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Climate risk among top concerns for airports: Willis Towers Watson

28th November 2019 - Author: Matt Sheehan

Re/insurance broker Willis Towers Watson has highlighted climate risk as among the top risks currently faced by airports.

As part of a recent conference held by the Willis Towers Watson Airport Risk Community (ARC), the broker found that 86% of the audience felt that airports are either very exposed or somewhat exposed to climate risk.

In addition, 48% of the audience highlighted flooding as main weather risk for airports.

“We established the Airport Risk Community to identify top risks affecting the airport community,” said John Rooley, CEO of Willis Towers Watson Global Aerospace.

“Our recent annual conference clearly demonstrated that airport clients were quite specific in their concerns about climate risk and its impact on airport functionality,” he explained. “Our commitment to tackling climate risk enables us to provide guidance on identifying and mitigating this issue.”

Conference speaker Javier Echave, CFO of Heathrow Airport Holdings, also stated: “Aviation is not the enemy, carbon is … together with ICAO and UK authorities we must develop a roadmap for the uptake of sustainable fuels across our industry.”

Other risks identified as key concerns in 2019 were the failure of critical IT systems, which were viewed as the top risk, as well as an increased security threat from cyber and data privacy breaches.

The risk from drones and the corresponding threat to an airport’s reputation were also new entrants.

Security issues were the largest mover in the top 20, in 2016, ranked 19 out of 20, and now featuring at number 4.

“As the aviation industry continues to grow, the risks increase, therefore the need for discussion and knowledge sharing is paramount to support and build a stronger and more resilient aviation industry,” said Ugo de Carolis, CEO of Aeroporti di Roma S.p.A. and the opening speaker at the conference.

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