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Professor Callum Thomas

Chair of Sustainable Aviation, having returned to academia in 1998 after 13 years in the aviation industry. He has been an advisor to the UK Government, the European Commission, the World Economic Forum and the international air transport industry on environment and sustainability issues associated with the development of aviation.

Prof. Thomas is internationally known within the industry, having been an advisor to the UK Government and the European Commission on aviation and environmental/ sustainability issues. He was responsible for establishing and managing Manchester Airport’s Bird Control Unit, its Environment Department and Community Relations Department – all UK firsts and all of which have enjoyed international acclaim.

His expertise involves the sustainable development of aviation, environmental constraints upon airport growth and the impact of airport operations on local communities.  Most recently his research has focused upon the implications of aviation for climate change, carbon management at airports, climate impacts upon air transport and the relationship between aviation, tourism and climate change.

By training Prof. Thomas is a bird biologist.  He spent many years researching the behaviour and ecology of seabirds before moving on to address the hazards posed by birds to aircraft. He has co-authored two books and over 60 scientific papers. In 2008 he was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society for his lifetime contribution to aviation.

He is a member of Airports Council International European Environment Committee (Chair 1995 – 1997) and sits on the WORLD Standing Committee for Environment.

Work Experience

Dates 1998 – present
Position held Professor of Sustainable Aviation
Main activities and responsibilities Appointed to the Chair of Sustainable Aviation to direct research towards clarifying:

  • The role of aviation in driving regional development.
  • The most sustainable way of meeting the aviation needs of the region.
  • The timing and extent of any significant environmental and social constraints likely to effect aviation in general and airports in particular.
  • Ways of maximising the environmental capacity of individual airports.
Name and address of employer Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints Building, All Saints, Manchester M15 6BH, United Kingdom
Dates 1996 – 1998
Position held Head of Environment Solutions
Main activities and responsibilities Established and ran the Airport’s environmental consultancy business providing advice, training and services in environment, community and sustainability matters to internal and external clients.
Name and address of employer Manchester Airport, Manchester M90 1QX, United Kingdom
Dates 1992 – 1996
Position held Head of Environment
Main activities and responsibilities Established an Environment Department within the MA Corporate structure. The Department (13 staff, annual budget £1.5 million) comprised four units dealing with Environmental Management, Community Relations, Health and Safety and Occupational Health.
Name and address of employer Manchester Airport, Manchester M90 1QX, United Kingdom
Dates 1989 – 1992
Position held Environmental Control Manager
Main activities and responsibilities Formulated the Airport’s first Corporate Environment Policy, gaining support and funding for the development and management of a noise control and community relations departments.
Name and address of employer Manchester Airport, Manchester M90 1QX, United Kingdom
Dates 1985 – 1989
Position held Bird Control Officer
Main activities and responsibilities Provided advise of the control of bird hazards to aircraft. Responsible for studying the bird populations in and around Manchester Airport, carrying out bird hazard management and establishing and managing the Company’s Bird Control Unit. The first of its kind in the UK.
Name and address of employer Manchester Airport, Manchester M90 1QX, United Kingdom
Dates 1983 – 1985
Position held Academic Tutor in Zoology
Name and address of employer Durham University, Stockton Rd, Durham, County Durham DH1, United Kingdom
Dates 1978 – 1983
Position held Senior Research Assistant
Name and address of employer Durham University, Stockton Rd, Durham, County Durham DH1, United Kingdom

Education and Training

Dates 1998 – present
Position held Professor of Sustainable Aviation
Main activities and responsibilities Appointed to the Chair of Sustainable Aviation to direct research towards clarifying:

