New Civil Engineer - Claire Smith

Climate change considerations are impacting decisions about the planning of new airports and expansion schemes – but what about existing airport infrastructure?

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.

London City Airport chief development officer Peter Adams has predicted it will take his airport five years to return to 2019 passenger numbers, while others expect recovery to take much longer. Whatever the true timeframe, all airports will have to address the impact of climate change during that period – and beyond.

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