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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Developing an airport climate change resilience framework and platform

Airports are a key component of the aviation industry, one of the most critical and fastest growing drivers of human-caused emissions. Due to climate change, airports are increasingly exposed to physical climate risks, including acute hazards such as cyclones and floods, as well as chronic hazards such as sea level rise and higher average temperatures. They can also be indirectly affected by climate change through transition risks, associated with an airport’s capacity to mitigate its environmental impact. As major economic drivers and key enablers of connectivity, airports must become resilient to the physical and transition risks from climate change. This research focuses on developing a climate resilience assessment framework that will help establish an airport’s current resilience condition and provide a holistic view of its strengths and weaknesses. Three main airport domains (organization, operations, and infrastructure) and 26 resilience indicators were developed. These were then validated through semi-structured interviews with airport representatives as well as airport and resilience experts. The result is a heatmap that provides decision-makers with an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to identify and prioritize intervention strategies. The study highlights the complexity of assessing airport resilience and stresses the need to look beyond infrastructure and operations. As key fulcrums of climate mitigation, airports should also implement resilience strategies that include economic, social, and environmental considerations. Key limitations include issues related to airport heterogeneity, uncertainty, and stakeholder inclusiveness. Therefore, it is recommended that the framework be updated to increase level of detail or to tailor it to specific airports as well as to include new climate change information as it becomes available. Furthermore, a more participatory approach is needed.



Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.