This paper develops and applies a Sustainability Ranking of Airports Index to benchmark the performance of airports across multiple factors. The index is a composite indicator with 5 dimensions and 25 indicators. The dimensions are airport services and quality, energy consumption and generation, carbon dioxide emissions and mitigation planning, environmental management and biodiversity, and atmosphere and low emission transport. The index is applied to a sample of 9 airports that take place among the busiest and best airports in the world based on passenger traffic and passenger satisfaction. Data is mined from Corporate Sustainability Reports and related sources. Amsterdam Schiphol, Frankfurt, Munich, Istanbul Ataturk, and London Heathrow airports are the top 5 airports in the sample. The linear regression between the results of the index and annual passenger traffic is found to be 0.1942. The results can be used to benchmark progress in decoupling airport operations from greater environmental impact. The paper provides recommendations for the 5 dimensions of the index based on best practices from the airports in the sample. The index is useful to allow airport managers to coordinate strategies for the sustainable development of energy, water, and environment systems in airports and lift-off towards more sustainable airport practices. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.