Eighty Extinction Rebellion climate activists arrested at Eindhoven Airport

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About eighty climate activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) have been arrested at Eindhoven Airport by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. Around noon today, the group of activists climbed through a fence towards the area where private jets are parked.

The Marechaussee and police are now proceeding to arrest activists who have not left the aerodrome,” the Marechaussee said on Twitter. Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have been arrested for trespassing.

XR entered the field because the action group believes that Eindhoven Airport causes air pollution, noise nuisance and health damage. The climate activists demand that the airport, among other things, stop polluting, comply with climate rules and that fewer flights are flown from the airport.

Due to the blockade, several flights, both departing and landing, have been cancelled or delayed at the airport.

The climate action group says it is blocking the private jet site between Fast Forward Freight and Prust Holding. In total, about three to five hundred people took part in the demonstration.

Response from Eindhoven Airport CEO to XR demonstration at Eindhoven Airport

Response from Eindhoven Airport CEO to announced XR demonstration at Eindhoven Airport

The Extinction Rebellion climate movement demonstrates today Saturday 25 March at Eindhoven Airport. Needless to say, we are cooperating to the best of our abilities in helping facilitate this demonstration and serving our passengers, bearing in mind that safety is always paramount for us.

The climate movement is looking to call more attention to the impact of air traffic on the environment and the need for sustainability. Eindhoven Airport agrees with the urgency and necessity for increased sustainability.

Eindhoven Airport fulfils an important role in society in helping bring people together in terms of business contacts, visits to family and friends, as well as holidays. There is a high demand for these services every day. Flights to and from Eindhoven Airport have an average occupancy rate of over 85%. Eindhoven Airport is an important link to more than 80 predominantly European destinations, virtually all of which are located more than 700 kilometres from Eindhoven and are impossible or very inconvenient to reach by train.

Eindhoven Airport shares the Extinction Rebellion’s view that aviation, like other sectors, needs to (quickly) become more sustainable. We also feel that sense of urgency. It is partly for this reason that we are not pursuing growth for our air traffic, and instead are prioritising the sustainability of existing air traffic.

We have proposed to the Dutch government, together with regional parties, to use the three-fold increased ticket tax for passengers departing from Eindhoven Airport for the purchase of sustainable fuel. This would allow up to 50% of the fuel used at our airport to be blended with sustainable fuels (the maximum percentage currently allowed). Combined with anticipated fleet upgrades, this would lead to between 45 and 50 percent lower CO2 emissions from our air traffic in 2030 compared to 2019. Unfortunately, our request has not yet been granted. We have therefore once again reiterated this explicit request to the government. When the government announces its plans on Budget Day, it will become clear whether it intends to fulfil the promise in the coalition agreement that the proceeds of the increased ticket tax will be used to make the aviation sector more sustainable.

Eindhoven Airport is also encouraging airlines to update their fleets. Starting on 1 April, companies will pay a more favourable rate if they use the latest cleaner and quieter aircraft at Eindhoven Airport.

Only a very small fraction of the flights from Eindhoven Airport (about 2.5%) are made available for small aircraft (so-called general and business aviation). We have also set the cap on this number ourselves. In this segment, in particular, we see opportunities to make aircraft electric and therefore more sustainable. This development is well underway. Together with other stakeholders, we are doing everything possible to drive this forward.

Together with our partners, we are also working on improving air quality and reducing CO2 emissions through the electrification of the equipment on the apron. Roughly 65% of the equipment has already been converted from diesel-powered to electric. By 2030 at the latest, all of the equipment will be electric-powered. This will contribute to our goal of achieving zero emissions in our own operations as an airport by 2030.

The report published in 2020 by the Advisory Committee on nitrogen chaired by Mr Remkes shows that aviation is responsible for 0.7 to 1.1 percent of nitrogen deposition in the Netherlands. Eindhoven Airport submitted an application on 1 October 2020 at the request of the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) to obtain a Dutch Nature Conservation Act licence, also known as a nature licence. On 15 February 2021, the minister of the LNV published a draft permit. Based on the issue of this draft permit, we assume that we will also obtain a definitive nature permit. It also appears that this assumption is correct, as demonstrated by the decision published this week from the Minister of Nature and Nitrogen rejecting an enforcement request against Eindhoven Airport.

Roel Hellemons,
CEO Eindhoven Airport

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