Extinction Rebellion climate activists block entrances to airport over private jet flights

·2-min read

Climate activists, including a former airline pilot, claim to have blocked all major entrances to an airport in Hampshire in a protest against emissions from private jets.

Extinction Rebellion has parked a stretch limousine outside the gates of Farnborough Airport, with the driver locked to the steering wheel and a fellow protester glued to its roof.

Other members of the group have locked themselves on top of a three-metre-high steel tripod at a second gateway and to fuel barrels at a third entrance.

Protester Todd Smith, 32, a former airline pilot from Reading, Berkshire, criticised Farnborough Airport's move to offer sustainable aviation fuel as an alternative fuel.

He 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."

A spokeswoman for the airport said the airport remained fully operational: "Farnborough Airport is aware of a number of unauthorised persons gathering at the entrance to the airport.

"Authorities are continually monitoring the situation."

A spokesman for the group said it was calling on the "world's super-rich elite of celebrities, oligarchs and business leaders to ditch private flights" ahead of Cop26.

He added: "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.

"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."

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