University of Waterloo students Nehal Kanetkar, Tanya Iljas and Vineet Virwani

Landrum & Brown (L&B), a global aviation planning and development consultancy, recently collaborated with the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, on a design project for the Fundamentals of Aviation Sustainability class. L&B created aviation sustainability problem statements for students to solve and judged the final presentations.

Sara Christen-Hassert, Senior Managing Consultant, worked with Associate Professor Suzanne Kearns, PhD, to develop real-world sustainability challenges from airport operations. Three problem statements were created:

  • How does the EONS approach (economic benefits, operational efficiency, natural environment and social responsibility) better serve the aviation environment than the traditional approach (social, economic and environmental)?
  • Why are airports important to sustainable cities and what benefits do they bring?
  • What are some actions that an airport can take to assist airlines in reducing aircraft emissions that occur at an airport?

After exploring new sustainability approaches throughout the semester, the student groups presented their solutions to a panel of L&B judges including Lisa Schafer, Consultant; Sarah Contreras, Senior Consultant; and Elizabet Iontcheva, Analyst.

The winning group, which included Tanya Iljas, Nehal Kanetkar and Vineet Ashok Virwani, presented on the analysis of the EONS approach. The team suggested three key areas where changes can be made which result in markable initial improvements towards sustainability within the aviation industry:

  • Operational efficiency through working with multiple stakeholders builds diversity within the aviation industry allowing it to gain a broader view enabling it to handle the traditionally cyclic nature of the aviation industry.
  • Operational efficiency through setting realistic and achievable goals is shown to be important towards ensuring decisions within companies are made to proactively rather than reactively.
  • Leadership within a company directly influences operational efficiency.

L&B awarded the team with registrations to the 2018 Airports Going Green conference in Atlanta, GA. Iljas, Kanetkar and Ashok Virwani expressed their gratitude in the following joint statement:

“The idea of sustainability within the aviation industry is an important and relevant topic that is poised to change the way that the industry looks at and solves issues that it faces today. Even more so, making aviation sustainable is not out of reach; by working with each other, having strong leadership and setting realistic goals the sky’s the limit. This course has helped reiterate and rejuvenate these ideas showing how we, as young professionals entering the aviation industry, can make a difference towards a more just and verdant tomorrow. A special thanks to Dr. Kearns for teaching this course and Landrum & Brown for graciously offering their time and expertise to listen to our classes presentations on sustainability within aviation.”

Kearns adds, “Thank you [L&B] so much to you and your colleagues for supporting this project – it really is tremendously meaningful and supportive of their learning.”

About L&B:

L&B is a privately owned global consultancy dedicated solely to the needs of the commercial aviation community. The firm’s mission is to provide clients with an unmatched level of service and advice across the full range of aviation planning and development disciplines. With a long and proven history, L&B’s combination of experience, collaboration, and innovation is helping to shape the future of aviation.


Sara Christen-Hassert
Senior Managing Consultant
M: +1 773 457 1000