Climate activists stage protest at airport against private jet emissions

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Extinction Rebellion activists claim to have blocked all major entrances to a private airport in protest against emissions from private jets.

As part of the protest, a stretched limousine has been parked at the gates to Farnborough Airport in Hampshire.

‘Stop private flights now’

The protesters, including a former airline pilot, are raising awareness of the emissions caused by private flights.

An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson said:

As world leaders gather for the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow this month, protesters are calling on the world’s super-rich elite of celebrities, oligarchs and business leaders to ditch private flights.

These private flyers, just 1% of the world’s population, cause half of aviation’s global emissions. Extinction Rebellion is also demanding the Government stops private flights now.

The 30,000 private flights to and from Farnborough Airport each year carry an average of just 2.3 passengers, with each passenger responsible for the emission of nine times as much carbon as an economy flight to the US and 20 times that to Spain.

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‘Wanton level of pollution by the super-rich’

Moreover, the spokesperson went on to describe the protest planned for Saturday 2 October:

The airport has permission to increase flight movements to 50,000 a year.

In protest at this wanton level of pollution by the super-rich, Extinction Rebellion has today blockaded three key airport entrances, with activists locked on top of a three-metre high steel tripod at one gateway and to fuel barrels at a second.

The third entrance is barricaded by a stretch limousine, with the driver locked on to the steering wheel and a protester dressed as a media mogul glued to the roof.

XR protest
The protesters are highlighting the emissions caused by private jets (Extinction Rebellion/PA)

Greenwashing

A spokesperson for the airport spoke to the PA news agency. But there was no mention of the issue protesters were raising or the airport’s contribution to carbon emissions. They said:

Farnborough Airport is aware of a number of unauthorised persons gathering at the entrance to the airport. The airport is still fully operational. Authorities are continually monitoring the situation.

Protester Todd Smith, a former airline pilot from Reading, Berkshire, criticised Farnborough Airport’s move to offer sustainable aviation fuel as an alternative fuel.

XR protest
The protesters have targeted Farnborough Airport in Hampshire (Extinction Rebellion/PA)

Smith said:

The term ‘sustainable aviation fuel’ was coined by the aviation and fossil fuel industry to deceive the public and greenwash the utterly destructive nature of biofuels.

Biofuels result in land grabs, deforestation, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, rising food prices and land-use emissions which can be worse than the fossil fuel they are replacing.

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