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Rarotonga International Airport achieves Carbon Accreditation

Wednesday 12 June 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Economy, National


Rarotonga International Airport achieves Carbon Accreditation
Airport Authority Cook Islands chief executive officer Nikau Tangaroa, middle, was humbled and honoured to receive the prestigious award on behalf of the Rarotonga International Airport, staff and the people of the Cook Islands. AACI/ 24061108

The Rarotonga International Airport was recognised for achieving Airport Carbon Accreditation (Level 1) at the Airport Council International Asia Pacific and Middle East Conference which was held from May 21– 23 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The meeting included representatives from international airports with annual passenger traffic ranging from below 1 million (enplaned, deplaned, and transit combined) to over 86 million.

Airport Authority Cook Islands chief executive officer Nikau Tangaroa was humbled and honoured to receive the prestigious award on behalf of the Rarotonga International Airport, staff and the people of the Cook Islands.

The award coincides with the Rarotonga International Airport’s 50th Anniversary, which was celebrated this year on January 29, 2024.

In presenting the award, the Council said: “We are delighted to confirm that Rarotonga International Airport in the Cook Islands, has met all the necessary requirements to enter the Airports Council Internationals’ (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation programme at Level 1 Mapping.”

In a statement, Airport Authority Cook Islands (AACI) said by joining at Level 1, Rarotonga International Airport has committed to developing a detailed analysis of its carbon dioxide emissions and establishing well-structured plans to reduce them.

“Align to Te Mana Tauranga Kuki Airani – Airport Authority Cook Islands (AACI) Strategic goals: to operate in a sustainable manner, it is important for the state-owned enterprise to monitor and manage emissions from all its activities, and the buildings and facilities it owns, occupies, and operates,” the statement said.

“Measurement of an annual carbon footprint will help AACI understand the emissions associated with its core operational activities and to develop reduction initiatives.”

Rarotonga International Airport serves as the main gateway between the Cook Islands and the world.

“As a small island state, the Cook Islands is at the forefront of the battle against the adverse effects of climate change, giving even greater meaning to Rarotonga Airport’s climate efforts,” the statement said.

“The airport has already implemented several initiatives and is planning additional measures to further reduce its CO2 emissions. These initiatives include the installation of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) approve solar lights on the runway, which have been operating on a trial basis for the past five months, and the introduction of hybrid air conditioning units. “One hybrid air conditioning unit has already been purchased and will soon be trialled. If the trial proves successful and emissions are reduced, all existing air conditioning units will be replaced.”

Solar panels have also been installed at the airport as part of a collaborative effort between the Airport Authority of Cook Islands and the local utility company Te Aponga Uira (TAU).

“This partnership showcases a shared commitment to decarbonisation and sustainable development. Despite such existing solar panels do not provide direct source to Rarotonga International Airport, Airport Authority Cook Islands will invest in a feasibility study to add extra solar panels to existing buildings and land without contravene to the ICAO/Civil Aviation Regulation.

“In the long term, whilst Rarotonga International Airport plans to install more solar panels on the airport site, the airport is also looking to invest in reducing fuel consumption by introducing electric vehicles which will include Rescue Fire Vehicles.”