Airports Environmental Management: Results from the Evaluation of European Airports Environmental Plans

Airports Environmental Management: Results from the Evaluation of European Airports Environmental Plans

Dimitrios Dimitriou (Department of Economics, School of Social, Political and Economic Sciences, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece), Asimina Voskaki (Department of Aerospace Science, School of Engineering, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK) and Maria Sartzetaki (Department of Economics, School of Social, Political and Economic Sciences, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/IJISSCM.2014010101
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Abstract

Although airports contribute to region's economic development, they have a negative impact on the environment and on the communities around them. Environmental impacts such as noise, air and water pollution, and natural resources consumption are some of the implications resulting from the operation of airports that have the ability to constrain airports further development. In addition, increased public concern, regarding climate change, imposes more restrictions on carbon use and greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, many airports can no longer make full use of their capacity, especially when the mitigating cost is quite high. This paper is about airports environmental management and presents the results related to key components of the environmental plans that have been adopted in eight European regional airports. Key issue of the research is to investigate the differences and common practices in applied environmental strategies and systems. Even though most of the airports recognize the need to specify an environmental management strategy, not many regional airports have set specific targets about their environmental performance. Airports that serve more than five million passengers per year seem to have a more detailed environmental strategy; airports located in countries that do not have applied specific sustainable development strategies focus on facilitating growth, rather than taking measures to control their environmental disturbance.
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Airports And Regional Development

The significant role of airports on regional economy has been well recognised in many researches; airports bring significant social benefits and in many cases they are thought to be the single largest generator of economic activity in the regions they serve (Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), 2008). Additionally, many reports highlight that European regions with airports and significant air services have a better social and economic development with lower unemployment, higher productivity and higher income per-capita, compared to regions without airports (ACI Europe, 2004).

The benefits of airports are measured in terms of direct employment, inward investment and tourism, trade with the rest of the world, cultural development and travel for education and leisure (Maughan, Raper, Thomas & Gillingwater, 2001). The economic impact that an airport causes on a region equals with the sum of direct, indirect, induced and catalytic impact (Graham, 2008).

Based on a recent report, airports’ contribution to the overall regional economies, in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), can vary from 1.4 to 2.5%, excluding tourism impacts; failure to provide increases in airport capacity could cost between 2.5 and 3% of national or regional GDP (ACI Europe, 2004).

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