Frankfurt, Heathrow, Schiphol: Climate activists plan days of actions at European airports

Climate activists protest outside Schiphol Airport in December 2020.
Climate activists protest outside Schiphol Airport in December 2020. Copyright AP Photo/Peter Dejong
Copyright AP Photo/Peter Dejong
By Euronews Green
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Campaigners are making a noise ahead of a meeting with France’s transport minister about flight caps on Friday.


Activists are kicking off two days of action at Europe’s biggest airports today, demanding a limit to the number of climate-wrecking flights.

A coalition of 25 organisations - including local residents associations and climate groups - are targeting airports across France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK.

They are calling for flights to be capped below 2019 levels, in line with the historic decision taken at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

“We, the victims of airport nuisance and present and future victims of global warming, call on our governments and on Europe to follow the necessary path opened up by the Netherlands by finally taking concrete measures,” a statement shared with Euronews Green says.

These measures involve “limiting and reducing the number of flights while ensuring that noise, air pollution and CO2 emissions are also brought down - and generalising curfews at airports, aerodromes and heliports.”

Where are the airport protests taking place?

Actions are planned at Europe’s five largest airports: Paris Charles de Gaulle, London Heathrow, Madrid Barajas, Frankfurt Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

France will see the bulk of protests today (13 March). According to a statement from campaign group Stay Grounded, 20 mobilisations are planned across the country in order to put pressure on the Minister of Transport.

The groups are due to meet with the minister on Friday 15 March. Stay Grounded says this meeting will be followed by a “humorous musical event” and speeches at 12.30pm.

Airport protests are also due to take place in other European countries on Friday.

Why are activists targeting Europe’s biggest airports?

According to the Transport and Environment campaign group, Europe’s five biggest airports emit more CO2 than the entire Swedish economy.

Predictions from the aviation industry itself show air traffic on course to double by 2040, Stay Grounded notes.

"Aviation is the fastest way to fry the planet," says Magdalena Heuwieser, spokesperson from the campaign network.

"Taking one flight generates more emissions than many people around the world emit in an entire year. We need to urgently cap flights at airport level.

“The attempts at Schiphol airport to reduce the amount of flights and ban private jets and night flights need to be applied in Paris and other airports.”

In 2022, the Dutch government announced a world-first plan to reduce the number of Schiphol flights from 500,000 to 460,000, largely to limit noise pollution.

But it shelved the plan in November 2023 following protests from other countries and aviation companies. A Supreme Court ruling on the issue is expected in the next couple of months.

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