It is important for different sectors to develop their own definition of sustainability to suit their own unique situation. Skyxe has developed its own definition of sustainability as it pertains to our operation.
“Sustainability to us is managing our efficiency, economics, environment, and social responsibility in a way that preserves future generations’ ability to use the resources we have available today.”
Skyxe's formal committment to sustainability can be reviewed here.
What are we doing?
The Skyxe Sustainability Program is made up of 4 distinct pillars, known as the EONS approach. Sustainability is not an end goal but rather, an ongoing process. Skyxe is always progressing and sustainability needs to be incorporated into every step of our progress. The four focuses of the EONS approach will inform our decision making.
- Economic Viability - Stimulating and catalyzing the local economy, adding new routes, upgrading infrastructure for aircraft and operations into the future.
- Operational Efficiency - Progressively moving more passengers using less resources per passenger.
- Natural Resource Conservation - Having minimal negative impact on our surrounding physical environment, and ensuring we are not reducing future generation’s access to resources.
- Social Responsibility - Engaging the community, our customers, and our employees to promote health and well-being.
Airport carbon Accreditation
Skyxe is proud to partcipate in the Airport Carbon Accreditation, the only institutionally endorsed, global carbon management certification program for airports. It independantly assesses and recognizes the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions through 4 levels of certification: 'Mapping', 'Reduction', 'Optimization' and 'Neutrality'. The program provides airports with a common framework for active carbon management with measureable goals. Click here to learn more about this program.
Skyxe was proud to officially accept the Level 1: Mapping certification on September 16, 2019.
how are we doing it?
Energy & Greenhouse Emissions
Skyxe parking lots and roadway lighting have been upgraded from sodium halide to high efficiency LED heads. Interior lights have also been upgraded to LED. The 2015 terminal expansion was designed to make use of natural sunlight, reducing the need for indoor lighting during the day.
To heat the terminal, Skyxe has upgraded the terminal furnaces to high efficiency low emissions natural gas fired appliances. The indoor climate is monitored by a newly upgraded building management system (BMS), which increases efficiency and is adaptable and modular. Along with these upgrades the old steam heating plant has been decommissioned. Backup electricity generators have also been replaced with more efficient models.
Some of the land in the airfield is seeded to alfalfa as part of a crop rotation cycle and cut and baled each year. This is taken to dehydration mills where it is processed into animal feeds and fertilizers. Growing alfalfa helps to fix nitrogen in the soil as well as sequester carbon from the atmosphere. It is commonly used in remediation efforts. The goals of crop rotation are to help manage organic soil fertility and also to help avoid or reduce problems with soil-borne diseases.
Operational Efficiency & Responsible Management
Skyxe has enhanced airport operations by adopting a Duty Manager program which provides 24/7 oversight for all operational issues and is the first point of contact for tenants and irregular operations mitigation. The Duty Managers also administer ASQ surveys to help us understand how we are performing in the eyes of the passenger.
Safety manuals and operational protocols are constantly being updated for things such as Wildlife Management, Airside Vehicle Operators Program training, Glycol Mitigation, and Snow Plan.
On-time performance has developed into a useful tool for judging the effectiveness of the facilities at Skyxe. Consistently high on time performance numbers have been critical in moving Skyxe towards its vision of being the most valued airport experience in Canada.
Resiliency describes an airport’s ability to remain at normal operational capacity regardless of abnormal conditions. These conditions could be security issues, inclement weather, building systems, airport infrastructure, increased wildlife activity, etc.
The changing climate has started to present itself in the form of extreme weather events all over the globe. Skyxe is taking measures to be prepared in the instance of such events.
Investments have been made in a tornado preparedness plan and through training staff members on what to do in case of tornados. Designated tornado shelter areas have been established and clearly marked throughout the airport.
In case of high rainfall events, a storm-water management plan is being developed. Flood proofing measures have been put in place in the basement of the airport in terms of berms to contain water that may enter, which can then be easily pumped out.
Skyxe has extensive experience dealing with blizzard conditions and high snowfall. Each year the Snow plan is revised incorporating lessons learned from the previous winter season. Regardless of conditions, Skyxe still maintained a 90.2% on-time performance rating in 2016.
Skyxe has developed a risk management manual that encompasses risks associated with all aspects of operating the airport. Risk management is the process of identifying and controlling an organization's potential/possibility of losses. Because of the dynamic nature of an airport, it is important to consider the vast array of risks associated with its operation. The objective of the enterprise risk management manual is to:
- Provide a safe environment for employees and the public;
- Reduce the frequency and severity of accidents;
- Minimize interruptions of services provided to the public;
- Protect physical assets; and
- Minimize exposures to financial losses.
Skyxe has a glycol collection and management system. This includes a de-icing pad with under pad drainage lines that take the glycol laden storm water away and collect it in holding ponds, which are controlled from leaving the site until they are confirmed safe. The containment ponds contain plants which are able to take up the glycol from the water and break it down naturally, rendering it immobile and unable to move through the environment to cause harm. Skyxe continually monitors glycol levels that are generated through aircraft and runway de-icing to ensure that concentrations are compliant with Canadian standards.
To deal with contaminated soil resulting from spills and leaks, Skyxe has an onsite soil reclamation farm. It was built on an impermeable membrane to prevent the release of contaminants into groundwater and movement off site. The soil farm uses natural microbes to break down contaminants, as well as the contaminant’s natural vapour pressure to safely and effectively clean soil.
Plants are important for cleaning the air we breathe and providing shade. They are also aesthetically pleasing. Skyxe has planted trees along airport drive and adjacent to the rental car lots. Planters are also brought in every year and distributed throughout the campus.
To control bird attractants, it is sometimes necessary to control insects. Skyxe uses an eco-friendly, locally sourced grasshopper bait pesticide to mitigate this problem responsibly.
