Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion

Client: Sunshine Coast Airport
Skills: GHG assessment
Location: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Date:  2012-2013

The Sunshine Coast Airport sought approval for a new runway to accommodate wide body jets, allowing greater international travel. The terms of reference (ToR) for EIS and the brief to consultants called for the preparation of a carbon footprint following ISO14064, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (WBCSD/WRI 2004) and the Australian National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (NGER) including the quantification of scope 3 emissions where possible as well as scopes 1 and 2.

Unusually for an EIS of this nature, the ToR specifically required assessment of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from aircraft operations including GHG emissions from aircraft landing and takeoff, which are scope 3 and do not have established estimation methods.

Given the complex mix of current and forecast aircraft movement in terms of commercial and general aviation, training flights and helicopter activity, Katestone had to create an innovative method to estimate the associated aircraft GHG emissions.

There were a number of different application specific sources of information detailing current and expected increases in airport activities none of which satisfied the requirements of conducting a GHG estimation.

Available data sources included:

  • actual and forecast passenger numbers – commercial flights only
  • ‘busy day’ commercial flight forecasts
  • predicted gross aircraft movements – commercial and general aviation and helicopters
  • an incomplete dataset of six months of aircraft movements – commercial and general aviation and helicopters

Generating the base data set suitable for estimating greenhouse gas emissions involved reconciling all data sources relating to current and forecast aircraft movements. We then used two techniques to estimate emissions: Landing Take Off (LTO) emissions and passenger-kilometre factors.

Further challenges arose from the high volumes of helicopter and general aviation movements.

Katestone overcame the boundary setting, emission factor and data difficulties to produce a robust and defensible GHG assessment.

The assessment also provides insight into the potential influence of airport operations on aviation GHG emissions.

The Sunshine Coast Airport expansion was approved with conditions in July 2016.

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