Air and climate

Air quality

In order to evaluate the atmospheric impact from airport system activities, account must be taken of the principal atmospheric emissions:

  • external roadway traffic;
  • traffic within the airport;
  • the aircraft parking areas;
  • fixed sources;
  • emissions from vehicles used for loading/unloading operations and ground assistance (handling);
  • emissions related to the movement (independent) on the ground of aircraft;
  • LTO (Landing Take Off) cycle emissions.

A number of considerations must be taken into account therefore in terms of the airport management company's effective area of intervention in relation to:

  • the possibility to positively and effectively impact processes for which the management company has decision-making space;
  • the scope of influence which in Italy characterises the airport management companies possibility to impact upon the technological development of the fleets and to effectively monitor the efficiency in terms of combustion and emissions;
  • the possibility to define routes and flight scenarios, in addition to control them.

The effects from vehicle traffic and more generally from vehicles used for the transport of employees from/to the airport, of customers and of operators, is strictly related to the level of inter-modality which is a feature of the region in which the airports are located. On the second and third points, the problem falls outside the scope of action of airport companies. In fact, these latter two logistic-operational issues are strictly related to the possibility to effectively impact, at the source, aircraft emissions and are not currently within the scope of impact of the Italian airport management companies.

Air quality in the Malpensa area

To ensure effective air quality control the Regional environmental protection agency of Lombardy (ARPA) monitors on a daily basis the presence of atmospheric pollutants across the entire region through 158 monitoring stations.

Malpensa surrounding area monitoring – average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) monthly values

NO2FernoLonateSomma LombardoBusto ArsizioGallarateVarese
Annual limit: 40 µg/m³ annual averageµg/m³µg/m³µg/m³µg/m³µg/m³µg/m³
January 41 40 42 38 54 61
February 42 31 27 34 50 58
March 32 31 24 27 44 30
April 23 21 21 37 30 26
May 17 17 16 11 19 19
June 14 18 17 10 16 16
July 15 22 24 16 31 15
August 11 11 17 19 24 13
September 20 20 20 18 38 38
October 25 25 23 24 41 41
November 35 35 24 31 56 47
December 45 45 39 32 55 51

Source: Arpa Lombardia, 2014

In the province of Varese, the air quality recording network comprises 7 fixed stations, 2 mobile stations and 4 gravimetric sampling instruments for the measuring of light dust. The average figures, established by the daily results published by ARPA for the Malpensa area, are collated from the 3 monitoring stations in the immediate vicinity of the airport (Ferno, Lonate Pozzolo, Somma Lombardo) and from the other stations located in urbanised areas (Busto Arsizio, Gallarate, Varese).

Mono-nitrogen oxide in general (NOx) is produced during the combustion process due to the reaction which, at high temperatures, takes place between nitrogen and oxygen in the air. Therefore, these oxides are directly emitted into the atmosphere following all high temperature combustion processes (heating plant, vehicle motors, industrial combustion, power stations, etc.), by oxidisation of the atmospheric nitrogen and, only to a small degree, by oxidisation of the oxygen particles contained in the combustibles utilised. 

Monitoring of the areas surrounding Malpensa – average particle (PM10) monthly values

PM10FernoBusto ArsizioGallarateVarese
Annual limit: 40 µg/m³ annual averageµg/m³µg/m³µg/m³µg/m³
January 41 34 42 30
February 31 24 29 23
March 42 34 41 35
April 28 24 27 25
May 19 15 15 18
June 22 16 20 18
July 18 16 18 17
August 20 18 14 16
September 33 21 24 26
October 45 29 42 34
November 37 34 34 25
December 43 40 42 33

Source: Arpa Lombardia, 2014

Air quality in the Linate area

For Linate the average monthly values are considered, established by monitoring stations in the immediate vicinity of the airport (Limito-Pioltello and Milano-Parco Lambro) and of other stations in urban areas (Milano-Città Studi, Milan-Marche, Monza, Vimercate).

Linate surrounding area monitoring – average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) monthly values

NO2Limito Pioltello Mi Città studiMonza  VimercateMi Parco LambroMi Marche
Annual limit: 40 µg/m³ annual averageµg/m³µg/m³µg/m³µg/m³µg/m³µg/m³
January 44 50 49 54 63 56
February 42 49 45 53 58 60
March 40 48 40 47 57 65
April 27 54 29 29 36 52
May 23 37 30 24 27 44
June 21 32 29 21 28 44
July 20 30 29 23 27 44
August 15 24 20 22 21 44
September 24 41 36 31 37 59
October 32 49 43 37 43 56
November 36 57 46 39 46 62
December 39 55 51 48 57 84

Source: Arpa Lombardia, 2014

Monitoring of the areas surrounding Linate – average particle (PM10) monthly values

PM 10Limito PioltelloMi Città studiMonzaVimercate
Annual limit: 40 µg/m³ annual averageµg/m³µg/ m³µg/m³µg/m³
January 48 49 50 50
February 37 35 33 31
March 51 52 49 50
April 27 32 28 26
May 19 21 20 19
June 24 28 22 22
July 19 20 19 20
August 11 15 14 17
September 32 36 30 30
October 40 48 42 34
November 42 46 43 38
December 43 44 43 49

Source: Arpa Lombardia, 2014

Overall, based on the range of data collected from the areas neighbouring the two Milan airports, over the years - although the airports comprise a significant source of emissions - no significant differentiation exists between the quality of air compared with other areas of the provinces. In terms of the environmental aspect related to air pollution it should be noted that the Cassation Court granted the application submitted by SEA against the ruling of the Milan Appellate Court, which had sentenced it, along with the Ministry of Transportation, to pay Cascina Tre Pini the sum of more than Euro 5 million (in addition to interest) as compensation for noise pollution created on the Cascina Tre Pini property due to air traffic involving the Malpensa airport.

The ruling of the Cassation Court granted the application submitted by SEA in the appellate decision, i.e. the requests to absolve SEA from all liability for damages and the application to what had been paid to the plaintiffs based on the lower court ruling (approximately Euro 2 million ). After such ruling SEA retook possession of Euro 8.1 million which, as of July 2012 were placed in a time deposit for confiscation in favour of Quintavalle.

The Court upheld the appellate ruling only against the Ministry of Transportation, sentencing it to compensate damages in the amount established above, and rejected the requests for additional damages submitted by Cascina Tre Pini.