Activists ground private jets at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport


Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace Netherlands hold peaceful protest against Schiphol Airport pollution

Amsterdam, 5 November 2022 – More than 500 Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace activists have stopped private jets from taking off at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport since 12:40 this afternoon. Activists are cycling around the area where the private jets are parked and are blocking the aircraft. The protesters are people concerned about the climate crisis and local residents whose lives are affected by the noise from Schiphol Airport.

“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. This is typical of the aviation industry, which doesn’t seem to see that it is putting people at risk by aggravating the climate crisis. This has to stop. We want fewer flights, more trains and a ban on unnecessary short-haul flights and private jets,” says Dewi Zloch of Greenpeace Netherlands.

Schiphol is the second biggest airport in the EU. Private jets fly to and from Schiphol from a private runway and have their own General Aviation Terminal at Schiphol Oost, on the east side of the airport. This morning activists gathered in the forest nearby, carrying flags and banners with slogans such as ‘SOS for the climate’ and ‘Fly no more’. At the same time another group reached the airport from the opposite direction, with bicycles. The protesters plan to keep air traffic from the private jet terminal grounded for as long as possible.

Tessel Hofstede from Extinction Rebellion says: “The exemptions that apply to Schiphol and for private flights show exactly where the problem lies in tackling the climate crisis. Schiphol Airport is one of the biggest polluters in the Netherlands, yet almost half of the Dutch population never sets foot in an airplane. The wealthy ‘jet set’ is responsible for most of the flights and the highest carbon emissions, and nothing is being done to stop them. They are allowed to just carry on producing huge amounts of CO2, while people who are less well off suffer the burden of the climate crisis. This is unfair and unacceptable. It is high time aviation starts complying with the Paris climate agreement.”

The issue of private jets garnered public attention recently after several celebrities, including the players of a top French football team, faced criticism for taking ultra-short trips by private jet. Private jets cause ten times the greenhouse gas emissions of a regular flight per passenger and even 50 times more than an average train ride in Europe. Travel by private jet has increased in Europe recently, although GHG emissions from aviation should be dropping rapidly in order to achieve the 1.5°C climate target. In 2018, 50% of all aviation emissions were caused by only 1% of the world’s population.

“According to the UN we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rapidly. What Schiphol is doing is totally inconsistent with that. There is no way around it, the number of flights has to go down. If the government and Schiphol won’t take responsibility, we have to take action ourselves to stop this pollution,” explain Zloch and Hofstede.

This protest at Schiphol Airport precedes the international climate summit (COP27), which is taking place in Egypt over the next two weeks. World leaders will be discussing how to tackle the climate crisis, yet aviation pollution is not even on the summit agenda. Greenpeace Netherlands and Extinction Rebellion are determined to change this.

For more information:

Isabel Willemsen – Greenpeace press officer (on location)
+31(0)6 2129 6895 ||

Press desk Extinction Rebellion
+31 (0)6 4817 0971 ||

Press desk Greenpeace Nederland
+31 (0)6 2129 6895 ||

Photos will follow shortly

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