Posted on: 16 May 2018
The last session of this year’s Regional Airports’ Conference and Exhibition being hosted by Naples Airport, addressed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability within the regional airport sector.
Max Schintlmeister, managing director, Airport Excellence SL, described these smaller airports as the centre of a region. “They are business accellerators and innovation hubs and the benefits of a regional airport include employment opportunities, improved infrastructure and business development for those living locally.”
However, airports are often perceived as creating pollution, noise disruption and using up land that could otherwise be used for residential development, by those living locally.
“Caring about those living in close proximitity to an airport is hugely important” Schintlmeister stressed. “Local communities will inevitably have concerns about the development of a new or existing airport, but they need to be involved and engaged with the benefits,” he added.
To deal with environmental issues, airports need to be “responsible, communicate with the local population and support regional or community projects.”
Covering the main challenges of developing a sustainable airport area, Sergi Alegre, president of Airport Regions Conference (ARC), said when developing a sustainable airport area the following considerations must be addressed:
- urban planning and development,
- mobility and accessibility,
- actions in favour of the environment,
- the role of the airport area in its region,
- vision and strategy,
- funding the action and strategies
- social inclusion
Meanwhile, Daniela Bagliere, chariman SAC, Catania Airport, encouraged regional airports to create links with local establishments, such as research facilities. “We need to create economic and business opportunities for the local community.”
But ultimately, she agreed that while Catania is a platform for innovation, economic growth and community engagement, it is ultimately a business with commercial goals, so creating a sustainable airport area is all about finding a balance.