One of FBB's central concerns is to reduce the emission of air pollutants to a minimum. Nevertheless, the operation of an airport cannot avoid the generation of air pollutants. The aircraft turbines are primarily responsible for emissions, which include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, soot and carbon dioxide. Another source of pollutants is aircraft auxiliary power units (APUs), which generate electrical power and compressed air to enable aircraft to operate autonomously on the ground. Diesel-powered ground power units, which supply power to aircraft at outlying positions far from terminals, also generate air pollutants, as does ground transportation by buses and tugs. Here, electromobility will make a significant contribution to reducing pollutants in the long term.
Travel to and from the airport also causes emissions. In 2021, around 10 million passengers used BER. Their arrival and departure, as well as those of the airport's several thousand employees and service providers, are further sources of pollutant emissions. However, emissions are reduced by the optimal connection of BER to public personnel transport and long-distance transport of Deutsche Bahn. In 2021, around half of all travelers came to the airport by public transport; in the long term, the proportion is expected to rise even further to around two-thirds.
In order to investigate the environmental impact of air traffic over the long term, FBB has been carrying out voluntary environmental monitoring since 2011: bee monitoring and bio-monitoring.
The bee monitoring examines whether and to what extent pollutants typical of traffic, such as heavy metals and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), accumulate in honey, pollen and wax. For this purpose, the company's own bee colonies are maintained and their products are compared with those of colonies far from the airport. In bio-monitoring, plants are tested for residues of traffic-related pollutants. For this purpose, standardized kale plants and grass crops are grown and examined.
The results of the environmental monitoring have been unambiguous for years and show that there are no influences of air traffic or that these are far below limit values.