‘Plane Stupid’ Protest At Heathrow Airport Cause Disruptions

Heathrow airport

Heathrow airport was disrupted on Monday as climate activists protest on northern runway.

Twenty two flights were cancelled and 13 people arrested after demonstrators from Plane Stupid cut through fence and entered runway at 3.30am….

The protesters then chained themselves together to demonstrate against the building of a new runway. Police used cutting equipment to remove the demonstrators who were lying on the ground chained around a tripod.

The Guardian reports:

Plane Stupid said the protesters – one of whom was dressed as a polar bear – were campaigning against runway expansion, and further protests would follow.

Heathrow has cancelled 22 flights so far on Monday, which a spokesman said was mostly due to protest action.

At least seven cancellations were British Airways domestic and short-haul flights, and the airline said it was “doing everything we can to minimise disruption to our flights”.

Other flights were experiencing delays but a Heathrow spokesman said the demonstration was “having a very minimal effect on the operation” of the airport, which averages 1,300 flights a day.

Heathrow said customers should check the status of their flights. Both runways are operational but the northern runway is shorter than normal and can only accept short-haul flights, a spokesman said.

“We are working closely with the police who are dealing with the incident. The southern runway remains open,” a statement from the airport said. “Our priority remains to ensure the safety of the airport community, including passengers, employees and protesters.”

Seven hours into the protest, police had arrested nine people after cutting through their armlocks. The four remaining activists were moved to a “safe area” while officers continued to try to remove their arms from the lock, but were also later arrested.

A Metropolitan police spokesman said: “At approximately 3.45am officers were alerted to a number of protesters who had made their way airside at Heathrow airport. A small number of these protesters chained themselves to a tripod. Officers are in attendance.”

In a later statement, police said: “There were 13 protesters in total on the north runway. All 13 have been arrested on suspicion of Aviation Act offences and remain in custody.

“The Metropolitan Police Service works closely with Heathrow Airport Limited to keep those who use or work at Heathrow safe and secure. The Metropolitan police and Heathrow will jointly review today’s protest incident at the airport and make necessary changes to the security plan.”