  • The role of aviation in driving regional development.
  • The most sustainable way of meeting the aviation needs of the region.
  • The timing and extent of any significant environmental and social constraints likely to effect aviation in general and airports in particular.
  • Ways of maximising the environmental capacity of individual airports.
Name and address of employer Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints Building, All Saints, Manchester M15 6BH, United Kingdom
Dates 1996 – 1998
Position held Head of Environment Solutions
Main activities and responsibilities Established and ran the Airport’s environmental consultancy business providing advice, training and services in environment, community and sustainability matters to internal and external clients.
Name and address of employer Manchester Airport, Manchester M90 1QX, United Kingdom
Dates 1992 – 1996
Position held Head of Environment
Main activities and responsibilities Established an Environment Department within the MA Corporate structure. The Department (13 staff, annual budget £1.5 million) comprised four units dealing with Environmental Management, Community Relations, Health and Safety and Occupational Health.
Name and address of employer Manchester Airport, Manchester M90 1QX, United Kingdom
Dates 1989 – 1992
Position held Environmental Control Manager
Main activities and responsibilities Formulated the Airport’s first Corporate Environment Policy, gaining support and funding for the development and management of a noise control and community relations departments.
Name and address of employer Manchester Airport, Manchester M90 1QX, United Kingdom
Dates 1985 – 1989
Position held Bird Control Officer
Main activities and responsibilities Provided advise of the control of bird hazards to aircraft. Responsible for studying the bird populations in and around Manchester Airport, carrying out bird hazard management and establishing and managing the Company’s Bird Control Unit. The first of its kind in the UK.
Name and address of employer Manchester Airport, Manchester M90 1QX, United Kingdom
Dates 1983 – 1985
Position held Academic Tutor in Zoology
Name and address of employer Durham University, Stockton Rd, Durham, County Durham DH1, United Kingdom
Dates 1978 – 1983
Position held Senior Research Assistant
Name and address of employer Durham University, Stockton Rd, Durham, County Durham DH1, United Kingdom

