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Passenger traffic at Dublin Airport has reached record levels, with more than 31.5 million passengers travelling through the airport in 2018, an increase of 6.5% over the previous 12 months. 

The sheer scale of the airport operation means that our staff, passengers, airlines and the business itself, can make an important contribution to sustainable development. To ensure the principles of sustainability are communicated, implemented and fostered across our business, we have developed a sustainability strategy. 

Sustainability Strategy

Our sustainability strategy is dynamic and is at the heart of the strategic plan for the future of Dublin Airport. It states that as we grow, we will strive to:

  • Minimise negative impacts on the environment;
  • Consume as few resources as possible;
  • Communicate what we are doing to staff, community and passengers.

We are working to improve and introduce sustainable initiatives across the campus which will deliver a range of benefits to those that work at Dublin Airport and to our local communities. Targets have been set around key areas such as carbon, energy, waste, water and air quality. 

Net Zero by 2050

The reduction of carbon emissions is of critical importance to Dublin Airport. This is why, in June 2019 Dublin Airport signed a landmark commitment to become net zero for its carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. The commitment was made by 194 airports across 24 countries as part of an Airports Council International (ACI) Europe Resolution. The pledge marks a significant step change in the climate action ambitions of the airport industry and is one which Dublin Airport is confident that it can deliver through research and investment, knowledge exchange and partnership

Carbon Neutral by 2020

Dublin Airport is a member of the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme which is the European standard for carbon management and emission reductions at airports. This certification programme, specifically designed for airports, has received widespread support and endorsements from both the EU and the UN Environment Programme. Launched in June 2009, the programme has four levels of accreditation: Mapping, Reduction, Optimisation and Neutrality.

Dublin is accredited at Level 2, which means that an independently verified carbon footprint for Dublin Airport has been compiled and that the airport has successfully reduced its overall emissions and its carbon footprint year on year.

Dublin Airport is committed to achieving carbon neutral status by 2020 under the ACA programme and is on schedule to meet this target.

Dublin Airport is a large consumer of energy and in a period of increasing infrastructural demand and passenger growth, we are aware of the importance of embedding the principles of energy efficiency and continuous improvement in the way we conduct our business. 

Solar Energy

A 160 kWp pilot solar PV (panel) has been installed beside the airport’s reservoir. In 2018 it provided circa 60% of the energy required to power the operation of the reservoir controls. In light of this, Dublin Airport is proposing to continue its solar PV implementation by including further solar installations as part of future projects where possible, and is examining options for further solar arrays.

Energy Efficiency Projects

Lighting and control upgrades, thermal equipment and distribution system replacements are all critical primary equipment replacement projects currently underway at the airport in an effort to further improve the airports energy efficiency. 
An LED retrofit throughout the campus is well advanced with Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 largely LED lit, in addition to satellite and remote buildings and street and public lighting systems.
The use of energy efficient design principles and the implementation of innovative solutions has ensured energy savings of up to 76% on these projects.

Infrastructure Development

Dublin Airport is growing, and in order to facilitate future growth, new airport infrastructure is required. An ambitious Capital Investment Programme is planned from 2020 and the intention is to deliver this programme in a sustainable manner, and this will include the implementation of such regulatory requirements such as the Near-Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) standard. This standard applies to all new buildings owned and occupied by the 31 December 2018 (for public sector bodies).  NZEB structures have a very high energy performance and use proximate renewable energy sources as far as possible to meet the low residual energy requirements of the building. Dublin Airport will deliver relevant infrastructure to this standard

Zero Waste to Landfill Certification

A key part of the Dublin Airport’s Waste Management Policy is its ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ certification which requires extensive engagement and agreement between Dublin Airport and its campus customers in relation to waste segregation and recycling. Since 2013 recycling figures have increased substantially at Dublin Airport, from 11% to 37% in 2018.

Single Use Plastics

In 2018, in a bid to reduce single use plastics, Dublin Airport upgraded 22 water fountains in Terminal 1 for passengers to refill personal water bottles. This year, the entire network is being metered and the number of ‘Hydration Stations’ is being further increased.

Dublin Airport’s water network consists of over 25 kilometers of water pipework providing water to over 160 buildings, including passenger terminals.

Water Consumption

Reducing water consumption is a priority for Dublin Airport. Reductions are achieved through the implementation of more efficient water operational and control equipment at the airport’s reservoir, as well as improved leak detection.

In 2018, water consumption per passenger fell to 13.8 litres from a high of 46 litres per passenger in 2009, which is a testament to the work being undertaken in this area.

Surface Water Quality

A number of local drains and watercourses originate on, or pass through, the Dublin Airport campus. To ensure any impact from airport operations on these is minimised, initiatives are undertaken such as the development and maintenance of an extensive network of pre-treatment infrastructure, such as fuel interceptors, to capture contaminants in the event of a spill.

Surface water quality is assessed regularly. Results are reported to our local communities through the Dublin Airport Environmental Working Group forum, which meets four times per year to discuss environmental issues such as noise, air quality and the physical development of Dublin Airport. Click here to find out more. 

In the main, Ireland is known to have a good standard of air quality. Dublin Airport is working to maintain the status quo in this regard, through the implementation of various initiatives to reduce our impact on air quality such as the use of:

  • Electric vehicles
  • Fixed electrical ground power units
  • Fuel hydrant systems
  • Improved boiler efficiency
  • Mobility Management Plan

The airport undertakes an ambient air quality monitoring programme which measures a range of parameters. Click here to find out more. 

Airport noise is, understandably, a significant issue for some of our neighbouring communities. Achieving the most appropriate balance between the needs of a growing airport that serves as a major transport hub for millions of business and leisure travellers, and the rights and requirements of our nearest residential neighbours provides an ongoing challenge for Dublin Airport as it does for all airports of its size. 

Dublin Airport is committed to working with all stakeholders to implement noise reductions and mitigation measures. It seeks to develop and expand in a way that minimises as far as practicable the noise impact of its operations through the use of the the ‘Balanced Approach’. Click here to find out more.

The airport also undertakes a continuous noise monitoring programme, the results of which can be found by clicking here.

2020 Targets

2020 Sustainability Targets PDF 1244 KB

Did you know?

  • In 2018, nearly 4.4 billion passengers were carried by the world’s airlines.
  • Jet aircraft in service today are well over 80% more fuel efficient per seat kilometre that the first jets in the 1960s and the industry is constantly striving to achieve further improvements.
  • The global aviation industry produces around 2% of all human-induced CO2 emissions.
  • Aviation is responsible for 12% of CO2 emissions from all transport’s sources, compared to 74% from road transport.
  • By 2050, net aviation carbon emissions will be half of what they were in 2005.

Sustainability Reports

sustainability octb with dublin airport staff


We are always interested to hear your feedback and ideas on airport sustainability. You can contact us at: You may also use this e-mail address to query an environmental issue or to make a complaint regarding an environmental matter.

To contact us about aircraft noise or make a complaint, please telephone our dedicated free phone noise complaint line on 1800 200 034 or you can use the complaint form, by clicking here. Alternatively, you can print this form in PDF by clicking here and post it to Noise & Flight Track Monitoring Service, Energy, Environmental & Utilities Department, Asset Care Base (Landside), Dublin Airport. Complaints must be submitted within 7 days of the incident.

We fully respect your right to privacy and undertake to only collect your data as required to deliver the service, with your clear permission and consent.  Please see our Privacy Policy here for more information.