By Ed Hill
The impacts of flooding on the operation of an airport take many forms, the most obvious of which is the disruption of air traffic. This in itself can cause severe economic losses in terms of passenger and freight traffic.
Even if a runway is clear of water, damage to airport infrastructure such as landing lights, radar and navigation installations and communications networks will also inhibit the passage of aircraft. Flooding of airport terminals, emergency power installations and inter-terminal transport routes will also disrupt operations and shut down airports. As was mentioned earlier, flooding of access roads and transport networks surrounding the airport can also lead to down-time for an airport.
Finally, as was demonstrated in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the closure of an airport due to flooding hampers the delivery of disaster relief supplies, impacting negatively on surrounding communities well beyond the airport itself.
What can be, and is being, done to reduce this risk?