Farnborough Airport targeted by protestors in bid to ban private jets

-Credit: (Image: Gareth Morris / Extinction Rebellion)
-Credit: (Image: Gareth Morris / Extinction Rebellion)


Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) and other campaign groups attempted to block access to Farnborough Airport on Sunday morning (June 2). This was to voice opposition to the airport's expansion plans and to highlight the issues of private jets and frequent flyers, according to a spokesperson for the protest.

Activists in Farnborough said they barricaded the airport’s Gulfstream Gate with a pink XR boat that had ‘Love in Action’ painted on its side. A further four protesters are understood to have locked-on to oil drums at the Ively Gate and an activist attempted to block the departure gate on a tripod.

Police are said to have seized the tripod. A spokesperson for the force said officers liaised with organisers at the protest throughout as well as airport staff. The airport outlined it remained open and fully operational.

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XR said a fourth group of protesters played cat and mouse with airport authorities and moved between the airport’s other gates to block them. Coloured smoke flares were let off and slogans were chanted alongside Extinction Rebellion drummers.

Plans were submitted in February 2024 that could see Farnborough Airport’s capacity expand by 40 per cent. This would be equivalent to an increase in flights from 50,000 to 70,000. Formal objections have been submitted against the plans, including by Waverley Borough Council.

XR outlined demands that included banning private jets - which the group described as “the most inefficient and carbon-intensive mode of transport”. It also said it wants to tax frequent flyers and make polluters pay the most into climate loss and damage funds which it claimed is “only fair”.

Teacher Daniela Voit, 37, from Surbiton highlighted what she said are the consequences of a 1.5C temperature rise and pointed to flooding in Brazil and Afghanistan and extreme temperatures in Pakistan.

She said:“To carry on flying in private jets, one of the biggest causes of CO2 emissions per person, in a time of climate crisis is reckless.” The demonstration is understood to have included campaigners from XR and local residents, Quakers, and campaign organisations Farnborough Noise Group, Blackwater Valley Friends of the Earth, and Bristol Aviation Action Network.

A spokesperson for Farnborough Airport said: “Farnborough Airport is aware that some people gathered at the entrance to the airport yesterday. The airport remained open and fully operational, and we continually monitored the situation to ensure the safety and welfare of everyone.”

Veterinary surgeon and foster carer Dr Jessica Upton, 54, from Oxford said: “I’m here today because private airports are an abomination. Expanding Farnborough would be putting the indulgent wants of the rich minority over the needs of the majority."

Police attended the demonstration and confirmed no arrests were made -Credit:Gareth Morris / Extinction Rebellion
Police attended the demonstration and confirmed no arrests were made -Credit:Gareth Morris / Extinction Rebellion

A spokesperson for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary said: “Officers were made aware of a protest which took place at Farnborough Airport on Sunday, June 2.” They continued: “We attended the scene. Liaised with the organisers of the protest, and were in contact with airport staff.

“No arrests were made. Our priority is public safety and we worked closely with partners to maintain this in order to minimise disruption to the local community, as well as prevent crime and disorder.”

The climate activists said they chose to target Farnborough Airport in an escalating campaign because it is the UK’s largest private jet airport. More than 33,000 flights are reported to have taken off or landed at the site in the past year.

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