World first: Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport, managed by VINCI Airports, is equipped with the very first 100% electric de-icer for aircraft!

November 30, 2022
  • On 17 November, Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport, managed by VINCI Airports, received the world's first 100% electric de-icer for aircraft (Elephant e-Mini MY Lite)
  • The Clermont-Ferrand airport had already set itself apart in 2021 by being the first in France to make biofuels available to airlines
  • These advances illustrate VINCI Airports' determination to set its airports on a path to reduce their CO2 emissions and to involve their partners in decarbonisation

In winter, de-icing is crucial to allow aircraft to take off safely. At Clermont-Ferrand, VINCI Airports teams will now be able to benefit from a new, fully electric de-icing vehicle, which will remove the ice and frost accumulated on aircraft on the ground. The use of this new de-icing vehicle (model e-Mini MY Lite), designed by the company Vestergaard, a specialist in ground support equipment, is a world first and will help reduce the airport's greenhouse gas emissions.

With the financial support of SMACFA (Syndicat Mixte Aéroport Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne), the airport has taken a new step in the electrification of its ground handling equipment, alongside other actions already deployed, such as the replacement of all lighting with LEDs and the implementation of temperature controls to reduce energy consumption in buildings.

Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport had already set itself apart in 2021 by being the first French airport to make biofuels available to airlines, and by the entry into force, the same year, of the eco-modulation of charges, aimed at encouraging airlines to equip themselves with lower-emission aircraft. All of these actions illustrate the concrete deployment of VINCI Airports' environmental strategy, the first airport operator to have developed an integrated environmental policy for its entire network and committed, alongside local authorities and the sector's industrialists, to preparing for the low-carbon aviation of tomorrow.

This de-icer is used to treat all small and medium-sized aircraft (ATR, Airbus A320/321, B737) using the airport. Equipped with a powerful battery, it can perform 8 to 12 de-icing operations per charge depending on the condition of the aircraft and can travel 40 to 75 km. The de-icing fluid, contained in 2 tanks with a total capacity of 4,000 litres, is heated electrically. Thanks to the optimised heating time, the time needed for de-icing operations will be reduced, while limiting the use of product.

Vestergaard Company is a Danish company that focuses on sustainable development in the field of ground handling through continuous innovation.

Damien Le Gac, Country Manager Vestergaard Company France, said: "Vestergaard Company is proud to deliver its very first 100% electric de-icer, the e-Mini MY Lite, to Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne Airport. We hope that this de-icer will satisfy our new customer and we are pleased to be able to contribute to VINCI Airports' ambition to achieve net zero emissions for its entire European network by 2030."

Hervé Bonin, Director of Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne Airport - VINCI Airports: "This is not the first time that Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne Airport has made it into the aviation history books. As early as 1916, Michelin built the world's first hard runway on the airport's current site for the Bréguet aircraft it was building for the French army. In 2021, the airport was the first in France to supply sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). We are proud to be able to propose and implement, in Clermont-Ferrand, immediate and effective responses to the challenges of decarbonisation of aviation, supported by VINCI Airports."

Emmanuel Bouhier, Director of the Syndicat Mixte de l'Aéroport Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne: "The Syndicat Mixte, and through it the local authorities, is making the airport's investments. The investments ensure a future for this public infrastructure, which is necessary for the region's economic, cultural and social development. The future of air transport today lies in the decarbonisation of activities in flight but also on the ground. In all important transitions, pioneers are needed. The Syndicat Mixte is proud to fulfil this function of general interest by hosting the world's first electric de-icer at Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport today! "

For VINCI Concessions, energy management is key to of our strategy to reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions resulting from our activities (scopes 1 and 2), with two initiatives activated simultaneously: decreasing our consumption and reducing the carbon impact of our supply chain. In all our infrastructures, we are investing in concrete solutions to improve energy efficiency. In order to bring down our consumption of fossil fuels, we are gradually electrifying our fleets of technical machinery and service vehicles everywhere we operate - including in Peru, where VINCI Highways became the country's first roadway concession operator to convert to a fully electric fleet in 2020.

The world's leading private airport operator, VINCI Airports operates more than 50 airports in 11 countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Thanks to its expertise as a global integrator, VINCI Airports develops, finances, builds and manages airports by providing its investment capacity and its know-how in optimizing operational performance, modernizing infrastructures and managing their operations and environmental transition. VINCI Airports is the first airport operator to have committed to a global international environmental strategy in 2016, to achieve the goal of net zero emission across its entire network by 2050.