The action this morning, targeting business tycoons flying out of Farnborough, aimed to highlight the environmental damage being done by privileged groups generating vast amounts of pollution for the sake of luxury travel.
More than a dozen people used a variety of methods, including arm tube locks and tripods, to lock down key entrances to the specialist airfield, best known for its annual air show and as the site of Britain’s first powered flight.
The protest comes as world leaders, influential business executives and selected billionaires prepare to fly out by private jet to meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland from May 22nd-26th, where climate action is supposedly at the top of the agenda.
Farnborough resident Danielle McHallam said:
“I cannot continue to sit by and watch the rich and powerful benefit from untaxed aviation fuel whilst those on low incomes are struggling to pay their energy bills or fill up their cars; 57% of the cost to fill up a car is paid in fuel duty whilst aviation fuel is not taxed at all!
“The continued overuse of private jets just underpins the breakdown of the social contract in today’s society, where the ‘elite’ can continue to operate ‘business as usual’ without any regard for the environmental or social damage they are causing.”
The airport itself has been a bone of contention with local people having expanded considerably over the last decade. Over the 2010s flight numbers were increased from 28,000 to 50,000 movements a year despite complaints from Rushmoor Council – with each flight carrying an average of just 2.3 passengers. A £35 million hanger is also scheduled to open in 2024, doubling the available temperature-controlled hangar space.
Private jet use has hit record levels since the Covid pandemic, rising by 7% in the last two years with 3.3 million flights being recorded in 2021 even as mass commercial flights were grounded in an effort to contain the virus. An XR demand includes the elimination of such individual flights to help bring down CO2 emissions.
Pics: XR/Laura Baker