All 104 climate activists free again after airport occupation

Climate protesters at Eindhoven Airport. Picture credit: Omroep Brabant/Jan Peels

The climate activists who were arrested last Saturday afternoon at a protest at Eindhoven Airport were released during the evening. A total of 104 activists were held because they were trespassing. The wishes of the activists are not diametrically opposed to the airport’s policy. But the airport does not respond substantively to the protesters and continues to implement its policy.

All demonstrators have been issued a report. The Public Prosecutor decides whether the climate activists will actually be prosecuted.

Airport occupied

Hundreds of climate activists took action against aviation at Eindhoven Airport last Saturday around noon. Some of the activists cut the fence and stormed the airport. There, the private jet area was blocked, because the emissions of private aircraft are said to be much higher than those of regular passenger aircraft.

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators also occupied the main checkpoint at the airport. As a result, no suitcases or passengers could get in and out of the planes for a while. Flights that departed and landed at Eindhoven Airport were delayed or canceled.

‘Extremely polluting’ private jets

The activists want an end to unnecessary flights, cheap airline tickets and pollution. The choice to block the private jet area in particular does not come out of the blue. According to the environmental movement, the emissions of private aircraft are much higher than the emissions of regular passenger aircraft.

“Private jets are extremely polluting and we want to make a statement again against this way of flying, because this way of travelling should not be allowed, given the climate crisis we are in. Electric flying is not a solution, so more investment must be made in international rail traffic,” said Extinction Rebellion.

Speed up the process

Eindhoven Airport agrees with the climate activists of Extinction Rebellion that the airport must speed up the process of making aviation more sustainable. This is what director Roel Hellemons wrote on the day that hundreds of activists occupied the airport. He explained how Eindhoven Airport is doing this. He does not react to the storming of the airport itself.

“We do not strive for growth in air traffic, but making traffic more sustainable is our priority,” said Hellemons. “We have proposed to the cabinet to use ticket tax from travellers for the purchase of sustainable fuel. In combination with the latest aircraft, this would lead to 45 to 50 per cent less CO2 emissions in 2030 compared to 2019. From April this year, airlines will pay a more favourable rate if they use the latest cleaner and quieter aircraft at the airport. Furthermore, we see opportunities to electrify aircraft and make them more sustainable.”

Leave or be arrested

Around two o’clock the climate activists received a warning from the police and the Military Police. They could leave voluntarily or be arrested. An hour later, the police made arrests. By late afternoon, all demonstrators had been removed from the airport.

Sources: Studio040 and Omroep Brabant

Translator: Martijn




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