Regional Airports’ Environmental Management: Key Messages from the Evaluation of Ten European Airports

Regional Airports’ Environmental Management: Key Messages from the Evaluation of Ten European Airports

D.J. Dimitriou A.J. Voskaki

Department of Aerospace Science, School of Engineering, Cranfield University, UK

| |
| | Citation



In a modern society, connectivity is the basis for economic competitiveness, social reform, regional development and cultural exchange. City airports serving mature markets have already expanded to meet existing and future demand and the challenge for the airport industry is now focused on the development of the secondary and regional airports to accommodate further air transport demand. Consequently, regional airports attract the interest of investors by providing new business opportunities. Although airports bring significant benefits to local and national economy, their contribution to environment disturbance in local and global scale is significant. As a result of the growing environmental sensitivity, airport environmental management is a crucial element of the aviation industry development. This is for reasons related to the control of community and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) complaints on one hand, and to meet the regional and national targets set by the civil aviation and local authorities on the other hand. Especially for regional airports, the need to identify the environmental issues is essential, because their business development is directly linked to disturbance in the environment and to the local/national communities’ level of tolerance. Although environmental management process is crucial to regional airport development, there is little research related to measuring the efficiency and the performance of their environmental management systems. Nevertheless, not many regional airports, especially those serving fewer than 5 million passengers, annually, have set specific targets for their environmental performance. This paper presents the results of the evaluation of 10 European regional airports’ environmental plans. Conventional wisdom is to provide some key messages, in order to improve the planning and decision process in airport environment management, as well as highlight some recommendations for further research in the future. The key research fi nding is that the national legislation framework and resident’s ethics along with the airport business factions (such as the management scheme, the location topology and the airport size) are essential elements strongly related to regional airport’s environmental efficiency.


airports sustainable development, environmental plan, environmental planning, regional airports


[1] International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Growth in air traffic projected to  continue to 2025, ICAO, RIO 08/2007,, accessed January 2009.

[2] Airports Council International (ACI), Creating employment and prosperity in Europe: a study of the social and economic impacts of airport, ACI Europe, 1998.

[3] Dimitriou, D., Daley, B. & Thomas, C., Aviation and environment at tourism destinations:  issues of sustainable development. Proceedings ATRS 2008, Paper 354, Athens, 2008.

[4] Thomas, C. & Lever, M., Aircraft noise, community relations and stakeholder involvement. Towards Sustainable Aviation, Earthscan: London, pp. 97–112, 2003.

[5] Caves, R., The social and economic benefits of aviation, Part 1. Towards Sustainable Aviation, Earthscan: London, pp. 36–47, 2003.

[6] Thomas, C., Dimitriou, D. & Iatrou, K., Airports sustainable development: principles and key issues, ACI, Aviation dialogue, Issue 1, pp. 2–3, 2009.

[7] Upham, P., Thomas, C., Gillingwater, D. & Raper, D., Environmental capacity and airport operations: current issues and future prospects. Journal of Air Transport Management, 9, pp. 145–151, 2003.

[8] European Commission, Networks for peace and development. Report from the High Level Group Chaired by Loyola de Palacio, European Commission (EC), pp. 26–27, 2005.

[9] ACI Europe, ACI Europe position on aviation and climate change, 2007,, accessed July 2009.

[10] Daley, B., Dimitriou, D. & Thomas, C., Chapter 18: The environmental sustainability of aviation and tourism. Aviation and Tourism, Ashgate: UK, pp. 239–253, 2008.

[11] Lee, D., Fahey, D., Forster, P., Newton, P., Wit, R., Lim, L., Owen, B. & Sausen, R., Aviation and global climate change in the 21st century. Atmospheric Environment, 43, pp. 3520–3537, 2009.

[12] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007, accessed July 2009.

[13] Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), UK,, accessed July 2009.

[14] Hooper, P., Aircraft noise. The Communication Challenge, Sustainable Aviation Short Course, 2009.

[15] Directive 2002/30/EC,, accessed July 2009.

[16] Directive 2002/49/EC,, accessed July 2009.

[17] Airport Carbon Accreditation,, accessed July 2009.

[18] Meinshausen, M. & Raper, S., The rising effect of aviation on climate. Omega Report, CATE, MMU, 2009.

[19] Airports Council International (ACI), Airport Benchmarking to Maximise Efficiency, ACI Europe, pp. 6–12, 2006.

[20] Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), Airport Performance Indicators, pp. 6–10, 2004.

[21] Air Transport Research Society (ATRS), Airport Benchmarking Report: Global Standards for Airport Excellence, pp. 4–14, 2007.

[22] ACI Europe, Airport Awards,, accessed July 2009.

[23] East Midlands Airport,, accessed July 2009.

[24] Eindhoven Airport,, accessed July 2009.

[25] Environmental Plan of Manchester Airport, Manchester Airport Master Plan to 2030, 2005.

[26] Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority,, accessed July 2009.

[27] Ibiza Airport,, accessed July 2009.

[28] Leipzig Halle Airport,, accessed July 2009.

[29] Newcastle International Airport Noise Action Plan (draft for consultation), 2009.

[30] Strasbourg International Airport,, accessed July 2009.

[31] Sustainability report of Aeroporto ‘G. Marcoli’ di Bologna, 2007.

[32] ACI Europe, General Assembly. Annual Congress and Exhibition, Airports Council  International Europe, 18–20 June 2008, Paris, France, Air Transport News, htpp://www. airtransportnews/ reports, accessed June 2008.