Extinction Rebellion campaigners target private jets at Luton in Valentine's Day protest

Extinction Rebellion activist Todd Smith, a former airline pilot.
Credit: ITV News Anglia
Todd Smith, a former airline pilot, was part of the protest at Luton Airport. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Climate campaigners blocked the private jet entrance at a major airport in a Valentine's Day protest.

Extinction Rebellion parked a boat in front of the gates to the private jet terminal at Luton Airport with protesters locked on to the deck and hull.

Another group of protesters barricaded the entrance to the Harrods Aviation Terminal at Luton, with activists locked on to two oil barrels.

More activists are gathered at both terminals dressed in hi-vis jackets, holding flags and banners in the style of airport signs, and wearing pink vests reading “LOVE IN ACTION”.

The protesters are targeting what they call "supposedly romantic Valentine's Day dates", claiming 1% of the global population produces more than half of total aviation emissions.

The protestors have parked a boat across the private jet entrance at Luton Credit: Extinction Rebellion

Todd Smith, a former airline pilot turned activist, said: “Valentine’s Day should not have to cost the Earth, or the taxpayer.

“The people want a ban on private jets, as Climate Assembly UK demonstrated in 2020. 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.”

Protesters outside the private jet entrance to Luton Airport. Credit: Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion said the government should take urgent action to ban private jets and tax frequent flyers.

The protest is part of a global co-ordinated action launched last week by climate activists across 11 countries, which is targeting multiple sites in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the US.

Nigel Harvey, 60, a recycling company chief executive and XR activist from St Albans, added: “Extinction Rebellion and other climate activist groups are often criticised for disrupting the lives of ‘normal working people’ – well it should be clear that owning a private jet isn’t normal.

"This is a targeted action – we’re disrupting only the top 1%: the highest-income, highest emitters who are most responsible for pollution and have the most power to affect changes.”

Luton Airport said the protest was not causing any operational impact.

A spokesman said: “We would like to reassure passengers that a peaceful protest taking place away from the main terminal, is not causing any disruption. Flights and access to the airport remain unaffected.”

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