Spanish airport operator Aena has secured an €86m ($97.27m) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions at its airports in the country.

Funding for the energy project is being made available under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

The terms of the loan grant mean the EIB will offer the credit line for the next two years that will enable Aena to finance 75% of the energy efficiency investment plan.

As outlined in the Spanish Airport Regulation Document 2017-2021, the plan includes replacing lighting systems with low carbon alternatives, optimising thermal insulation and renovating ventilation systems and boilers.

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“The company is taking various actions to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and environmental footprint.”

Once completed, the project is likely to help boost the energy efficiency of Aena’s 46 airports and two heliports across Spain.

The EIB investment will help to generate approximately 635 jobs during the implementation phase.

EIB vice-president Emma Navarro said: “The importance of this agreement for reducing the environmental impact of Spanish airports while simultaneously fostering economic growth and jobs.

“This action brings real benefits for our economy, in this case by helping Aena airports, which welcomed over 263 million passengers last year, to access the latest energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.”

Meanwhile, Aena is planning to set up an onsite solar power plant in Madrid that will produce 13,600MWh of clean energy and slash 2,980t of carbon emissions per annum.

These measures are expected to cut the CO2 emissions of Aena airports by 30%, taking into account expected air traffic.

Aena executive director MauriciLucena said: “Environmental sustainability is one of the key objectives outlined in Aena’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2021, and to this end, the company is taking various actions to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and environmental footprint.”

Besides operating 46 airports and two heliports in Spain, Aena also supports the management of 17 airports across Europe and the Americas.