Airports: embodied carbon estimation toolkit launched by Atkins and IATA


Atkins, working with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has developed innovative digital tools for estimating carbon in terminal building construction and other aviation assets.

As the global aviation industry continues its post-pandemic recovery, modernising and adapting infrastructure to meet Net Zero targets means the need to reduce embodied carbon in new buildings such as terminals and runways is ever more pressing.

New digital tools from Atkins and IATA have been created to deliver embodied carbon benchmarking for three key airport asset types – terminal buildings, runways and multi-storey car parks. This will enable airport development teams to understand the carbon footprint of development work and enter into dialogue with airport operators about how to mitigate it. 

While most current tools measure carbon in general buildings, and at a later stage in the design, this new digital toolkit is specific to Aviation and can be applied at very early stage in the design – adding the greatest value.

Andy Yates, technical director aviation infrastructure for Atkins, said: “Our embodied carbon advisory team have worked with IATA to develop a set of innovative industry tools, leading a mature aviation market into a challenging and previously unexplored area of embodied carbon assessment. 

“These tools allow clients to confidently explore the vital conversations around embodied carbon reduction as airports respond to the complex challenges that surround the sector’s net zero goals. 

“The tools have been developed by a multi-disciplinary team including architecture, airport planning, and structural design as well as carbon experts, ensuring a solution that understands the complexity and multi-faceted approach needed to assess embodied carbon.”

Nick Careen, IATA senior vice president operations, safety and security, said: “Decarbonising aviation is the industry’s greatest challenge, and the industry is fully committed and making progress. However, reaching net zero by 2050 will require collective efforts from the entire industry supply chain and from policymakers.

“Our collaboration with Atkins on this innovative digital toolkit will help airports meet their own objectives by providing a crucial platform to evaluate and reduce carbon impacts for new airport developments. 

“By facilitating dialogue around carbon mitigation from day one of an airport development project, together we are making headway towards Net Zero aviation.”