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German climate protesters asked to pay €120,000 in damages to Eurowings after airport blockades

Eurowings has threatened to sue climate activists for disruption caused by airport protests.
Eurowings has threatened to sue climate activists for disruption caused by airport protests. Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Angela Symons
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Last Generation activists face thousands in damages after glueing themselves to German runways.

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Budget airline Eurowings wants climate protesters to pay €120,000 in compensation for disruption caused at German airports.

The Lufthansa subsidiary is reportedly seeking damages from German activist group Letzte Generation (Last Generation) following blockades at Berlin, Dusseldorf and Hamburg airports between November 2022 and July 2023.

Activists blocked runways in an attempt to draw attention to the environmentally damaging impact of flying.

How did Last Generation protesters disrupt airports?

In November 2022, members of Last Generation paralysed air traffic at Berlin Brandenburg Airport for almost two hours as they blockaded runways.

The following month, activists glued their hands to the tarmac in Berlin and Munich, resulting in minor delays and a temporary ban on climate gatherings in the Bavarian capital.

The environmental group called on the government to stop subsidising air travel and expand cheap train travel offers instead.

According to the European Environment Agency, rail travel accounts for 14 grams of CO2 emissions per passenger mile. Air travel generates 285 grams over the same distance.

This was not the first or the last time the group disrupted German airports. In February 2022, activists blocked roads leading to Germany's three biggest airports - Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin.

And in July 2023, planes were delayed and diverted at Hamburg and Düsseldorf after protesters blocked access to the runways during the busy school holiday period.

Why is Eurowings seeking damages from Last Generation?

Six Last Generation activists reportedly received an email from a Eurowings lawyer at the start of October requesting €120,000 in damages for the disruption caused by the protests.

They threatened to sue if the payment is not made by mid-October, according to German newspaper Bild.

During the Berlin airport protest in November, 10 Lufthansa Group flights were cancelled and more than 20 were delayed.

“Eurowings will claim material damages for the airlines of the Lufthansa Group that were caused by the actions of activists at the airports in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Hamburg,” a Lufthansa Group spokesperson said in a statement shared with Euronews Green.

“This has already happened for the campaign in Berlin. We cannot comment on ongoing proceedings beyond this,” they added.

More than 80 Lufthansa Group flights were disrupted by the Last Generation protests at Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports in July.

Immediately following the campaign, Düsseldorf Airport filed a criminal complaint against Last Generation for “dangerous interference with air traffic, disruption of public operations, damage to property, coercion and trespassing.”

Earlier in the year, the activist group was targeted by police raids across the country.

However, some local mayors have struck deals with activists promising environmental reforms in exchange for a halt to disruptive action.

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