In 2021, international aviation emitted over 384 million metric tons of carbon dioxide worldwide. This does not include additional greenhouse gas emissions from other daily airport operations, such as ground vehicles, ground support equipment, and energy usage from airport facilities. As emissions continue to rise as people fly more, airports are beginning to take on the challenge of transitioning to alternative fuels and efficient energy use.

Portland International Jetport

As of December 2023, Portland International Jetport had received its first electric aircraft pushback tug in cooperation with United Airlines. Gregory Rec file/Staff Press Herald

Maine’s largest airport, Portland International Jetport, has become a regional leader in sustainability. After its recent expansion, the Jetport and associated parking facility now includes Maine’s largest geo-exchange/ground-source heat pump (GHX) installation and the largest solar array in the state of Maine. The Jetport expects to save more than $160,000 in heating costs, reduce the Jetport’s CO2 emissions by 1,000 tons per year, and decrease its consumption of oil by over 50,000 gallons per year.

As of December 2023, the Jetport has also made headway with electrification. It received its first electric aircraft pushback tug in cooperation with United Airlines. They also installed a ramp charging station for the tug, which replaces the diesel tug used previously. Additionally, the Jetport added to its electric vehicle fleet with two electric trucks (F-150 lightings), two electric service vans, and one plug-in hybrid pool vehicle.

In 2024, the Jetport plans to replace passenger boarding bridges. Their plan will start with five, 25-year-old passenger boarding bridges, that will be replaced with new bridges equipped with aircraft preconditioned air. This will eliminate the need for aircraft to run jet fuel-powered auxiliary power units or diesel heating units at these gates.

For more information about Portland International Jetport’s Sustainable Airport Master Plan, visit


Coffee & Climate

On Friday, Feb. 9, 9 to 10 a.m., this month’s Coffee & Climate will feature Paul Bradbury, airport director, who will speak about the Jetport’s sustainability plan. Grab a cup of coffee and join us online for this event.

To register, visit

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram @soposustainability.

Jenna d’Arcy is an AmeriCorps/GPCOG Resilience Corps Fellow serving in the South Portland Sustainability Office through September 2024. She can be reached at

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