Incorporating Sustainability Planning in Airport Master Plans: A Case Study of Six U.S Small Hub Airports
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Report on the Sustainable Master Plan Pilot Program and Lessons Learned published in December 2012 showed that airports of all sizes can benefit from incorporating sustainability in their master plans. Global aviation organizations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Airports Council International (ACI) have been in the forefront in championing aviation sustainability. While incorporating sustainability in airport planning is highly encouraged, there are challenges associated with such a process. Some of the challenges experienced by airport managers in planning and implementation sustainability are lack of financial capability, and lack of skilled sustainability specialists. In 2009, FAA launched the Airport Sustainability - Airport Improvement Program (AIP), to provide grants to airports that were willing to invest the time and resources in preparing airport master plans that incorporate sustainability issues. To date, 44 airports have been funded through the FAA Airport Sustainability AIP grant. Six of the 44 airports are in the category of small hub airports as classified by the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). The objective of this study is to gain an in-depth understanding of the approaches to sustainability planning used by the six small hub airports in the FAA program. The researcher chose a case study design to conduct an exploratory case study with multiple cases. The results of the study show that the approaches used by the six airports vary depending on the specific airport needs and resources available. Based on the study results, the researcher concludes there are more similarities than differences in the approaches airports have used to incorporate sustainability in the master planning process.