Climate Change activists on Thursday descended on London City Airport that caused some flight disruption as the number of arrests this topped 1000. A protester lay on top of a plane while another forced a jet to around on the runway.
Protest organizers Extinction Rebellion was determined to occupy the airport’s terminal and shut down operations for three days as part of its action in London. The airport authority said a couple of flights were dismissed but it had run an almost complete schedule of flights.
London City Airport is the capital’s fifth biggest and most central airport which is famous for business travelers, bankers, and politicians for short-haul and regional routes. A former Paralympian cyclist James Brown was seen by a Reuters photographer lying across the top of the body of a British Airways Embraer 190 jet.
Posting a video on social media he said, “I managed to get on the roof.” He further claimed that “This is all about the climate and ecological crisis. We’re protesting against government inaction.”
He was removed from the plain. The flight to Amsterdam had to be canceled and a spokeswoman for BA said: “We are investigating what happened as a matter of urgency”.
They were protesting plans to expand the airport, which aims to have 6.5 million passengers a year by 2022 compared to 4.8 million in 2018, and which has said there could be demand for as many as 11 million by 2035.
On Thursday, 18000 passengers were due to arrive or depart from the airport with 286 flights scheduled. However, some protesters went inside the terminal building, flights were continuing, though some were delayed.
An Aer Lingus plane was forced to stop taxiing and return to its gate when a passenger got up to give a speech about climate change. The unnamed man said in a video of the incident, “I’m extremely sorry to disturb everybody here. We have two generations of human civilization left if we carry on doing what we’re doing.”
Airport chief executive Robert Sinclair stated, “There are no longer any protesters outside the airport terminal but we continue to work with the Metropolitan Police to ensure that our passengers tonight and tomorrow have a safe and secure service.”
“We have now arrested over a thousand people,” said Laurence Taylor, the officer in charge of the police operation.
“We have been policing City Airport today where activists have attempted to try and disrupt the operation of the airport, including people outside and some interesting attempts airside, where one man had glued himself to the top of an aircraft. He has of course now been removed,” he added.