Additional Information

Social skills and competences Thomas’s particular area of interest/expertise involves achieving the sustainable balance between the socio-economic benefits of air travel and the associated social and environmental costs. He has considerable first hand experience of bird hazard management at airports, the control of aircraft noise and airport / community relations. Most recently his research has focused upon the implications of climate change for the air transport industry.He has provided technical advice to a number of organizations on sustainability, airport environmental impacts, adapting to climate change and more including, in the UK: Dept. for Transport, House of Commons Transport Select Committee, CAA, AoA, Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester, East Midlands, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Humberside, Belfast City, Bristol and Manston airports, British Airways.
Committees and advisory bodies
  • Airports Council International WORLD Standing Committees on Environment.
  • Airports Council International EUROPE Environment Committee (chair between 1995-1997).
  • ACI EUROPE Airport Carbon Accreditation Board.
  • World Economic Forum Advisory Group on Sustainable Aviation.
  • EC Task Force for a study of the impact of air transport on the environment (1996 – 1997).
  • European Working Party to improve the environmental performance of aviation (CEFA).
  • UK Government DETR Aviation and Airports Policy Advisory Group.
  • UK Government DETR Aircraft Noise and Sleep Working Party.
  • UK Department of Transport RUCATSE Noise Subgroup
  • UK Noise and Emissions Steering Group reporting to CAEP, ICAO, Montreal
  • UK Airport Operators Association Environment Committee
  • Bird Strike Committee Europe
  • Board Director of Greater Manchester Waste
  • Chairman of GMW (Manchester Collections) Ltd.
Expertise provided to other organisations
  • Aeroports de Paris – inter-modal transfer and sustainable development.
  • Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), Switzerland – aviation sustainable development.
  • Airports Council International (Brussels) – aviation and environment.
  • ARUP – Airport design and aviation sustainability
  • Assaeroporti – Roma – aircraft noise management.
  • BAA – Aircraft noise compensation schemes
  • Belfast City Airport – aircraft noise and environmental capacity.
  • Bristol Airport – aircraft noise community relations sustainable development.
  • British Airways (BA) – aircraft noise, compensation and house prices, bird strike hazard.
  • Civil Aviation Administration of China – sustainable development, aircraft noise environmental capacity at airports.
  • Cairo Airport Authority – Environmental management and sustainable development..
  • Delta Airlines – environmental reporting.
  • Department for Regional Development – Northern Ireland –aircraft noise
  • Dublin Airport (Aer Rianta) – aircraft noise and bird hazards.
  • English Nature – Bird Strike hazards
  • European Commission (Brussels) – Aircraft noise.
  • Eurocontrol (Brussels) – Environmental capacity, climate change and aviation.
  • International Air Transport Association – Airline environmental management/ reporting.
  • Kunming Airport (China) – environmental capacity constraints at airports.
  • Lloyds of London – Bird strikes
  • Manchester Airports Group – Sustainability, environment, adapting to climate change, bird strikes, aircraft noise. .
  • The Met Office – The implications of climate change for airports.
  • Milan Malpensa Airport, Italy – aircraft noise impacts on local communities .
  • Nottingham East Midlands Airport – sustainable development, aircraft noise, night flying.
  • Ove Arup and Partners – Airport sustainable development, environmental capacity.
  • Liverpool Airport – bird hazard management.
  • l’Office National des Aeroports Marocains (ONDA) – aircraft noise.
  • Routes / ASM – Climate change and airline route development.
  • Royal Aeronautical Society – sustainable development.
  • Severn Trent Water – Bird strike hazards
  • Spanish Airports (AENA) – aircraft noise monitoring and management.
  • Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, Australia – aircraft noise and community relations.
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service / FAA – bird hazards at JFK Airport New York
  • UK Civil Aviation Authority – Advisory to CX and Chair on Aviation Sustainability
  • World Economic Forum – Sustainable Aviation
Selected publications
  • Daley, B. and Thomas, C. (2011) ‘Challenges to growth: environmental issues and the development of the air transport industry’, in G. Williams and J. F. O’Connell (eds), Air Transport in the 21st Century: Key Strategic Developments, Farnham, Ashgate Publishing Limited: 269-294.
  • Thomas, C.S. (2010) Air Transport in an Environmentally Constrained World, Journal of Airport Management, Vol. 5 (1) pp 4-6.
  • Dimitriou, D. and Drew, A. J. (2010) Case Study 1: Changes to Tourist Activity in Greece, in Thomas, C. and Drew, A. J. (eds) (2010) Challenges of Growth Environmental Update Study: Climate Adaptation Case Studies, EUROCONTROL, Brussels.
  • Thomas, C.S., J.A. Maughan, P.D. Hooper and K.I. Hume (2010) Aircraft noise and community impacts, in Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering R. Blockley and W. Shyy (eds.) John Wiley and Sons Ltd., Chichester, UK pp 3599-3606.
