Operations at the airport affect the environment in many ways, including through atmospheric emissions and discharges to the ground and water. Operations also give rise to both non-hazardous and hazardous waste as a result of the use of chemicals and chemical products in operations.
The biggest atmospheric emissions around Luleå Airport come from air traffic and from road traffic to and from the airport. Atmospheric emissions consist mostly of carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrocarbon (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2). Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, while nitrogen oxides lead to eutrophication (excess fertilisation), to algal blooms and overgrown vegetation in waterways. Sulphur dioxide emissions lead to the acidification of soil and water.
To encourage airlines to use modern aircraft, which are better for the environment, Swedavia has introduced a price system in which take-off charges at the airports are lower the cleaner an aircraft’s engines are.
Swedavia also works in partnership with the municipal bus service, Luleå Lokaltrafik, to improve mass transit to and from the airport. Luleå Airport has been included in Luleå Lokaltrafik’s scheduled service since October 2013.
All buildings are heated using district heating.
Soil and water
Discharges to soil and water mostly involve glycol (monopropylene glycol) from the de-icing of aircraft. Glycol breaks down easily in nature but has a high oxygen depletion rate when it decomposes and may therefore cause oxygen depletion in waterways and groundwater if large quantities are discharged.
Most de-icing takes place on a dedicated de-icing apron, where glycol is collected and conveyed via a drainage system to the nearby glycol recycling facility. The spilt glycol is purified in the glycol recycling facility and reduced using evaporation so that the resulting product is 99 per cent glycol, which can then be used in the chemicals industry. Operation and staffing of the glycol recycling facility have been handled by a contractor since early 2013.
Waste, both hazardous and non-hazardous, is produced in operations. A lot of the waste produced at the airport is a resource that can be reused, recycled or used in energy recovery. Hazardous waste is handled separately so that toxic substances are not spread.
There is a sorting area at the security checkpoint at Luleå Airport, where passengers have the opportunity to sort their waste, which includes containers with a redeemable deposit, cans containing propellants (aerosols) and other combustible materials.
Combustible waste is burnt at the Boden power station and provides district heating, while newspapers, cardboard and paperboard are recycled.