Greta Thunberg joins hundreds marching in England to protest airport's expansion for private planes


LONDON (AP) — Climate activist Greta Thunberg joined a march in southern England on Saturday to protest the use of private jets and the expansion of an airport.

Hundreds of local residents and activists holding banners and placards that read “Ban Private Jets” marched to Farnborough Airport, which mostly serves private aircraft. Some beat drums while others lit pink smoke flares.

The airport, located in Hampshire County about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of London, applied last year to increase its maximum number of flights from 50,000 to 70,000 a year.

Groups working to fight climate change, including the organizer of Saturday’s protest, Extinction Rebellion, say private jets are much more polluting than commercial passenger airliners. Flights to and from Farnborough Airport carried an average of 2½ passengers per flight in 2022, the group said.

“It is clear that private jets are incompatible with ensuring present and future living conditions on this planet,” Thunberg said in a video that Extinction Rebellion posted on social media.

“We’re not going to let this continue. We’re not going to let the rich few who are responsible for the majority of aviation emissions get away with sacrificing people and the planet,” she added.

Farnborough Airport said that it was an important hub for business and corporate travel, and that it recognized the importance of reducing its environmental impact.

“The airport’s environmental footprint is a fraction that of a traditional commercial airport, yet it serves as one of the largest employment sites in the region,” it said in a statement.

Thunberg, 21, a Swedish environmental campaigner who inspired a global youth movement against climate change, is expected to appear at a court in London next week to face a public order offense charge. She was arrested in October during a demonstration against a major oil and gas industry conference.

Thunberg was among the activists who were charged for seeking to block access to the Energy Intelligence Forum. She denied the charge.

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Follow AP’s coverage of climate change at https://apnews.com/climate-and-environment.



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