- Miami-Dade County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to fund up to $5 billion of capital improvement projects at Miami International Airport (MIA). There is also money in the program allocated for projects at the county's general aviation airports.
- The projects will take place during the next five to 15 years and will include five primary "sub-programs” at MIA: redevelopment of two concourses in the airport's Central Terminal; an expansion of the South Terminal; an overhaul of Concourse D so that gates are able to accommodate additional and larger aircraft; two new hotels, one of which will feature a business and conference center with exhibition space, plus other landside projects; and larger parking areas for airplanes and new warehouses for the airport's cargo operations.
- In a memo to the county commissioners, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez called MIA the county's "number one economic engine" and wrote that the improvements were necessary to meet future capacity at the airport and an opportunity to incorporate design elements that will address issues of climate change and resiliency.
The first step in resiliency planning for airports, according to architecture firm HOK, is to determine which threats the structure is most likely to experience. For example, in areas where there is the likelihood of damaging high winds, the typically large, open facades of airports need to be "redundant and ductile" to survive the stress. Where flooding is a concern, airport designers should think about installing underground stormwater retention basins, which can manage overflow and preserve water for future use. In tornado-prone areas, berms located around the airport can provide some measure of protection.
Airport operators that are looking for a more sustainable design, according to HOK, might consider a roof and curtain wall system that reduces heat gain and uses natural light.
The Federal Aviation Administration has devoted some Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds to help eligible airports develop both Sustainability Master Plans and Sustainable Management Plans, which contain goals to increase sustainability while providing economic benefits and improving the airports' relationship with the surrounding community. Participating airports are located across the U.S. and represent a variety of sizes and objectives.
The Bert Mooney Airport in Butte, Montana, for instance, set sustainability goals that include reducing fossil fuel usage, minimizing overall waste and implementing a sustainable materials management program.
The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport's plan, on the other hand, is much more comprehensive, reflecting the size difference between it and the Butte facility. DFW's goals include investing in public infrastructure that supports its sustainability objectives; increasing the use of reclaimed water; increasing recycling efforts; and providing healthy lifestyle choices for travelers and employees.