Airports and airlines have to strategically address their environmental impacts if they are to maximise long term growth. A systematic approach (an Environmental Management System of EMS) is necessary to ensure the most cost effective responses. An EMS allows an organisation to anticipate and respond to its environmental impacts, enabling it to compensate for growth, avoid environmental capacity constraints, limit environmental liabilities, exploit commercial advantages and maximise potential financial benefits.
Aviation environmental impacts are varied and often arise as a result of the activities of service partners (airline operations give rise to noise impacts, aircraft maintenance companies can pose the greatest risk of water pollution). The airport operator, however, plays a critical role in developing the most appropriate responses delivered through a site-wide integrated EMS for all key environmental impacts.
A successful management strategy therefore requires that the activities of all internal airport stakeholders are coordinated. Tens or even hundreds of different organisations can, however, be involved in the operation of a single airport, ranging from small local operators to major international companies with only a handling agent on site and this creates additional management challenges .
The integrated nature of airport operating conditions also makes it vital that all service partners are involved implementation of the EMS if the procedures are to be comprehensive, safe and secure. This requires the establishment of an airport wide stakeholder (environmental) forum and the introduction of Collaborative Environmental Management (CEM); and Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) systems.