Discussing the ambitions of London’s urban airport
Tara Nolan, International Airport Review’s Editor, spoke to London City Airport’s Alison FitzGerald, Chief Operating Officer, and Liam McKay, Director of Corporate Affairs, regarding their mission to become the UK’s most sustainable airport.
Sustainability within the future of airports has been widely discussed. But with 199 airports run by 40 operators in 24 European countries signing up to ACI’s recent pledge of being net zero for carbon emissions by 2050, many in the industry now have a deadline to stop discussing and start implementing change. One airport which has signed up to the pledge and isn’t concerned about hitting that deadline is London City Airport (LCY).
Going beyond core compliance
LCY has already reduced its carbon emissions by 30 per cent since 2013, while passenger numbers have risen by 42 per cent during that same time.
“Some people are hesitant about aligning themselves to a target,” said Alison FitzGerald, Chief Operating Officer at London City Airport. “But our agreement with ACI to be net zero by 2050 is completely right and we need to do it. We’re not putting our heads in the sand, we believe this enhances the proposition. It’s about change and making sure the airport is known for being something diff erent whilst aligned to passenger values.”
Not only is LCY confident that it will hit ACI’s target, it is keen to be at the forefront of this new sustainable era and has made broader changes within its business to do just that.
“It’s important that we set up our approach to sustainability in a wider context,” FitzGerald continued. “For environmental work and for corporate social responsibility work, we are currently under different teams, one that myself heads and one that Liam McKay heads. Our new approach is to align these teams to be under one roof and then align itself to the broader EU sustainable development goals.
“We go beyond what I would call ‘core compliance’. Not only do we accept challenges but embrace them as well.”
This can be seen in LCY’s dedication to not only making sure it employs locally, but that those employees are paid a fair wage (it has recently becoming a London Living Wage accredited employer, ensuring all employees and direct contractors are paid a minimum hourly wage of £10.55) and are encouraged to progress in their careers.
“We have challenges from local authorities on the percentage of local people we should employ and right now we’re at about 65 per cent,” Liam McKay, Director of Corporate Aff airs, explained. “Which in my eyes is an incredible track record. Not only do we bring people to work within the airport, but we give them a chance to evolve within the airport too. That has a great impact on the local economy and an example of how we go beyond compliance.”