A new development in connection with the expected expansion of London’s mega airport was announced today. A group of climate activists threatening to ‘kill’ London Heathrow Airport with drones. It would be a group of activists affiliated with Extinction Rebellion. Extinction Rebellion is a socio-political movement well-known for her protest against climate breakdown, biodiversity etc. in a non-violent way.
As expected, the group is against the planned expansions such as the third runway and the extra air traffic that this will bring with it. The organization has already announced that it will be planning a first day of action on 18 June. If the government does not comply with the requirements of Extinction Rebellion, the organization threatens to prevent aircraft from taking off or landing at Heathrow for ten days from 1 July. It seems very unlikely to me that the police will not intervene immediately and thus prevent the action.
Extinction Rebellion also says that this action will only cause inconvenience to travellers and is nothing compared to what a large emission the expansion will bring with it.
The united kingdom, especially London, has been startled by drones before. Between 19 and 21 December last year, London Gatwick Airport was already startled by a drone. Approximately 1,000 flights were affected by the incident, including cancellations or diversions to other airports. In addition, 140,000 passengers were affected. Sussex Police arrested a drone enthusiast and his wife but were released without consequences. The investigation continues and on 19 April the police said the disruption could have been an inside job.
Gatwick is the second-biggest airport of London. Heathrow, on the other hand, is the biggest airport with more than 80 million passenger per year and 1,200 movements per day. It would be a disaster if drones were flown for a few hours in the vicinity of the airport, especially during the holiday period. Aviation minister Charlotte Vere already reacted to be very strict in breaking the law, especially as lives are being put in danger.