Britain warns airport protesters

Government says that any disruption to Heathrow's services would be "unacceptable".

    The protesters are campaigning to raise awareness of aviation's contribution to climate change [AFP]
    Green awareness
     
    Alex Harvey, a Canadian protester, said the demonstration aimed to raise awareness of the aviation industry's contribution to the emission of greenhouse gases, a major contributor to climate change.
     

    "Any interruption to the flow of passengers and traffic going in and out will have an impact on the airport"

    Shaun Cowlam, British Airports Authority, Heathrow's operator

    She said: "We need to think: is a habitable future necessary? 150,000 people around the world are already dying from climate change – that's the thing we need to be balancing out against easy access in and out of London.
     
    "The floods that we saw last month are just a taste of things to come."
     
    The protesters said their action was peaceful and they will not attempt to trespass on to Heathrow's runways.
     
    Shaun Cowlam, of the British Airports Authority (BAA), Heathrow's operator, told Al Jazeera that the protest had the potential to disrupt the airport's services.
     
    "Heathrow airport is a very complex and busy operation and any interruption to the flow of passengers and traffic going in and out will have an impact on the airport," he said.
     
    Heathrow has four terminals, with another due to open next year.
     
    The British government has also suggested adding a third runway to the complex.
     
    Expansion plans
     
    Airlines across the world carried 4.4 billion passengers last year on more than 72 million flights.
     
    The Airports Council International predict a growth of four per cent on that number in the next 20 years.
     

    "The floods that we saw last month are just a taste of things to come"

    Alex Harvey, Canadian protester

    Sixty-eight million passengers fly from Heathrow each year.
     
    Chris Goater, of the UK airport operators association, said total greenhouse gas emissions from passenger aircraft are only a small percentage of the overall total of such gases.
     
    "If you look at the current contribution of aviation to climate change, it's around 1.6 per cent. [It is] a very low percentage," he said.
     
    "[It is] a growing percentage but even by about 2050, it will be less than five per cent."
     
    Campaigners against the expansion of the airline industry say greenhouse gases from aircraft are more problematic to the Earth's atmosphere because of the stratospheric height at which they are expelled.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.