Incheon Airport is planning to promote the digital industry and pursue eco-friendly policies in accordance with the Korean New Deal. As three keywords (i.e. digital, eco-friendly, and COVID-19) are driving industrial trends around the world, we’ll take a look into what is trending in the aviation industry in the era of COVID-19!
Emergence of Common Pass, a digital health passport
There is a new app called Common Pass that serves as a digital health passport. It is linked to the healthcare system and checks whether you have been tested or vaccinated for COVID-19. Travelers can conveniently use this app during immigration check via their smartphone!
The app displays green if you’ve tested negative for COVID-19, and red if you’ve tested positive. A smart disease control and prevention system can be established where only passengers marked green are allowed to enter the country. Once the system is put in place, app certification will replace tests to be conducted on every single passenger. It is expected to reduce massive costs associated with COVID-19 testing and prevent financial loss!
Common Pass has been piloted for New York (NYC)–London (LON) and Hong Kong (HKG)–Singapore (SIN) flights since October last year. In this experiment, participants said they were satisfied with this simple process made from the user’s point of view as they uploaded their results within 30 minutes, presented the same QR code to immigration offices, and passed immigration procedures.
To be more precise, Common Pass is a digital health certificate. The Commons Project, a Swiss non-profit organization (NGO), developed it together with the World Economic Forum (WEF). It is a good example that shows tech companies can provide a solution to the COVID-19 crisis with a different approach even though they do not directly develop vaccines.
Of course, some argue that the incubation period must be considered, and test results cannot be trusted 100%. However, if standardized tests and certification format guidelines are shared across airports in the world with security and improvements, it is expected to contribute to reducing infection risks among passengers and recovering their freedom to travel in the post-COVID-19 world!
Green airport transformation by Frankfurt Airport
Fraport, a German transport company which operates Frankfurt Airport, continues its efforts to prevent climate change despite COVID-19 by transitioning to clean energy and improving energy self-sufficiency.
Fraport’s first goal is to transition 85% of the energy consumed in the airport into renewable energy, such as wind, by 2030. To do so, it has signed an agreement with wind power operators to purchase the annual minimum energy by 2025. If the goal is met, Frankfurt Airport can reduce annual carbon emissions from 170,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes.
The final goal is to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050, and it is planning to receive 350 GWh of energy annually from the wind power operator when the agreement is signed.
Frankfurt Airport is also making efforts to produce energy on its own for energy self-sufficiency. Currently, it is building a large-scale photovoltaic system in the airport, and once completed, it is expected to produce 1.5 million KWh per year. It equals the 1-year energy consumption of 450 households.
If everything goes as planned, Frankfurt Airport is expected to use eco-friendly energy to cover 94% of its energy by 2030.
Increasing demand in biofuel, a bioairport trend
The government is planning to expand the use of biofuel to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. A measure is under review to increase the mandatory biofuel mixture rate for automotive diesel from 3% and newly add airplanes and ships to this mixture rate. Experts expect that they will be included starting in 2021.
While Korea has taken the first step, many countries around the world have made leading efforts to promote jet biofuel to curb carbon emissions in air transport. Major national airports in the US, UK, France, Germany and New Zealand formed a partnership called the Sustainable Aviation Fuel User Group (SAFUG) to support the development and commercialization of sustainable jet biofuel.
Norway’s Oslo Airport became the world’s first airport in 2016 to use the existing airport refueling system and established refueling infrastructure so that any airline can use jet biofuel any time. In 2020, it put forward a policy that mandates the mixture of 0.5% biofuel in jet fuel.
The Netherlands’ Amsterdam Airport Schiphol also introduced sustainable fuel and reflect EU regulations after implementing refueling exclusive for jet biofuel. Germany even established its air transport initiative to promote the development and use of jet biofuel.
Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico are making efforts to develop jet biofuel based on their abundant fuel resources. With increasing demand in biofuel, a transformation in bioairports around the world is expected to continue in the future.