Tourism Industry News

Activists Disrupt Scottish Airport

04/03/2009 07:34

The Guardian is reporting that flights at one of Scotland's busiest airports were disrupted today when climate change protesters dressed as Donald Trump played golf on a taxiway.

Nine demonstrators from the Plane Stupid campaign group cut through Aberdeen airport's perimeter fence at around 2:15 a.m. in protest at BAA's plans to expand the airport.

Seven protesters who had put up a "wire fortress" on a taxiway for North Sea helicopters handed themselves over to Grampian police at about 8:20 a.m. Two others on the terminal roof surrendered to police at about 9:30am.

Plane Stupid said the protesters were dressed as golfers in imitation of the New York property tycoon, who is building a major $1.4 billion golfing resort north of Aberdeen and supports the airport's growth. The protest was timed to prevent commercial flights from beginning at 5 a.m. and led to delays of at least three hours to all early morning services, including flights to Heathrow, Paris and Amsterdam.

Four incoming flights—from Paris Charles de Gaulle, Bristol, East Midlands and Humberside—were cancelled before scheduled flights resumed shortly after 9 a.m. Incoming flights from Wick, Durham Tees Valley and Newcastle were also delayed, while a flight to Sumburgh, in Shetland, was cancelled. The protest also disrupted routine North Sea oil industry helicopter flights from what is one of Europe's busiest heliports. Some services were able to resume at 8 a.m. after BAA shifted takeoffs to another area of the airport, but the disruption has continued.

Plane Stupid said the protests, the first to disrupt commercial flights at a Scottish airport, were designed to highlight the escalating impact of aviation on the climate and protest against the UK-wide expansion of airports. Aberdeen has been given permission to increase passenger numbers by 1.5 million by 2015, the group said.

The airport is a major business hub, particularly for the oil and tourism industries, but it also provides lifeline services to Orkney and Shetland and some emergency air services.

The group quoted one of its members on the roof, Jonny Agnew, a 22-year-old from Edinburgh, as saying: "Despite a catalogue of scientific reports warning them that they can't keep on with aviation growth, they continue with disregard for all of us who will end up dealing with the impacts of the climate crisis…Our generation's future is vanishing so that people like Donald Trump and his super-rich friends can jet into Aberdeen for a round of golf."

A BAA spokesman condemned the protest as "dangerous and highly irresponsible", adding: "Aberdeen is one of Europe's busiest commercial heliports and a major transport centre for the north of Scotland, used by tens of thousands of people every day…Passengers are being advised that the airport is not closed, and are asked to contact their airlines directly for more information about flight schedules."

Last December, Plane Stupid activists disrupted Stansted airport, in Essex, occupying part of the runway and forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights. Police made 38 arrests.

In January last year, more than 20 protesters targeted the offices of private aviation firm Greer Aviation at Edinburgh airport, unveiling a banner that read: "This planet has no emergency exits."


Source: TravelAgentCentral

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