Aberdeen activists charged in airport protest
3.3.2009 (Aberdeen Evening Express)
Passengers hit by delays in Aberdeen
Nine people were today charged in connection with a protest that caused chaos
at Aberdeen Airport.
Passengers were left stranded on planes and in Aberdeen terminal buildings as
services ground to a halt.
The chaos came after protesters allegedly broke in through the airport’s security
fence at 3.30am and set up camp on the tarmac in protest over the Donald Trump
golf development and the planned expansion of Aberdeen Airport.
Two members of the protest group, Plane Stupid, were also alleged to have climbed
on to the terminal building’s roof. At least 20 flights – including an air ambulance
– leaving the airport faced huge delays, with 10 flights cancelled.
It was understood many passengers at the airport missed connecting flights.
Today police confirmed five men and four women were charged in connection with
alleged incidents at the airport and were due to appear from custody at Aberdeen
Sheriff Court tomorrow.
Chief Inspector Gerry Cronin said a team of trained negotiators were involved
in the operation.
He added: "We are working with BAA to minimise the impact the alleged incident
"An investigation is under way and a report is being submitted to the Procurator
Aberdeen Airport’s managing director Kevin Brown said a number of flights were
cancelled and a medical flight was also delayed.
Mr Brown said: "The airport was delayed in opening today by two-and-a-half hours
due to alleged protest activities.
"Of the 350 flight movements scheduled, 10 were cancelled.
"We would like to thank passengers for their patience and understanding.
"The airport has now returned to normal."
It was understood the protesters were mainly from the Central Belt.
A spokesman for Plane Stupid said the protest was against climate change and
the "undemocratic" decisions over airport expansion.
He said: "Our whole lives we have been told that climate change will define our
generation but nothing ever seems to be done. We have filed petitions and lobbied
our MPs yet all they seem to do is talk – we need action.
"The protest was also against the undemocratic decisions taken to allow the airport
expansion and the Donald Trump golf course."
But Aberdeen City Council’s depute leader Kevin Steward hit back, saying the
processes were "wholly democratic".
He said: "It’s not democratic what they are doing and it could have been downright
"If they were really worried about climate change they would realise that the
airport expansion could actually help reduce carbon emissions because long haul
flights cause less pollution." [sic].
And councillor Ron Clark revealed the protest group were canvassing for support
in Dyce last week.
He said: "I knew they were talking about holding a protest but I never realised
quite what they were intending to do. They held a meeting at the Carnegie Hall
in Dyce last week and were going round knocking people’s doors and canvassing
and there are dozens of comments on the protest ……….