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Navigating environmental risks in aviation

April 29, 2024

Explore the environmental risks in aviation: from fuel storage to PFAS chemicals. Learn mitigation strategies and ESG integration in our comprehensive handbook.
Aerospace|Environmental Risks

Environmental risks in aviation

Aviation, while crucial for global connectivity, poses several environmental risks. Fuel storage is a significant concern as airports and airlines handle large volumes of aviation and vehicle fuels.

Aging infrastructure such as tanks and pipelines can leak fuel, contaminating soil and water sources, jeopardizing both wildlife and human health.

Moreover, the extensive use of de-icing fluids during winter can lead to toxic runoff, polluting water bodies if not properly managed and contained.

Construction activities associated with airport expansion can mobilize historic pollution or create new environmental challenges by disturbing buried soil.

Aircraft maintenance also contributes to pollution, with chemicals and solvents used in maintenance hangars posing a risk of leakage or spillage into the surrounding environment.

Furthermore, the high fire risk at airports due to the presence of fuels and chemicals poses additional threats, as firefighting efforts can lead to water contamination.

Airlines face legal challenges from environmental groups over air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, reflecting a growing concern over the climate impact of aviation.

Additionally, the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting foams poses serious environmental and health risks, as these chemicals are persistent and challenging to remediate.

Historic landfill sites within airport perimeters also pose threats as pollutants may leach into the surrounding land over time, highlighting the need for comprehensive environmental management in the aviation industry.

What you’ll learn from this report

The reference handbook, "Navigating Environmental Risks in Aviation," serves as a comprehensive guide for aviation industry professionals to understand and address environmental challenges effectively. It offers:

  1. Insight into Environmental Pollution: Understanding various forms of pollution, such as soil, groundwater, surface water, air pollution, and biodiversity damage, equips businesses with knowledge to identify potential risks.
  2. Identification of Aviation-specific Risks: By outlining risks like fuel storage, de-icing chemicals, construction activities, aircraft maintenance, and PFAS chemicals, the handbook helps aviation companies proactively manage and mitigate environmental hazards.
  3. Focus on PFAS Chemicals: Highlighting the risks associated with PFAS chemicals and strategies for management enables businesses to address this emerging environmental concern.
  4. Guidance on Environmental Management Strategies: Providing actionable measures like environmental management plans, wastewater treatment systems, and emissions management plans empowers aviation businesses to implement robust environmental management practices.
  5. Insight into Environmental Insurance: Exploring environmental impairment liability (EIL) insurance helps businesses understand how to protect themselves financially from environmental incidents, including clean-up costs and legal expenses.
  6. Addressing Coverage Gaps: By highlighting gaps in traditional insurance coverage, the handbook emphasizes the importance of specialized EIL insurance to bridge these gaps effectively.
  7. Integration with ESG Strategies: Demonstrating how EIL can contribute to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, the handbook helps aviation companies align their environmental initiatives with broader sustainability objectives.

Overall, the reference handbook equips aviation professionals with the knowledge and resources needed to navigate environmental risks effectively and integrate sustainable practices into their operations.


Head of Casualty, Asia &
Head of Real Estate, Hospitality & Leisure, Asia

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