  • Thomas, C., McCarthy, R., Lewis, K., Boucher, O., Hayward, J., Owen, B., and Liggins, F (2009) Challenges to Growth Environmental Update Study, EUROCONTROL, Brussels
  • Thomas, C., with Hooper, P., Preston, H. and Wiles, R. (2009) People Issues: Incorporating Passenger Expectation and Airline Business Models. Omega Partnership.
  • Thomas, C. with D. Dimitriou (2008). Environmental constraints on airport development in tourist areas, 5th International Conference on Transportation Research in Greece, Organized by Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers, Hellenic Institute of Transports and National University of Athens, May 2008, Conference proceedings, p. 467-478.
  • Thomas, C., with Hooper, P. Daley, B., Preston, H. (2008) An Assessment of the Potential of Carbon Offset Schemes to Mitigate the Climate Change Implications of Future Growth of UK Aviation. Omega Partnership.
  • Thomas, C.S., with Dimitriou, D and Daley, B. (2008) Aviation and Environment at Tourism Destinations: Issues Of Sustainable Development, Air Transport Research Society Conference, Athens, July 2008.
  • Thomas, C.S. with Maughan, J. (2008) The Challenge for the Aviation Industry – Could the “no-frills” approach emerge as the most environmentally sustainable model?
  • Thomas, C. with Daley, B. And Dimitris, D. (2007) The impact of environmental issues upon future patterns of aviation related tourism and economic competitiveness. Aviation and tourism: Implications for leisure travel (eds: Graham, Papatheodorou and Forsyth (Ashgate).
  • Thomas, C with Hume, K., and Hooper, P. (2007) Quantifying aircraft noise impact on local communities using complaints. Inter-noise Istanbul.
  • Thomas, C. with Dimitriou, D. (2007). “The link between airport growth, aviation environmental impacts and tourism on Greek islands”, International Conference: Competitiveness and Complementarity of Transport Modes, International Conference: Competitiveness and Complementarity of Transport Modes, Perspectives for the Development of Intermodal Transports, 10-12 May 2007, Chios.
  • Thomas, C.S. with Hooper, P.D., Hume, K.I. and Mills J.N. (2005) The Role of Stakeholder Engagement in the Management of Aircraft Noise Disturbance. Proceedings International Workshop on Improving the Environmental Capacity of Airports Florida, 2005.
  • Thomas, C.S. with Hooper, P.D. and Sutcliffe, M. (2005) Exploring the Potential for the Commercial Application of Ecological Foot-printing Analysis: An Airport Case Study. Proceedings of Business Sustainability and the Environment, Leeds, 2005.
  • Thomas, C.S. (2005) Environmental Issues and their Impact Upon The Market Value of Airports. Airport Investor Monthly October 2005.
  • Thomas, C.S. with Hooper, P.D., Hume, K.I. and Mills, J. (2004) Assessing Community Noise Disturbance. Inter-noise 2004, Prague.
  • Thomas, C.S., Hume, K.I., Hooper, P.D. (2004) Aircraft Noise, Airport Growth and Regional Development. Proceedings of the Royal Aeronautical Society / American Institute of Aviation Acoustics Conference, Manchester.
  • Thomas, C.S. with Upham P., Yang, Y., Raper, D., Gillingwater, D. and Hinde C. (2004) Mitigating Environmental Constraints Through Long Term Planning: A Decision Support Approach. Air Traffic Control Quarterly Vol. 12 (2) pp.107 – 124.
  • Thomas, C, with Upham, P., Raper. D., McClellan, M., Lever, M. and Lieuwen, A. (2004), Environmental Capacity and European Air Transport: Stakeholder opinion and implications for modelling. Journal of Air Transport Management 10; 199-205.
  • Thomas C.S. with Shaw, S. (2006) Social and Cultural Dimensions of Air Travel Demand: Hypermobility in the UK? Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Vol 14 (2) 209-215
  • Thomas, C., Hooper, P., Hume, K., Mills, J., Morley, H. (2003) A good practice guide to the assessment and management of aircraft noise disturbance around Northern Ireland airports. Department for Regional Development, Belfast.
  • Thomas C. with Hume, KI. Gregg, M. and Terranova, D. (2002/3) “Complaints caused by aircraft operations: an assessment of annoyance by noise level and time of the day”, Journal of Air Transport Management
  • Thomas, C., with Upham, P., Raper, D. and Gillingwater, D. (2003) “Environmental capacity of airports: operational issues and prospects, Journal of Air Transport Management, Special Edition.
  • Thomas, C. with Upham, P., Maughan, J., and Raper, D. (eds.) (2003) Towards Sustainable Aviation, Earthscan, London.
  • Thomas, C. with Hume, K; Morley, H; and Terranova, D. (2002) “The influence of serial-complainers on complaint profiles at airports”, Acusticium Savilla. Acta Acustica 88 (1) s52.
  • Thomas, C. with Hume, K, and Morley, H. (2002) “Using complaints as a measure of annoyance at airport operations. Acta Acustica 88 (1) s53.
  • Thomas, C. with Hume, K., and Terranova, D. (2002) “Complaints and annoyance caused by aircraft operations: Temporal patterns and individual bias”, Noise and Health 4 (15), 45-55.
  • Thomas, C. with Upham, P. Yang, Y., Gillingwater D., Hinde, C. and Raper, D. (2001) “A strategic decision support tool for indicating environmental and operational factors in airport development scenarios”. Proceeding of the Association for European Transport.
  • Thomas C. with Upham, P. (2002) Environmental capacity of airports: an overview of the issues and multi-sector views of research directions. Transport Planning and Technology
