Protesters chained to private jets at EBACE force Geneva Airport to close

Protest at EBACE

Protesters who scaled ladders to gain entry to Europe’s biggest private jet fair caused Geneva Airport to temporarily close.  

The protesters from a variety of different environmental campaigning groups used chains and handcuffs to attach themselves to private jets that were on display at the annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE). 

Staff from the three-day event were pictured trying to wrestle protesters away from the exhibition area on March 23, 2023.  

According to protest organizers, around a hundred activists from Greenpeace, Stay Grounded, Extinction Rebellion, Scientist Rebellion and other climate justice groups disrupted the fair. 

In a post on social media Geneva Airport, which was operating as usual, wrote: “Due to an incursion of people on the tarmac, air traffic is temporarily interrupted at Genève Aéroport.”  

The airport later confirmed that normal service had returned just after 12.40pm, local time.  

The protestors stuck giant tobacco-style health warning labels on the jets marking them as “toxic objects” and warning that “private jets burn our future”. 

“Whilst many can’t afford food or rent any more, the super-rich wreck our planet, unless we put an end to it. Apart from banning private jets, it’s also time to end air miles schemes which reward frequent flying, and instead tax frequent flyers. We need fair climate solutions,” Mira Kapfinger, campaigner from Stay Grounded, a network uniting more than 200 member organizations, said. 

According to studies cited by campaigning groups, private flights produce about 10 times the CO2 of a commercial flight per passenger kilometer. 

In March 2023, Greenpeace commissioned a report looking at the effect of private jets on pollution. 

The ‘CO2 emissions of private aviation in Europe’ report by Dutch environmental consultancy CE Delft claimed that private jets emitted around 3,385,538 tons of CO2 emissions during 2022, more than double that of 2021. 

The research also asserts that the total number of private jet flights in Europe reached 572,806, over 1.5 times the number of flights in 2021. 

Following publication of the report, the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) hit back at the findings. 

The EBBA accused Greenpeace of “spreading misleading data about business aviation” and not taking information into account from before the pandemic, creating a “distorted picture”. 

The EBBA claims that European business aviation grew by 7% from 2019 to January 2023, rather than 64% as the report suggests. 

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