Airports and airlines

Sustainable solutions for airports and airlines

Ricardo can help you to understand the real environmental impacts of your airport and provide practical guidance on how to achieve sustainable and profitable growth. 

Our expertise

We have worked with airports and airlines around the world for over 20 years. In this time, we have developed an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges they face. Our teams provide a range of environmental and technical support, from monitoring carbon and air quality emissions to supporting water, ecology and energy management.

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Monitoring and data collection

We help you to design, implement and manage on-site air quality monitoring systems to establish quality assured insight to build your airport's sustainability strategy.


Our airport monitoring tools provide robust, high value air and environmental data trend analysis to support your infrastrucutre plans and meet regulatory reporting obligations.

Strategy development

We combine quality assured data with expert modelling to identify practical steps for you to reduce your environmental impact while supporting sustainable business growth.

Implementation planning and delivery

From taxiing plans through to hands-on project delivery, we support you at every step of your sustianability strategy lifecycle.

We draw on this industry insight to provide some of the world's biggest and busiest airports daily support to reduce their environmental impacts, comply with domestic and international regulations and deliver sustainable growth. 

Climate change will disrupt your business systems and affect your bottom line, but forward-looking organisations are already planning and implementing net zero strategies to turn threat into opportunity – reducing risks to their business operations and increasing their resilience and adaptability. 

Click here to find out how more about achieving your net zero goals - Net zero pathways

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) are the favoured solution for short-to-medium term decarbonisation of the aviation sector and will be crucial in the long term. They are fundamental to the decarbonisation of aviation.

SAF production and supply

• A deep understanding of waste, carbon and bio-feedstocks, environmental impacts and life-cycle assessment of production technologies 
• Feasibility, techno-economic analysis and due diligence studies for alternative-fuel production plants
• Expertise across the SAF value chain (including hydrogen), from policy impact to production business cases

Our policy and regulatory expertise

• Intimate knowledge and experience of SAF policy development
• Assessment SAF contribution to achieve decarbonisation objectives at the domestic, regional and global level 
• Supporting airports and airlines in regulatory compliance across SAF mandates, safety, logistics, and certification.

  • Environmental Permit application and regulatory support – environmental permit applications, including liaison with key regulatory stakeholders such as the Environment Agency and Natural England but also local stakeholder groups. Our thorough, pro-active approach provides substantial benefits to our clients and reduced business risks. 
  • Water discharges compliance monitoring and assessment – environmental permit compliance monitoring and assessment, ensuring that this takes account of the most recent developments in legislation such as the Water Framework Directive and providing clients with comprehensive interpretation of results to highlight compliance and business risks and measures to mitigate risks. This work is complemented by ecological monitoring, as appropriate, to determine the longer term baseline of the receiving waterbodies and align this with regulator objectives.
  • Airport development and expansion – in-house planning and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) experts capable of covering all EIA topics, including large scale EIA projects and supporting airports with discharging of planning conditions. 
  • Strategic flood risk assessment and operational resilience – site-specific and strategic airport-wide flood risk assessments, taking into account key infrastructure, offsite assets and access routes.

  • Design, installation, operation and management of air quality monitoring stations to support compliance reporting and future forecasting
  • Portable air quality measurement systems: installation and monitoring, airport-specific drive cycle development, occupational exposure studies, allowing situation specific analysis of air quality issues
  • Provision of advice on current best practice, emerging technologies, air quality improvement strategies and research to help drive down emissions and improve air quality
  • Compilation of air pollutant emission inventories for airports and their environs, to undersand the sources of pollution and target and assess improvement measures
  • Detailed dispersion modelling of current pollutant emissions for forecasting future air quality and assessing the impact of improvement strategies.

  • Terminal energy strategy – providing a clear and coherent set of actions to cut energy costs, starting with the simplest and best investments
  • Energy management – identifying the options with the quickest and highest returns
  • Combined heat and power (CHP) assessment – options to reduce electricity and heat costs and carbon emissions
  • Renewable energy options analysis – reducing dependence on fossil fuels and hedging against future energy price rises
  • Grid infrastructure – assessing the impact of EV charging on infrastructure & costs.