  • Thomas, C. with Hume, KI., & Terranova, D.(2001) Can complaints about aircraft noise be used as an index of annoyance? (accepted for oral presentation at Inter Noise 2001: The 30th International Congress and Exhibition on Noise Control Engineering, The Hague, 27-30 August 2001) published on the web.
  • Thomas, C. with Hume, K.I and Terranova, D (2001) Annoyance and complaints caused by aircraft operations: temporal patterns and individual bias. (Presented to NOPHER 2001: An International Symposium on Noise Pollution & Health, Cambridge, 6-8 April 2001). Published in ‘Noise and Health”.
  • Thomas C. with Hume, KI. Gregg, M. & Terranova, D. (2001) A pilot study into complaints caused by aircraft operations: noise level and time of the day. (Presented to the SCAN-UK 1st International Conference: Environmental Capacity at Airports, Manchester, 2-3 April 2001). Accepted for publication in “Transportation, Planning and Technology” Dec 2001.
  • Thomas, C. with Yang, Y., Upham, P., Gillingwater, D, Hinde, C., and Raper, D. (2001) “A scaled approach to developing a decision support system for sustainable airport development”, Environmental Capacity at Airports, UK Sustainable Cities and Aviation Network (SCAN-UK) conference, April 2nd -3rd 2001, Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • Thomas, C.S., Raper, D.W., Maughan,J.A. , Upham, P. et.al. 2002 Towards Sustainable Aviation, Earthscan, London
  • Thomas, C.S., Raper, D., Upham, P. Gillingwater, D., Yang, Y. and Hinde, C. 2001 A strategic decision support tool for indicating airport sustainability. Environmental Modelling and Software 16 .
  • Thomas, C. with Yang, Y., Upham, P., Gillingwater D., Hinde, C., and Raper, D. 2001 A scaled approach to developing a decision support system for sustainable airport development. First International Conference on Environmental Capacity at Airports, Manchester April 2001
  • Thomas, C.S. with Upham, P. Yang, Y., Gillingwater D., Hinde, C. and Raper, D.. 2001 A strategic decision support tool for indicating environmental and operational factors in airport development scenarios. Proceeding of the Association for European Transport .
  • Thomas, C.S. with Upham, P. and Raper.D.W. 2001 Environmental capacity of aviation : theoretical issues and basic research directions. Journal of Environmental Planning and management .
  • Thomas, C.S. with Maughan, J.A, Raper, D.W. and Gillingwater, D. 2000 . SCAN-UK – A network approach to environmental best practice in the aviation industry. Business Strategy and the Environment Conference, Leeds. ( published in Business and the Environment).
  • Thomas, C.S. with Maughan. J.A., Raper, D.W. and Gillingwater, D. 2000, SCAN-UK – The Sustainable Cities Aviation Network for the UK. Air & Space Europe
  • Thomas, C.S. , Tomlinson, S., Hume, K.I. and Fullarton, D. 2000 Generic systems to permit public access to environmental information – a prototype for aircraft noise and flightpath data. Proceedings of Inter.Noise 2000.
  • Thomas, C.S. 2000 Achieving the correct balance – The Manchester Airport Second Runway Project. Aviation versus Environment – 2nd Hamburg Aviation Conference, Hamburg.
  • Thomas, C.S. and Raper, D.W. 2000 Sustainable mobility and the air transport industry – Comments on the ECs views on Air Transport and the Environment. Air & Space Europe 2 (3) 13-16.
  • Thomas, C.S. 1999 (b) Noise related to airport operations community impacts. Rumore ? C:Stiamo Muovendo, Ministerio dell’ Ambiente, Rome, Italy.
  • Thomas, C.S. 1999 Sustainable aviation -the next great challenge for the aeronautical industry. Proceedings of the Royal Aeronautical Society conference – Aviation and the environment – their future in an integrated transport policy.Royal Aeronautical Society, London
  • Thomas, C.S. 1998 Plane talking . Transport Review Winter 1988, 14-15.
  • Thomas, C.S. with Moss, D., Warnaby, G., and Sykes, S. 1997. Manchester Airport’s second runway campaign: The boundary-spanning role of public relations in managing environmental-organisational interactions. Journal of Communication Management, 2(24), 320-334.
  • Thomas, C.S. 1996 Noise related to airport operations. In Environmental management at airports – liabilities and social responsibilities, Thomas Telford, London
  • Thomas, C,.S. 1988 How meaningful are bird strike statistics. Proceedings of the 19th Congress of Bird Strike Committee Europe , Madrid.
  • Thomas. C.S. 1988 The development of an effective bird detection and dispersal programme . Proceedings of the 19th Congress of Bird Strike Committee Europe , Madrid.
  • Thomas, C.S. with Kretsis, M. 1990 The development of an expert system to minimise bird strikes at airports. Proceedings of the 20th Congress of Bird Strike Committee Europe, Helsinki.
  • Thomas, C.S. 1992 Bird Hazard Management at Manchester Airport, Airport Technology International , Sterling Publications , London .Thomas, C.S. and Melrose, A. 1993 Airports and the Environment .Airport Technology International, Sterling Publications, London.
  • Thomas, C.S. 1995 Editor – Airports Council International – Environmental Handbook. ACI EUROPE, Brussels.

Contact Details

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Manchester Metropolitan University
John Dalton Extension
Chester Street
Manchester M1 5GD