Honey bees are kept and raised on airport property by a local beekeeper. Honey bees are an irreplaceable pollinator for crop plants. In recent years, due to neonicotinoid insecticide use, honey bee populations have been declining. Skyxe has allowed a local beekeeper to house some of his colonies on airport property to pollinate plants on our campus. This generates profit for the beekeeper in regards to honey production, keeps our vegetation reproducing and looking great, and provides us with a portion of honey to donate to the local community. The bees also pollinate the alfalfa that is planted on site.
Skyxe is actively monitoring noise from open areas and noise complaints from the public. The airport provides noise exposure forecast (NEF) charts to developers and city planners to help slow residential creep up to the airport. Skyxe is responsible for noise produced by aircraft out to 10 nautical miles from the airport and continually monitors noise outputs from the airport.
Skyxe has recently redesigned its waste and recycling transfer stations. The new larger compacting capable containers encourage recycling as they take the work out of flattening boxes and recyclable material. They also improve the cleanliness of the area.
Combination recycling and waste bins are located throughout the terminal and campus. Two water bottle filling stations have also been installed to encourage the reuse of water bottles and reduce the waste of one-time use water bottles. The dispensers have counters incorporated into them to display the count of how many plastic bottles have avoided use, informing users of the positive impact of their actions. To date the fillers have saved more than 265,000 plastic bottles.
Efforts are made whenever possible to encourage the reuse and recycling of construction materials. Asphalt milled out from apron repairs and base course materials from the many projects around the airport have been used as material to fix airside gravel roadways or stockpiled for reuse in future projects.
Topsoil removed from construction areas have been re-purposed to fill dips in the airfield to increase safety for vehicles that may happen to cross it. Concrete that has been removed during apron repairs is hauled off site by the contractors and crushed and reused as aggregate.
In the maintenance department, brush bristles from runways cleaning equipment, tires, used oil and filters, batteries, and scrap metal are all recycled.
Employee & Passenger Well-being
Listening to our community is important to us. Skyxe participates in the international Airport Service Quality (ASQ) program which tracks 34 areas of the passenger experience and works to enhance each respective area through ongoing improvements and initiatives.
Attention to this has led to Skyxe being internationally recognized as the 2015 Most Improved Airport in North America and the 2016 Best Airport in North America, both for its respective size.
Ambiance is also a focus at Saskatoon Airport. A natural gas fireplace was added in the new node area of the terminal for passenger comfort. Seating has been upgraded and select seats feature USB ports and plug-ins for device charging. Shopping and dining options have increased and there are 3 entertaining kid’s areas. There is a display case that showcases local organizations, while also providing educational information. Skyxe is also home to an enormous light bright where guests of all ages can channel their inner artist. Through a partnership with local artists Ernie Scoles and Julianne Beaudin-Herney a true local masterpiece can be viewed over our fireplace.
Skyxe has dedicated volunteers that add to the customer experience. With 53 Airport Ambassadors onsite to assist guests with their specific needs and 4 teams of St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dogs, Skyxe aims to help reduce the stress that can be felt during travel.
Skyxe participates in Airport Safety Week by hosting various educational and fun session with all of its terminal partners with the goal of increasing safety awareness.
With a focus on our airport history and customer service, Action X training is offered by Skyxe at various times throughout the year to terminal partners.
To foster working relationships and create a pleasant work environment Skyxe organizes Esprit De Corps events. Employees are provided with a comprehensive benefits package, an employee assistance and outreach program, as well as education career development leave. Skyxe encourages a healthy work environment. Skyxe has conducted smoking surveys and offers support for smoking cessation and helps subsidize cessation products. To get everyone out of the office and getting exercise, an annual foreign object debris (FOD) walk is held.
Skyxe supports innovative ideas coming from all of its employees. Employees are encouraged to share their insightful ideas, and many of the initiatives have been considered for implementation.
To further guarantee the safety of employees, Skyxe also provides first aid training for employees. Retirement and estate planning sessions are also hosted at Skyxe for employees.
Community Engagement & Sponsorship
Skyxe has a sponsorship program that is led by its Sustainability Committee. Over the past year, the following organizations have been sponsored through donation, in-kind matters, or promotional items.
- Air Ambulance
- Air Canada
- Association of Canadian Travel Agencies
- BHP Enchanted Forest
- Canadian Airports Electrical Association
- Canada Remembers Air Show
- Care & Share
- Caroline Robins Community School
- Cosmo Industries
- Ernest Linder School
- Green Grove Camp
- Hope Air
- Industry West
- International Student & Study Abroad Centre: University of Saskatchewan
- Lake Vista School
- Make a Wish Foundation
- Millennium Aviation
- North Saskatoon Business Association
- Riversdale Ladies Golf Classic
- Saskatchewan Aviation Council
- Saskatchewan Jazz Fest
- Saskatchewan Rush
- Sask Music
- Saskatoon Air Cadets
- Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce
- Thunderhead Archery
- Uniglobe Travel
- Veteran’s Affairs
- Wounded Warriors
Being a good neighbour is important in operating a successful, growing airport. When major changes are happening in and around the airport that could have effects on the local community, the airport holds community consultation meetings with stakeholders. The purpose of these meetings is to relay information about future plans and to gather feedback to potentially incorporate into the project at hand.
Through ongoing efforts, Skyxe engages with its airport partners to support, engage, and enhance long-term relationships.
Regular community consultative committee meetings and facility meetings are held to hear from tenants and community organizations with an interest in the airport to better understand what is working and what is not. Events with our airport community are held throughout the year and include our annual BBQ, Skyxe’s own festival of trees competition, award celebrations, and joint fundraising events.
Have an Idea?
If you have a sustainability idea for us, we want to hear it! Please let us know by clicking here.