Environmental protection and Sustainability

Top priorities at Munich Airport

Pro-environment strategy

The construction of an airport inevitably leads to interventions in the ecosystem of a region. Yet, Munich Airport is committed minimizing such impact. To this end it has created a department to handle ecological issues such as aircraft noise, air management, energy supply or waste and water management. Munich Airport has set itself the goal of achieving its growth targets on a carbon-neutral basis by 2020 compared to the baseline year 2005.

Vehicles and transport systems consume energy and produce pollutants that advance global warming. Aviation's share in the total quantity of the global carbon emissions contributing to climate change is roughly two percent.

Munich Airport's pro-environment strategy allows for the operation and development of the airport in a manner that effectively controls and contains environmental impact and complies with statutory regulations and environmental requirements. For example, Munich Airport generates more than half of the power needed in an on-site combined heat, power and cooling plant. The outstanding efficiency of this form of energy conversion allows the airport to save around 30,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually.

As part of this project, Munich Airport is currently running 115 vehicles on a diesel/ vegetable oil mix and a further 39 on bio-ethanol. The airport also classifies aircraft according to the noise levels measured during takeoff and landing operations. Aircraft in the lowest noise category pay landing fees eight times lower than those classed as the noisiest. Raw materials are becoming increasingly scarce all over the world, yet demand for them is rising all the time. Therefore Munich Airport seeks to reduce waste, to recover and recycle materials where it can, and to use waste as an energy source.

  • At a speed of around 20 km/h, a bee flies across its collection area of a two to three-kilometer radius around the airport about 40 to 60 times a day.
  • The poor airport meadows represent an ideal, undisturbed breeding area for the lapwing. Well over 100 breeding pairs can be found here each year. The lapwing is classified as highly endangered in Bavaria (Bavarian Red List: Level 2).
  • The new Airbus A350 with an energy saving turbine
  • Flowering meadow near the airport

From regional to international food

Special focus lies on the conservation of the surrounding countryside. Munich Airport, with a total size of around 1,500 hectares, takes only 5.9% of the former marshes and moss area where it is located. Nevertheless, compensatory initiatives were taken for the airport ground itself, the airport boundary zone and the extended area.

More than two thirds of the actual airport property is green. These areas have different functions depending on their location. Near the flight operation areas they have to meet special requirements, e. g. they must be capable of bearing weight and be as economical as possible to maintain. The trees along the main roads help with orientation and traffic guidance. More than 6,000 trees have been planted for this reason.

The airport boundary zone is a buffer to the open countryside. It represents the transition from airport property to open countryside. More than 80 hectares of wooded area and 110 hectares of lawn and meadow were created. The hedges and groves were planted with native species. Shrubs and trees with berries were kept to a minimum to reduce the risk of bird hits. These plantings also protect the agricultural areas from wind erosion.

Compensatory measures led to a wide greenbelt around the airport. The ecological replacement measures in the extended area are spread over 5,000 hectares. The greenbelt represents a link between the existing conservation areas and landscape preservation areas. It facilitates the exchange and spread of plant and animal species.

Studies have shown that the airport's ecological compensation areas in their entirety are important for the preservation of biotopes. The mentioned measures contribute to the conservation of the beauty, diversity and individuality of the region. Some areas have even attracted species that are important for conservation.

In 2011, Munich Airport reached another milestone in nature conservation: Airport Council International (ACI Europe), an umbrella organization of European airports, has officially certified Munich Airport's successful measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The level 3 accreditation granted to the airport corresponds to the "Optimization" performance level. Under the ACI categories, the Optimization standard is recognized for airports that demonstrate effective and sustainable efforts to avoid CO2 emissions. Munich is the first airport in Germany to receive this accreditation level from ACI. Munich Airport submitted its accreditation request in 2010, retroactively for 2009. The decisive factor for the success of the application was the fact that the CO2 emissions recorded in 2009 were 17,000 tons lower than the average level of the preceding three years.

More information


Corinna Born

Corinna Born

Director International Media Relations