EnvironmentResource management

Airport is meeting stricter environmental standards

Munich Airport uses natural resources considerately, and with a sense of responsibility toward future generations. Respectful exchange with the stakeholder groups is thus of major importance – including in relation to the topic of environmental management. Since 2005, Flughafen München GmbH has operated a certified environmental management system to the international standards of DIN EN ISO 14001 and the requirements of the EU regulation EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme). In 2018, it was audited for the first time in accordance with the updated, more stringent international environmental standard DIN EN ISO 14001:2015, and successfully certified. Over the course of the audit, environmental issues, opportunities and risks were newly assessed and additional environmental management targets included, for example the «increase in biodiversity». The consideration of life cycles has also increased in importance. Moreover, FMG is supporting subsidiaries whose activities have a high environmental relevance with the introduction of a systematic environmental management system. Allresto, aerogate, and Cargogate have all been successfully recertified already. All employees are called on to conserve resources. Thus for example, an environment module in one training course for ground handling service providers focuses on reducing fuel consumption and on avoiding waste or collecting it correctly.

Environmental management system at the Group for 2018

Flughafen München GmbH Successful monitoring audit EMAS
Allresto Successful monitoring audit EMAS
aerogate Successful monitoring audit EMAS
Cargogate Successful monitoring audit EMAS
AeroGround Introduction planned  
Certification in accordance with the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and DIN ISO 14001

Waste: high recycling rates

Flughafen München GmbH seamlessly fulfills the specifications of the German Waste Management and Product Recycling Act and synchronizes the at times major updates to the waste legislation with operational requirements. Producing as little waste as possible has priority. However, waste and scrap products are generated from the operation of the airport – across the board – and these are then collected where they occur in various separating systems, handed over to certified specialist businesses close to the airport, prepared in sorting plants, and then recycled. The small proportion of residual waste that cannot be recycled is converted by the Munich North power plant into district heat and power. Sustainable waste management contributes to generating secondary materials, while also helping to save on costs.

Paper consumption (FMG)

In thousand sheets of paper

Graphic: Paper consumption (FMG)

Flughafen München GmbH is making continuous improvements to the entire process chain as well as to the process for separating and sorting all waste and scrap material. Thus for example a new shredding plant shreds confidential data material promptly «in-house». Sensitive files are not now sent to the disposal firm. The waste paper created in this process is sent to a paper plant for use as a raw material. Since April 2018, one airport employee, certified to LAGA PN 98 (Government/States Working Group on Waste), has been taking samples during building and demolition projects under his own direction, and has thus been ensuring quality controls. A key advantage lies in the fact that the prescribed and most cost-effective disposal form is determined at the same time.

The majority of waste and scrap material is generated by affiliated companies, the companies based at the airport as well as airlines. A custom-designed disposal concept tailored specifically to the party generating the waste is therefore essential for successful resource conservation – from the actual generation of the waste through to recycling and disposal. FMG therefore provides regular information on current waste topics, gives tips on environmentally friendly conduct, and is on hand to offer advice.

The year-on-year increase in waste is based essentially on the increase in demolition and building renovation works. The «top soil» excavation material, all of which was recycled, lead to a higher recycling rate.

Disposal methods for waste

In tonnes (previous year´s figures)

Graphic: Disposal methods for waste

A responsible approach to water

Process water instead of drinking water for air conditioning purposes

The aim of water management at Munich Airport is to affect the natural water balance as little as possible and arrange the various effects caused by water resource management, drainage, and the provision of drinking and extinguishing water so that they have as little impact as possible. Overall, FMG aims to achieve the following:

  • Minimize the volume of wastewater
  • Separate waste water at the source, and treat and dispose of it separately
  • Only use drinking water where drinking water quality is really needed
  • Keep wastewater away from sealed surfaces so as to prevent peak run-off
  • Make sure the condition of the groundwater and bodies of water above ground is not impaired

For example, for some years now, quaternary groundwater close to the surface (process water) from our own wells has been used for cooling in the power centers, west and east, instead of precious tertiary groundwater (drinking water). This lead to a saving on drinking water of around 1,727,100 cubic meters by the end of 2018. Preparatory building works have started on additional process water wells in a bid to save up to a further 50,000 cubic meters of drinking water a year over the next few years. Overall, drinking water consumption at Munich Airport fell by around three percent in 2018 compared to the previous year. This is because the airport takes an economical approach when handling drinking water. For every 1,000 traffic units (1 traffic unit = 1 passenger or 100 kilograms of airfreight), specific drinking water consumption decreased further: to 19.8 liters, compared to 21 in the previous year.

Total drinking water consumption1), 2)

Graphic: Total drinking water consumption
1) Includes all companies on the campus
2) Values are derived as follows: Water metering in m3 measured at the drinking water feed points (transfer points) from the water utility company to Munich Airport.

Total wastewater discharge1), 2)

Graphic: Total wastewater discharge
1) Includes all companies on the campus
2) The wastewater discharged to the sewage plant consists of domestic wastewater, industrial wastewater, mixed water, and de-icing waste.

A sewage system stretching for around 300 kilometers collects wastewater at Munich Airport. Depending on the level of contamination, the water is pretreated in the airport’s own plants, retained, added to bodies of water, or sent to the sewage plant in Eitting.

Wastewater disposal concept

Graphic: Wastewater disposal concept

Ground filters protect groundwater

Ground filters in the area around the heads of the runways prevent de-icer from entering into the groundwater. They are used to retain and clean the collected waste de-icer. Regular examinations of the leachate using a TOC measuring system (TOC = Total Organic Carbon) verify their cleaning efficiency. Depending on the level of residual contamination, it is routed to a body of water or – during harsh winters where lots of de-icer is used – sent straight to the sewage plant. The filter at the heads of the north runway and to the east of the south runway are already in operation, a fourth is currently being constructed to the west of the south runway and is due for completion in 2019.

Aircraft de-icer cycle

De-icing vehicles keep aircraft free from ice and snow before take-off. The de-icer dripping off the aircraft during this process finds its way via slit drainage gutters and channels into underground basins. It is then mechanically and chemically treated in the airport’s own recycling plant, before being distilled and converted back to its original state with the use of additives. The recycling rate for the active glycol component in de-icer was around 57 percent for the 2017/2018 season. The average for the last few years has ranged between 41 and a maximum of 59 percent – depending on the weather and taking into account a level of energy consumption suited to the environmental footprint.

Aircraft de-icer cycle