15:58 PM

With an eye toward the future, Hillsborough County Aviation Authority updates its Sustainable Management Plan

The set of goals aims to build future sustainability for Tampa International Airport and the county’s three General Aviation facilities.

Tampa International Airport at dusk

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority’s airports officially have an updated roadmap to continue increasing sustainability for the future.

The Authority, which manages and operates Tampa International Airport and the county's three small General Aviation airports, has finalized its Sustainable Management Plan (SMP). The plan covers all four airports – including Peter O. Knight, Tampa Executive and Plant City – and examines everything from energy and water consumption to waste management and clean fuels to improve each airport’s environmental impact and resiliency to events.

It’s the first time the SMP has been updated since the Authority’s first plan was released in 2014.

“We came into the process of updating the SMP with a very tangible, goal-oriented approach. HCAA has already achieved so many sustainability-related goals, and we wanted to build upon that,” the Authority’s Sustainability and Resilience Program Director Eric Caplan said. “With the support of our leadership and input from Departments across the Authority, we are very proud of this update and are confident in our ability to achieve these goals."

Authority staff worked to identify eight main focus areas for improvement:  Energy, Water and Waste, Purchasing and Procurement, Internal and External Engagement, Green Buildings and Infrastructure, Climate and Resilience, Clean Fuels, and Mobility.

Each focus area identifies goals for the Authority and implementation strategies to help reach them by a target date of 2030. The Authority then plans to update the goals to achieve further progress.

Under the Climate and Resilience focus area, for example, one goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent. Strategies to reach this goal include using alternative fuels and technologies for backup power generation and continuing to participate in the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program, a globally recognized framework designed to help airports effectively manage their carbon footprints. With its four airports all achieving Level 2 status, the Authority is the only aviation agency in the state that participates in the program.

“We set our timeline to achieve the SMP’s goals by 2030, and structured them to be building blocks for future sustainability initiatives throughout our airports,” Caplan said. “Between the growing focus on electrification, the innovation of new sustainable aviation fuels and Advanced Air Mobility, and continued focus on community impacts and environmental stewardship, we believe achieving these goals will help us create a greater impact in the future.”

Other goals in the SMP include reducing terminal and airside potable water consumption by 15 percent per passenger, transitioning 50 percent of the HCAA bus fleet to clean fuels and reaching net zero natural gas consumption.

The full Plan is available to review here.