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Lessons Learned from Airport Sustainability Plans (2015)

Chapter: Chapter Two - Study Method and Results

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Two - Study Method and Results ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Lessons Learned from Airport Sustainability Plans. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22111.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Two - Study Method and Results ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Lessons Learned from Airport Sustainability Plans. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22111.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Two - Study Method and Results ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Lessons Learned from Airport Sustainability Plans. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22111.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Two - Study Method and Results ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Lessons Learned from Airport Sustainability Plans. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22111.
×
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5 chapter two Study Method and ReSultS To gain insight into and knowledge about sustainability practices, a survey was designed to learn more about the needs and practices of smaller airports. Appendix A includes a copy of the survey, as well as selected respondent comments. To maximize volunteer participation, a list was compiled of smaller air- ports, and telephone calls were placed to each airport on the list. Thirty-one airports in 21 states across the United States agreed to participate and received electronic invitations to complete the survey. In two cases—the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the city of Phoenix Aviation Department— a single individual responded for two airports, resulting in 29 respondents for 31 airports. Appendix B lists the participating airports. Initial telephone screening and generous commitments from airport per- sonnel to donate their time to an industry effort helped to achieve a 100% response and completion rate. For ease of completion, the survey was branched into three pathways. One branch covered airports with sustainability plans funded by FAA grants, the second branch addressed airports with self-funded sustainability plans, and the third branch focused on airports that have implemented ad hoc sustain- ability actions without a plan or framework. Of the 29 survey respondents, 15 stated that they received the majority of funding for the sustainability plan and program from FAA, six stated they obtained funding through other sources including self-funding, and eight indicated they had no formal plan but engaged in ad hoc sustainability projects. However, the survey responses were validated, and it was found that one airport received FAA funding even though the airport self-identified as having “no plan.” For comparative analysis, that airport was assigned to the FAA-funded group, resulting in a survey population consisting of 16 airports receiving FAA sustainability plan grants, six airports self- funding their own plans, and seven airports proceeding without formal sustainability plans. To expand on and verify the survey results, interviews were conducted with personnel from 12 air- ports to learn more about the sustainability efforts at those airports. Chapter six presents summaries of those interviews as case examples. aIRPoRt ReSPondent deMoGRaPhICS Size, location, and tenants The participating airports are among the larger small airports, with most providing regional service. Two airports service international flights, and a few are part of larger airport systems, such as the city of Phoenix Aviation Department and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Most of the airports are significant local employers, with 22 employing more than 200 people. A majority occupied large structures: 18 own and/or operate more than 160,000 square feet of building space, and eight control between 80,000 and 160,000 square feet of building space. States represented in the survey are: • Arizona (2) • Arkansas • California (4) • Colorado • Florida • Indiana (2) • Kansas • Kentucky • Maine • Massachusetts

