The focus on American hubs means that other airports, potentially more at risk of flooding, are excluded. These include a large number of airports in Europe, Northern American and Oceania, but risks are highest in Southeast and East Asia, a report from 2020 concluded.
That report said that these “coastal airports are disproportionately important to the global airline network, by 2100 between 10 and 20 per cent of all routes are at risk of disruption (see ‘Global analysis of sea level rise risk to airports‘, Aaron N. Yesudian from the School of Engineering, Newcastle University and Richard J. Dawson, Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research).
American previously published its ESG report in 2020, but in this new report, there is “a more detailed analysis of the risks and opportunities.” This extra details includes:
- expanding the number of sites included in the physical risk evaluation;
- exploring geographic regions around the world in which we operate that are projected to experience greater impacts;
- examining more closely the effects of potential changes in policy, technologies and markets; and
- refining and updating the scenarios we used to model and assess potential risks and opportunities.
As part of the physical risk assessment, the airline conducted a climate risk screening in 2022 of approximately 400 American Airlines facilities and suppliers, including airports, cargo facilities, data centers, maintenance facilities, offices and training centers around the world.
For each of these sites, it assessed the risk associated with temperature, coastal flooding, fluvial (river) flooding, tropical cyclones (Eastern Atlantic basin only), water stress, drought and wildfire. Its analysis was supported by The Climate Service (now part of S&P Global), a leading provider of climate science and analytics for business.
The results of its analysis “refined our focus on 12 strategically important sites for our company, which include hub airports that form the foundation of our network; our largest maintenance facility; our corporate headquarters, which is also home to our integrated operations center and primary training facility; and a key fuel supplier. For each site, we assessed the exposure and implications of the projected key physical hazards in the 2020s, 2030s and 2050s… “
Heathrow has recognized the potential for flooding from ‘precipitation’ in its Climate Change Adaptation Report (CCAR) Third Round Progress Report.
Under ‘current climate-related physical risks’ it says that “High levels of precipitation can lead to drainage infrastructure becoming overwhelmed and lead to both surface and ground water flooding events”.
Heathrow’s CCAR says that “In the short-term future at Heathrow, an increased likelihood of extreme rainfall events will heighten the risk of drainage infrastructure being overwhelmed and groundwater flooding… In the longer-term future at Heathrow, the risk of surface and ground water flooding remains elevated. “