non-public area. A total of around 11,000 tonnes of CO2 per year can be offset in fuel consumption by vehicles.

Advanced hybrid vehicles

The airport has owned five new BMW 740Le iPerformance limousines since the end of 2016. Thanks to their cutting-edge hybrid drive technology, VipWing passengers not only get to travel directly across the taxiway to their airplane in comfort, but also without generating any emissions.

Scope 2

Less than 40 percent of the power used on the airport campus comes from external energy providers. To this end, energy mix emissions within the German power grid are attributed to the airport. Although the proportion of renewable energies has been rising significantly for some years in Germany, the contribution made by lignite and hard coal to electricity generation has also been increasing. As a result, the specific emissions from the power bought in by Munich Airport have in fact increased between 2011 and 2015. Emissions values from power generation only started to drop again in 2016. Overall, emissions produced by the external procurement of power and district heat have in fact decreased by 22 percent since 2005. Looking at the Munich Airport Group alone, this figure has fallen by almost 50 percent. This is down to the new, even more efficient engines for the cogeneration of heat and power on the one hand, and reductions in power consumption on the other.

Scope 3

With respect to energy consumed by airport users, Flughafen München GmbH has developed further climate protection measures during 2016 in conjunction with the airlines and the companies based at the airport. The airport invested heavily in pre-conditioned air systems (PCA systems). Following a construction period of around two years, these systems went into operation in Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and the satellite building in 2016. In 2016, this technology had already contributed to savings of over 3,800 tonnes of CO2 after just a short time in operation.

Successful reduction in CO2 emissions

The international climate protection organization CDP has honored Flughafen München GmbH (FMG) for its hard work in the area of effective climate protection. Munich Airport was awarded a «B» rating in the 2016 climate change report, meaning it also received the status of «Sector leader in transportation». This makes FMG one of the best companies in the industry in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Completed projects from the carbon reduction program and energy generation strategy

Issue Measure CO2 reductions per year
Energy generation Permanent operation of the four new block heat and power heat modules and associated peripheral equipment 8,185 t
Lighting Conversion of apron navigation lighting to LED technology on ramp 3, M4, and mobile bridges 59 t
Retrofitting LED lighting in ramp equipment station 2 72 t
Air conditioning Streamlining of operating hours for air conditioning units in the central building 44 t
Streamlining of air conditioning system in the DLH warehouse 14 t
Airport technology Introduction of PCA systems at Terminals 1 and 2, and the satellite building; operations started in September/October 2016 3,831 t

Air quality

Air pollutant emissions

The assessment of air quality in the area around the airport looks at a number of important factors, including nitrogen oxide NOx, sulfur dioxide SOx, and particulate matter PM10. These substances are emitted directly from both road and air traffic. The emissions from feeder traffic and the aircraft LTO cycle are calculated in the same way as CO2 emissions. Air traffic is also responsible for the majority of these emissions.

Measuring points for air quality and biomonitoring

Grafic: Measuring points for air quality and biomonitoring

Landing charges based on emissions

Flughafen München GmbH collects emissions-based landing charges for nitrogen oxide emissions. It therefore makes an active contribution to improving the quality of the environment around the airport. This gives engine and aircraft manufacturers a long-term incentive to invest in the development of aircraft that produce less in the way of harmful emissions. The principles of engine-specific contaminant assessment (NOx) are in turn incorporated into the calculations for the carbon footprint, thereby improving the way carbon is recorded.

Keeping a constant eye on air quality

The impact of emissions on air quality at Munich Airport is continuously monitored at two measuring points – one in the western area and one in the eastern area of the airport. Air quality measurements record the effect of all sources of harmful emissions from road traffic, air traffic, and other airport operations – overlaid with the background levels from the Munich metropolitan area and the natural background concentration in the atmosphere. Measurements for the contaminants ozone, nitrogen monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene, xylene, dustfall, particulate matter PM10, and particulate matter PM2.5 gave the following result for 2016: all statutory limits for the protection of human health were met. In 2016, as in previous years, the key parameters of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter were mainly found to be at low to medium levels.

At the start of 2014, Munich Airport became the first airport in Germany to additionally determine the quality of air using a mobile air quality measurement station. It measures the same substances as the stationary measuring point LHY7 and is used for specialist investigations in the surrounding municipalities. The mobile station has been used five times to date: measurements were recorded in Haimhausen in the first half of 2016, followed by Ismaning in the second half of the year. The figures confirmed the results from the stationary measurements and also fell below the statutory limits.

Keeping track of contaminants

Long-lasting contaminants can accumulate in the environment and therefore seep into the food chain. This is why Munich Airport has spent many years using various methods to find out to what extent contaminants could be transferred into foodstuffs, animal feed, or the ground. In 2016, plant pots containing Italian ryegrass and kale, and pots for collecting dustfall were set up at twelve measuring points around the airport site. Work also continued on the honey monitoring project launched in 2008.

Concentration of contaminants at the measuring point on the east side of the airport premises

Annual averages in μg/m3

Grafic: Concentration of contaminants at the measuring point on the east side of the airport premises

Process for measuring harmful emissions


  • Plant pots containing Italian ryegrass and kale at 12 measuring points
  • Accumulations of heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the air


Limiting values and guidelines for agricultural animal feed and plant-based food are met 1)

Honey monitoring

  • Samples of honey, pollen, and wax at three locations
  • Accumulations of heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)


No concerns regarding the consumption of honey and pollen


  • Standardized dust collection («Bergerhoff» process) at 12 measuring points
  • Dust and matter containing dust deposited in the ground and on surfaces


Limiting values and guidelines for soil protection are met 1)

1) 2015, results for 2016 not yet available at time of publication.