Green protesters swarm private flights at Amsterdam Schiphol

Milos Ruzicka /

Private jet traffic at Amsterdam’s Schiphol was disrupted by hundreds of activists who swarmed the apron in an act of protest against pollution on October 5, 2022.  

Over 300 protestors were involved, of which more than a hundred were arrested. Organizers of the protest, Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion, said the disruptive action was to highlight the aviation industry’s contribution to CO2 emissions as well as local noise pollution. 

The protestors even went to such extremes as sitting in front the landing gear of jets to prevent them from departing, according to CNBC.  As a result, several flights did not leave Schiphol.  

“We’ve been campaigning to stop Schiphol’s large-scale pollution for years, and with good reason. The airport should be reducing its flight movements, but instead it’s building a brand-new terminal. The wealthy elite are using more private jets than ever, which is the most polluting way to fly,” commented Dewi Zloch of Greenpeace Netherlands in a statement.  

Greenpeace also added that Amsterdam’s Schiphol is the largest CO2 emitter in the Netherlands, with emission reports of up to 12 billion kilograms annually. Reacting to these protests, the airport said it was committed to becoming emissions free by 2030. 

“It is right that interest groups insist on a cleaner Netherlands and hold the CEO accountable,” CEO of Amsterdam Schiphol Ruud Sondag. “As an aviation sector, we must do everything we can to become quieter and cleaner.” 

The Dutch government announced in June 2022 a 440,000-person cap on annual passengers at the airport, specifying climate concerns as well as air pollution. The authorities are also considering whether it should incorporate private jet traffic in its climate policy. 

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