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Decarbonised passenger transport at European airports

European Union
Geo-spatial type
Infrastructure Node
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport electrification (ELT)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Environmental/Emissions aspects,
Deployment planning/Financing/Market roll-out
Transport sectors
Passenger transport



The Action is part of a Global Project aimed at developing Stuttgart airport into a CO2 neutral airport. Within the scope of the EMAS (EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) certification in 2014, the operating company of Stuttgart airport, Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH, aimed to reduce the airport's CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020.

The Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH (FSG) operates 15 diesel-powered airport shuttle buses for passenger transport between the terminal and airfield. Stuttgart airport uses these buses to transport about six million passengers per year. Although nearly a quarter of CO2 emissions produced by aircraft ground services is attributed to the deployment of the diesel passenger buses, until recently there had been no reduced-emission alternative to the diesel-powered buses. In 2013 Cobus industries GmbH, the worldwide market leader for airport buses, introduced an electric version of its most popular diesel bus, Cobus 3000. However, almost two years later not a single order had been placed for an electric bus by any of the airports or ground handling companies (FSG excluded). The main reason for this is a major information deficit on operating ebuses and their impact in terms of decarbonisation.

This Action comprises a real-life pilot deployment of six battery-electric passenger buses and the required charging infrastructure, including nine fast chargers, at Stuttgart airport. The Action will focus on gathering information on operating the ebuses and the fast charging infrastructure in Stuttgart airport and examining the impact of this infrastructure in reducing the airport's CO2 emissions. The overall objective of the Action is to gain and share knowledge about the use of innovative solutions aimed at meeting the decarbonisation goals of the European airport industry. This will be achieved by way of a flagship project that demonstrates to airlines, airport operators, ground handling companies and passengers that the European decarbonisation goals can be reached today, namely for passenger transport at airport aprons.

To deliver on the overall objective of the Action, there are two specific objectives. The first is to prove the suitability of daily use of this innovative technology and the second is to share the results of the study with other airports, so that they may in turn adapt the findings to their own situations. These objectives will be met through the implementation of five activities: setup of the electrical infrastructure required; acquisition and operation of fast charging infrastructure; establishment of a computer-aided monitoring system; and data analysis and dissemination. To ensure the Action is delivered on time and within budget, a project management activity is part of the Action. The Action includes pilot testing of six e-buses and the charging infrastructure, however the purchase of the electric buses is not part of the Action.

The fact that six e-buses cover as much as 40% of all bus trips at Stuttgart airport and are responsible for the transport of over 2.4 million passengers/year, will play a decisive role and significantly contribute to more sustainable passenger transport at EU airports. With the proof of a functioning passenger transport with modern electric drive systems, including the associated charging infrastructure, the pre-requisites are created to transfer the knowledge and technology to other logistics processes and other vehicles, such as freight and baggage tractors at airports. In this way the Action will act as a catalyst and accelerator for innovative and environmentally friendly technology, with an enormous decarbonisation potential. The Action enjoys wide support by the European association of commercial airports and Airports Council International Europe etc.


Parent Programmes
Type of funding
Public (EU)


Lead Organisation
United Kingdom
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
United Kingdom
EU Contribution


Technology Theme
Aircraft operations and safety
Future-proof airport

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