  • Regulatory assistance (eg ESOS, CRC) to maximise opportunities from carbon reductions and support compliance.
  • Greenhouse gas inventories to identify the ‘low hanging fruit’ where emissions savings can be cost-effectively made 
  • Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) and carbon footprint auditing , to help airports to achieve excellence in the field of carbon management and plan their transition towards a low carbon future
  • Support sourcing financing for the implementation of GHG reducing measures to improve efficiency

  • Waste audits and composition analysis to help airports understand the quantity and types of waste being generated from different on-site areas and operations.
  • Waste collection system reviews to assess current performance (including capture rates and contamination levels) and identify potential improvements, leading to efficiencies and cost savings.
  • Waste modelling – waste-flow modelling, life-cycle assessment, WRATE modelling and other modelling techniques to understand the carbon and environmental impacts of waste and recycling services, and plan for the future by predicting the impact of potential changes in legislation, waste composition and waste arisings.
  • Procurement and bid support to help airports develop procurement strategies, prepare contract documents and evaluate tenders for waste and ground maintenance contracts.
  • Food waste collections – working with stakeholders, including caterers and cleaning contractors, in the design and introduction of food waste collection and disposal systems.
  • Communications and stakeholder engagement to develop effective resource efficiency communication and engagement strategies.

  • Vehicle fleet analysis and alternative fuel options appraisal to help fleet operators to reduce their emissions and improve cost efficiencies
  • Electric vehicle recharging network demand analysis, design and optimisation, to support a smooth electrification of ground vehicle fleets balancing sufficient supply to meet demand with a sound business case
  • Electric vehicle trial management, procurement and early deployment support to help prove the operational capability and business case for deploying electric vehicles in various use cases
  • Vehicle pooling strategies and fleet optimisation, to help fleet managers to optimise their fleets
  • Engagement and behaviour change strategies for drivers and operators, to help reduce fuel consumption and accident rates, whilst maximising opportunities for cost savings
  • Airport fleet operator engagement fora to share information and encourage adoption of low emission vehicles amongst vehicle operators not directly under the control of airports
  • Zero emissions zone modelling, planning and development , to support a long-term transition towards low emissions ground-based fleets
  • Alternative aircraft taxi mechanisms and associated modelling, to reduce the environmental impact of aircraft taxiing.

• Independent and impartial advice
• In house scientists, engineers and consultants with deep technical knowledge and experience
• Understanding of current and emerging regulatory trends to de-risk major business decisions 
• Foresight and insight to secure green competitive advantage.

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A selection of past projects

Environmental discharge monitoring and compliance

Integrating environmental discharge monitoring and compliance work for Southampton, Bristol and Heathrow Airport.

Airport Carbon Accreditation Scheme

Helping Bristol Airport to achieve Level 1 accreditation for the Airport Carbon Accreditation Scheme and auditing its buildings and transport operations to deliver annual energy savings of over £50,000.

Environmental Impact Assessment

Conducting an EIA for a new development at Hong Kong International Airport and assessing impacts of the development on terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecology, and water quality.

Planning conditions

Discharging planning conditions at Bristol and London Ashford Airport​

AOA Logo

AOA - Airport Operators Association

Ricardo is a proud member of the Airport Operators Association - the national voice of UK airports. 

Airports and airlines


Our global, multidisciplinary team of engineers, economists and scientists deliver sustainable services across airport infrastructures. 

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Case studies

Farnborough Airport

Enabling an airport’s net zero roadmap to take off

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Fife Green Map

Air quality modelling to support health and land-use planning research in Fife

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Pratt And Whitney

Advanced hybrid-electric propulsion for aerospace

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Project Fresson Hydrogen Plane

The role of hydrogen in the green aviation revolution

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Plane Taking Off

UK sustainable aviation fuels projects take off with support from GFGS competition

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Istock 860035762.Jpg Aviation

Jet zero: Net zero aviation

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