Future of airports: how is climate change affecting infrastructure planning?
By Claire Smith
Airports around the world are currently restricted in terms of operation as a result of lockdowns to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. No one is yet clear about the long term impact this will have on travel patterns. To put the impact into context, London Heathrow handled 22.1M passenger in 2020, compared with 80.9M in 2019. And while passenger flights were affected by the pandemic, cargo volumes passing through Heathrow fell by 28% last year.
The climate crisis is already shaping the future of airports when it comes to expansion plans with court battles and considerable debate preceding approval of projects at Heathrow and Southampton Airport.
The effects of the pandemic and the focus on investing in infrastructure to stimulate recovery makes the focus on airports all the more important, according to Dholakia.
“If you look at it from the perspective of governments, there is a lot of investment happening in infrastructure in a bid to stimulate economic growth, and climate related risks have the potential to disrupt all of that,” he adds.