A group of climate activists in the United Kingdom have said they’re planning to fly drones over London Heathrow Airport on September 13th, which could cause all hundreds of flights to be grounded in Europe’s biggest airport by passenger numbers.
The planned action is expected to cause travel chaos, as British Airways pilots are also planning to strike in September. The group, “Heathrow Pause” want to put pressure on the British government to take tougher steps to reduce greenhouse gases.
The activist group will fly toy drones within the restricted zone, but outside of the flight paths of London Heathrow Airport, forcing the airport to ground all flights.
“This is a symbolic action, using a legal loophole and participants’ self-sacrifice to draw attention to the most serious and urgent crisis humanity has ever faced,” the group said.
“The government’s inaction on climate change, and the looming catastrophe of airport expansion, gives us no choice, and compels us to act,” the group continued.
Heathrow Airport said the plan of the activists is illegal and counterproductive:
“We agree with the need to act on climate change. This is a global issue that requires constructive engagement and action. Committing criminal offences and disrupting passengers is counterproductive,” a spokesman for Heathrow said.
“The act of flying drones within 5 km of an airfield is illegal because it carries risk. We will be working closely with the Met Police and other authorities to manage and mitigate any impacts this may cause.”
Heathrow Pause said: “All participants flying drones know they risk arrest and imprisonment, and are prepared to be arrested peacefully.”
Heathrow Airport had more than 80 million passengers in 2018 and is expected to grow even further, with a third runway approved last year.