Houston Airport System unveils Sustainable Management Plan to align its local, global goals

New initiative seen as essential to enhancing sustainability in areas of design, procurement, assets and infrastructure.

Sept. 25, 2019

In support of the City of Houston’s Climate Action Plan and in keeping with its commitment to being recognized as a “five-star, global air service gateway where the magic of flight is celebrated,” the Houston Airport System (HAS) is promoting its new Sustainable Management Plan (SMP). The SMP is an HAS initiative to maximize operational efficiency while strengthening sustainability in multiple areas: economics, environmental and social priorities to address all key sustainability categories (solid waste/recycling, energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions, sustainability design, sustainability assets and infrastructure, and sustainability procurement).

As Houston Aviation Director Aviation Mario Diaz recently noted, operational efficiency is recognized in the aviation industry as a fourth pillar to the “triple bottom line” definition of sustainability, which evaluates the social, environmental and economic aspects of airport operations. “To that end,” Diaz says, “the goals of this SMP not only promote energy efficiency, waste mitigation,  water resource management and greenhouse gas reductions, but also focus on enhancing our sustainable operations in the areas of design, assets and infrastructure, and procurement.”

The SMP report is the outcome of a multi-year planning process that engaged numerous HAS stakeholders. The plan was developed by HAS leadership and staff members all participating in a series of engagement activities, including meetings, workshops, open houses, online surveys and online collaboration sites.

In preparing the SMP, HAS stakeholders have recognized sustainable management as being a critical element of doing business today. Sustainability is not only about minimizing effects on resources or “using less”; it is about recognizing the role of airports in creating enduring communities, acknowledging the social costs of air travel and creating airports that are resilient to future challenges such as energy or water scarcity.

“It is about operating airports in an efficient and responsible manner such that Houston’s airports are able to connect the world and Houston now and well into the future,” adds Diaz.

To that end, the SMP is a critical aspect of HAS’ strategic priorities, which include:

  • Making passengers happy
  • Achieving “opening day fresh” conditions at all HAS airports
  • Building the platforms for future success
  • Investing in HAS partnerships and employees

The SMP specifies two categories — resource-based and functional — to identify the issues essential to the HAS journey to becoming a sustainable organization and to defining early operational areas of focus.

The SMP’s resource-based priorities are: energy, solid waste/recycling, water and greenhouse gas emissions, while the functional priorities are: sustainable design, sustainable assets and infrastructure, and sustainable procurement.


About Houston Airport System

Comprised of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), Ellington Airport (EFD), and the Houston Spaceport, the Houston Airport System served more than 58 million passengers in 2018.  Houston Airports form one of North America's largest public airport systems and position Houston as the international passenger and cargo gateway to the South Central United States and a primary gateway to Latin America.  Houston is proud to be the only city in the Western Hemisphere with two Skytrax rated 4-star airports.  Learn more at fly2houston.com.