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Dubai’s aviation sector makes green pledge

Dubai Airports, operator of the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic Dubai International (DXB), joined Dubai’s aviation community in signing a pledge to purchase only ‘green vehicles’ going forward. The pledge was signed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports; President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority; Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, and representatives from Emirates airline, flydubai, dnata, Dubai Police, Dubai Customs and Dubai’s General Directory of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA).

“This commitment is fully aligned with the Dubai government’s aggressive goals to reduce energy consumption by 30% by 2030 as well as our sector’s strategy to limit our environmental footprint while continuing our significant contributions to Dubai’s employment and GDP,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

DXB is home to a fleet of over 6,345 ground service vehicles comprising various types ranging from water tankers to tow tractors to fork lifts operated by a number of companies that operate on the airfield including airlines, control authorities and ground handling services provider dnata. Of these DXB features a variety of green vehicles including BMW hybrid limousines for VIP services and RTA’s fleet of Tesla taxis but wants to scale up efforts to convert the fleet to top hybrid or electric models.

“Our goal is to get greener faster,” said Michael Ibbitson, Executive Vice President, Infrastructure & Technology. “Together we have pledged to buy green going forward with a goal to replace the entire fleet with environmentally friendly options by the end of the next decade. Dubai Airports’ objective is to convert our portion of the total airport fleet – 352 vehicles – to green options by 2023. As a provider of infrastructure, Dubai Airports will also do its part by providing charging and fuelling stations to power the fleets operated by our stakeholders. All other members of the aviation community are equally behind this effort. Unfortunately, for some vehicle types such tow tractors, scissor lift trucks and ground power units, there are no hybrid or electric options. We are calling on manufacturers to address these gaps and come up with cost effective, environmentally friendly alternatives.”

Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE) and its entities have set ambitious targets to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint in light of Dubai Plan 2021. “The Green Mobility Initiative” specific programmes have since been introduced in Dubai to adapt cleaner technologies and reduce dependence on fossil fuel. Deployment of hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) has been identified as a potential programme to support Dubai’s vision to become an integrated Smart City.

The overall Dubai target for the share of hybrid and electric vehicles is at least 2% penetration rate by 2020 and 10% by 2030 of total vehicles registered in Dubai. This target, which also applies to the aviation sector, is in line with international benchmarks and would result in estimated fuel savings of about 3 billion litres or 5% of total consumption by 2030.