Climate activists block private jet departures


Schiphol Airport protest in Netherlands draws attention to aviation-related pollution

Climate activists sit in front of jets and ride bicycles on the tarmac to protest against environmental pollution from aviation at Schiphol Airport outside Amsterdam on Saturday. (Reuters Photo)

AMSTERDAM: More than 100 environmental activists wearing white suits stormed into an area where private jets are kept at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Saturday and stopped several aircraft from departing by sitting in front of their wheels

The protest was part of a day of demonstrations in and around the airport organised by the environmental groups Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion to protest against greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution caused by the airport and the aviation industry.

No delays to commercial flights were reported as of early afternoon.

“We want fewer flights, more trains and a ban on unnecessary short-haul flights and private jets,” said Greenpeace Netherlands campaign leader Dewi Zloch.

The environmental group says Schiphol is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the Netherlands, emitting 12 billion kilogrammes annually.

Hundreds of other demonstrators in and around the airport’s main hall carried signs saying “Restrict Aviation” and “More Trains”.

Responding to the protest, Schiphol authorities said the site aims to become an emissions-free airport by 2030 and supports targets for the aviation industry to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Military police tasked with airport security said in a statement they had “made a number of detentions of persons who were on airport property without being allowed”.

Schiphol announced plans in June for a cap on departing passengers at 67,500 per day, around 11% below 2019 levels, in response to government concerns about air pollution and climate concerns. The cap was recently extended until next March.

Transportation Minister Mark Harbers told parliament last month that his office could not control growing private jet traffic, and the government is considering whether to include the issue in its climate policy.