6 • Nevada • New York (4) • Ohio (2) • Oregon • Pennsylvania (3) • Tennessee • Texas • Washington • West Virginia • Wisconsin US Code Title 49 § 47102 of U.S. federal law categorizes airports into large hub, medium hub, and nonhub, according to passenger enplanements. The categories are defined as follows: • Large hub airport—a commercial service airport that has at least 1.0% of total U.S. passenger enplanements (in 2010 this was at least 7,100,000 enplanements). • Medium hub airport—a commercial service airport that has at least 0.25% but fewer than 1% of U.S. passenger enplanements (in 2010 this was more than 1.8 million enplanements, but fewer than 7.1 million). • Small hub airport—a commercial service airport that has at least 0.05% but fewer than 0.25% of total U.S. passenger enplanements (in 2010 this was more than 380,000 flights but fewer than 1.8 million). • Nonhub airport—a commercial service airport that has fewer than 0.05% of the passenger boardings (in 2010 this was more than 2,500 flights but fewer than 380,000). • General aviation (GA) airport—an airport that either does not have scheduled service or has scheduled service with fewer than 2,500 enplanements each year. This airport type is the largest single group of airports in the U.S. system. The following sizes are represented by the 31 airports in the survey [Stewart International and Teterboro Airports (New Jersey/New York) comprise a single response, as do Deer Valley and Good- year Airports (Arizona)]: • six medium hub, • five small hub, • 12 nonhub, and • six GA airports One survey question queried respondents regarding tenants. Twenty-eight of the 29 respondents rented space to fixed-base operators (FBOs), and in addition, 26 hosted food and beverage facilities and car rental agencies, 24 hosted airlines and retail outlets, 19 hosted flight instruction, 18 hosted air charter companies and line maintenance providers, and 17 hosted freight or distribution orga- nizations. The FAA and other federal agencies also occupied floor space on airport property for 22 respondents. Fourteen offered tourist information centers. Only nine offered heavy maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services (see Figure 2). Other tenants listed by the respondents included contract air traffic control (ATC) services, hangar lessees, Air National Guard facilities, an Army field maintenance shop, a commercial manufacturer, aviation storage facilities, and fire and police departments. SuStaInaBIlIty Plan FundInG and IMPleMentatIon The survey provided information on funding sources for sustainability planning and initiatives. When the respondents were asked about funding, the significant role played by FAA became clear because half of them stated that FAA provided the bulk of the funds required for the sustainability plan. As explained previously, 16 airports received FAA funding for their sustainability planning and programs (see Figure 3). Eleven of the airports receiving FAA funds stated that the FAA program was essential or that the sustainability program might not have been possible without federal support (see Figure 4). One respondent was clear about the necessity of FAA funding for the airport’s sustain-

7 FIGURE 3 Plan funding source (number of airports in study). FIGURE 2 Major airport tenants (percentage of airports in study). FIGURE 4 Value of FAA funding (number of FAA grant recipients).

8 ability plan: “It is my feeling that we would not have performed a sustainability master plan without the funding from FAA. They asked us to participate in a pilot program, and we agreed to combine the sustainability master plan with our overall Master Plan.” FAA funding came through several channels: 11 respondents received sustainability planning grants and general Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants, and two received funding to implement sustainability-related projects through the Voluntary Airport Low Emissions Program (VALE). Twenty-one of the respondents self-funded by investing the airport’s own monies into the sustain- ability efforts, even if the airport received other sources of funding. Reasons cited for self-funding included greater flexibility (three respondents), speed (two respondents), and fewer constraints (two respondents). However, airports accessed a variety of other funding sources, demonstrating that financial support is available for sustainability programs but an airport may have to seek it from mul- tiple, and sometimes previously unexplored, sources. For example, 13 of the respondents received rebates from utilities, and 10 obtained energy efficiency subsidies from state and local entities. Six respondents benefited from utility-funded energy audits, and a similar number entered into power purchase agreements for renewable energy. Five received state grants for electric vehicle charging stations. Other sources of funding suggested by the respondents in separate comments included the air- port operating budget, unnamed state and local funding, and renewable energy credits under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Another ACRP publication, Synthesis 24: Strategies and Financing Opportunities for Airport Environmental Programs (Molar 2011), provides a comprehen- sive guide to funding opportunities at the federal, state, and regional levels for general and specific environmental issues and includes case examples from airports that have acquired financing through these various sources. InteRnal ReSPonSIBIlIty FoR SuStaInaBIlIty aCtIVItIeS For 16 of the respondents, management staff is primarily responsible for implementing sustainabil- ity initiatives. For seven respondents, a committee with representatives from multiple business lines implements the sustainability initiatives, bringing the associated benefits of a broader perspective and cross-functional investment in sustainability goals. In one case, the town’s energy office implements sustainability programs at the airport (see Figure 5). FIGURE 5 Who implements sustainability (number of airports in study; multiple responses possible).

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 66: Lessons Learned from Airport Sustainability Plans explores sustainability initiatives at smaller U.S. airports. The synthesis presents an analysis of survey responses and provides information gained from the telephone interviews to help inform airport leadership and employees who are considering, developing, or implementing sustainability plans.

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