The European Union and the Banque des Territoires support the decarbonisation of Nice Côte d’Azur Airport’s ground handling operations

Published on 09-02-24

As part of its “CEF – Transport – Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Facility" (AFIF) call for projects, the European Commission announces that it has selected a new project financed with the Banque des Territoires (Caisse des Dépôts Group). The Nice Côte d'Azur airport project to electrify airport ground handling operations is among 26 projects selected by the European Commission in its fourth round of the call for projects. In this context, the European Union will allocate approximately €4.1m of grants to the project which the Caisse des Dépôts will finance via the Banque des Territoires with quasi-equity of €4.6 million.

To achieve the ambitious objectives set by the European Green Deal in terms of green mobility and environmental transition, the European Commission is mobilising AFIF and its implementing partners, including the Caisse des Dépôts in France, to finance projects such as that of Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. The project contributes directly to implementing the EU Regulation on the deployment of alternative fuel infrastructure (AFIR) which requires airports to supply electricity to parked aircraft at all contact aircraft stands (boarding gates) by 2025 and all the remote stands by 2030.

As part of its CAP 2030 climate strategy, the Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur (ACA) group, in which Caisse des Dépôts is a shareholder, not only aims to reach “Net Zero carbon emissions without offsetting" by no later than 2030 for its own emissions (Scope 1 and 2) but also reduce its Scope 3 emissions (those of its stakeholders). This is why reducing the environmental footprint of the entire air transport chain is fundamental. By electrifying ground operations, the project will save Nice Côte d'Azur around 6,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

In concrete terms, the project aims to electrify remote aircraft stands by installing 50 Hz sockets on 69 aircraft stands. This will power the mobile equipment supplying parked aircraft with electricity and air conditioning during ground handling operations. The project will actively contribute to reducing CO2 emissions from aircraft during turnaround at the airport as this will significantly reduce using fuel-based ground handling equipment or using the aircraft’s auxiliary power units (APUs) during ground handling operations. ACA will also install power charging stations to support electrifying airside vehicle fleet and equipment. Both parts of the project will be rolled out progressively until 2026.

Under this decarbonisation project, Nice-Côte d'Azur Airport will receive €4.1 million in European subsidies and financial support from the Banque des Territoires, in the form of quasi-equity financing of €4.6 million.

"This project to electrify ground services at Nice Côte d'Azur airport is emblematic of the key role played by airports in decarbonising the aviation sector. Thanks to the grant from the European Union and financing from the Banque des Territoires, this exemplary project, supported by local stakeholders, will make a very tangible contribution to achieving the objectives of the Green Deal for Europe. The European Union will continue to support these sustainable initiatives, in partnership with financial institutions, and to this end will launch a new AFIF call for projects endowed with almost one billion euros in the first quarter of 2024," said Richard Ferrer, Head of the Alternative Fuels sector at the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Agency (CINEA).

"Being the laboratory for tomorrow's airports means taking concrete action to massively reduce CO2 emissions from airport operations. After being the first airport in France to obtain Level 4+ Transformation - Airport Carbon Accreditation, Nice Côte d'Azur airport has been a pioneer in the electrifying ground handling operations for both general and commercial aviation. This new step is fully in line with our strategy of decarbonising our operations and those of our partners, airlines and ground handling assistants. We would therefore like to warmly thank the European Commission and Caisse des Dépôts for their support for this goal”, said Franck Goldnadel, Chairman of the Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur Executive Board.

This commitment is fully in line with Banque des Territoires' strategy of supporting environmentally-friendly mobility and therefore more sustainable regions. "By helping to finance this operation to electrify airport activities, Banque des Territoires is confirming its desire to support decarbonising the transport sector and more broadly its commitment to ecological and energy transformation, one of Caisse des Dépôts' major strategic issues”. said Alexis Rouque, Regional Director of Banque des Territoires in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

Launched in November 2021 as part of the Connecting Europe Facility, the call for projects aims to accelerate the ecological transition in transport by drawing on the expertise of long-term investors who contribute financially to these environmentally friendly infrastructure projects. The complementary nature of European subsidies and funding are proving highly effective in helping clean transport solutions that are both economically and technically viable emerge.

The European Commission is supported by the Caisse des Dépôts, its implementing partner in France for the AFIF, and thus benefits from the regional presence of the Banque des Territoires, which contributes its funding and expertise to projects.