Bad behavior at airports has been making headlines: Last month, an airport worker punched a passenger — who was holding a baby — at the Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport in France. And earlier this year, after a brawl broke out at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport over flight cancellations, three people were arrested with charges including inciting a riot.
Now for the good news: We found four ways that airlines and airport administrators are rising above the fray and working behind the scenes to create positive change — and these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
- In July, American Airlines in Fort Worth, Texas, became the largest airline carrier to announce that it would establish policies and train its more than 120,000 workers on ways to identify and combat sex trafficking. The airline joins Delta Airlines and Volaris in working with the nonprofit ECPAT-USA, an organization that works to eliminate sex trafficking. (If you’d like to know how meeting professionals at Maritz Global Events are working with ECPAT-USA, read our story or listen to our podcast.)
- Also in July, the San Francisco International Airport (SF) announced a partnership to connect the nonprofit organization Waste No Food with airport restaurants that want to donate their excess food to local charities. The airport constructed purpose-built refrigerated rooms for the project. During the first week of operation, 250 meals were donated to a local foundation.
- JetBlue uses vending machines to dispense age-appropriate books for children aged 0-14 in communities that are underserved by libraries. This summer, the vending machines are in Washington, D.C., and previously have been placed in Detroit and Ft. Lauderdale. The summertime project, which selects one community each year by way of an online vote, has donated $2.75 million worth of books from JetBlue and partners since 2015. The airline also grows organic produce at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, including blue potatoes for the blue chips it serves onboard.
- Last year, Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) became the first airport in North America to achieve carbon-neutral status — one of only 23 airports worldwide to have achieved the distinction. The 10th Airports Going Green Conference will be held in Dallas, Nov. 12-15, presented by the American Association of Airport Executives, the City of Chicago Department of Aviation; and DFW.
Know of any innovative and/or inspiring CSR activities by airports or airlines? Please add them in the comments below. And stay tuned: A story in our September issue will shine the light on more airports and airport hotels that break the mold.