Extinction Rebellion activists blockaded entrances to Luton Airport’s private jet terminal on Valentine’s Day as part of a coordinated international protest against private planes. The protestors towed a sailing boat across the entrance to Harrods Aviation and Signature, demanding a ban to private jets and a tax on frequent flyers.
Among the protestors was former pilot Todd Smith, who left the job after coming to understand the excessive emissions of the industry. “The people want a ban on private jets, as Climate Assembly UK demonstrated in 2020,” he said. “But nothing has been done. I can only assume the government has ignored the will of the people to protect the interests of their rich mates. We are here today to make them listen.”
Private planes are a particular focus for Extinction Rebellion because they are untaxed and effectively subsidised, even though they are only used by the very rich. A flight on a private plane is ten times worse than a flight on a commercial passenger jet, and fifty times worse than the same journey done by train.
Luton Airport was the UK’s busiest airport for private jets before the pandemic. A request to the press office was unable to confirm if that it still the case.
Extinction Rebellion will be returning to London on April 23rd and 24th, with Luton’s XR group taking part in will be an inclusive (and non-arrestable!) protest event.