LAWA Sustainability Symposium Highlights Strategies for Aviation Industry to Help Fight Climate Change

07/17/2019 06:05 PM

Symposium gathers industry experts to discuss sustainability in aviation.
July 16, 2019

Frederick Badlissi

(424) 646-5260
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Chief Executive Officer Deborah Flint speaks about LAWA's vision for sustainability across the aviation industry.

(Los Angeles, CA) As climate change becomes the defining issue of a generation, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) today hosted a Sustainability Symposium to provoke discussions about how to tackle this looming threat in part through sustainable aviation practices – including through development of a new LAWA Sustainability Action Plan.

The event, held at Loyola Marymount University (LMU), brought together more than 80 experts and industry professionals from aviation, aerospace, concessions and academics for a half day to hear from sustainability thought leaders.

The Sustainability Symposium included remarks from L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin (CD11), Commissioner Gabriel Eshaghian of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC), LAWA CEO Deborah Flint and LMU Professor of Biology and Executive Director of the Center for Urban Resilience, Eric Strauss. BOAC Vice President Valeria Velasco was also in attendance.

“Caring for our environment relies on adopting and implementing smart solutions, big or small, that truly move the needle toward real sustainability,” said Gabriel Eshaghian, Commissioner, Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners. “LAWA is launching next-generation policies and approaches that will help us embrace sustainable principles to help us protect our environment and resources for years to come.”

“Los Angeles World Airports is taking bold action to do our part in the fight against climate change,” said Deborah Flint, Chief Executive Officer, LAWA. “We are adopting industry-leading policies to reduce our environmental impact and making significant investments in renewable energy and electric vehicles. Today’s symposium is a reflection of the importance of collaboration among academia, citizens and industry to realize LAX's fullest potential as an industry leading green airport." 

At the Sustainability Symposium, attendees also heard from a panel of industry leaders, including: Matt Petersen, President and CEO, LA Clean Tech Incubator; Maria Race, Director of Environmental Policy, Programs, and Sustainability, United Airlines; Kevin Noertker, CEO and co-founder, Ampaire; Terence Young, Principal, Airports Leaders and Design Director, Gensler; and Julie Villet, URW Lab and CSR Director, Westfield. Closing remarks were given by LAWA Deputy Executive Director for the Environmental Programs Group Samantha Bricker. 

The symposium is a key step on the journey toward creating LAWA’s final Sustainability Action Plan, which is being designed to further enhance LAWA's industry-leading approach to aviation sustainability. The ambitious plan will outline how LAWA can build on its existing sustainability program by introducing new, forward-thinking initiatives while fortifying and expanding on proven steps. 

LAWA’s airline and government agency partners are also exploring emissions reduction from aircraft operations through new technologies and best practices, including sustainable alternative jet fuel. And, while LAWA already has one of the largest and greenest fleets in the nation, with 57 percent of it powered by an alternative fuel or electricity, plans to replace old, diesel-powered airside buses with clean and quiet electric ones will reduce nearly 308 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year to zero. LAWA is also in the early stages of developing a comprehensive utility monitoring and resource management plan that will help identify even more areas for conservation.

Progressive policies put in place in 2018 by LAWA will shape the airport’s infrastructure in additional sustainable ways, including designing buildings to LEED Silver or higher, and designing non-building programs such as runways to be held to similar standards. Those polices apply to LAX’s multi-billion dollar modernization project, the largest public infrastructure investment in the history of Los Angeles. 

LAWA’s sustainability plan also emphasizes economic outreach with programs like Edge4Vets, How to Work with LAWA, and the successful HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program. To date, HireLAX has graduated 110 students – many from disadvantaged circumstances – and prepared them to excel in building the next generation of their community’s airport.

LAWA also recently released its 2018 Sustainability Report. View the complete report at

Panelists, from left: Ampaire  CEO and co-founder  Kevin Noertker; United Airlines  Director of Environmental Policy, Programs, and Sustainability Maria Race; URW Lab and CSR Director Julie Villet; and Gensler  Principal, Airports Leaders and Design Director Terence Young .
About Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

LAX, the fourth-busiest airport in the world and second busiest in the United States, was named a top-10 U.S. airport by SKYTRAX. LAX served more than 87.5 million passengers in 2018 and offers an average of 700 daily nonstop flights to 109 cities in the U.S. and 1,281 weekly nonstop flights to 93 markets in 47 countries on 69 commercial airlines. LAX ranks 10th in the world in air cargo tonnage processed, with more than 2.4 million tons of air cargo. LAX handled 707,883 operations (landings and takeoffs) in 2018.  

LAX generated 620,600 jobs in Southern California, with labor income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion, according to an economic study based on 2014 operations. This activity added $6.2 billion to local and state revenues and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues. The study also reported that LAX’s ongoing capital improvement program creates an additional 121,640 annual jobs with labor income of $7.6 billion and economic output of $20.3 billion; $966 million in state and local taxes; and $1.6 billion in federal tax revenues.


LAX was honored as having the “Best Overall Customer Service Program” by Airports Council International-North America; named the “Best Airport for Breastfeeding Moms” by Mamava; selected for the Top 10 “Best of the U.S.’s Big Airports” (Wall Street Journal) and “Most Pet-Friendly Airports in the U.S. (Mental Floss); named the second-most improved airport in the U.S. by JD Power; received an “Innovation Award” from the L.A. Better Business Challenge for its Central Utility Plant; and named  a “Business Leader in Air Quality” by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

LAX is also the second-most popular airport in the world to appear on Instagram, according to LAX is part of a system of two Southern California airports – along with Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles that receives no funding from the City’s general fund.   

As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities.  Alternative formats in large print, braille, audio, and other forms (if possible) will be provided upon request.

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