Climate Protests Disrupt German Airports

last generation activists protest

Caption: Climate Activists Ground Airports, Sparking Delays and Controversy Image: Shutterstock/ Andreas Stroh

‘Last Generation’ Activists Cause Delays at Hamburg and Dusseldorf Airports

Climate activists from the group ‘Last Generation’ disrupted air travel at Hamburg and Dusseldorf airports on July 13, causing delays and cancellations. The activists gained access to the tarmac and glued themselves down, effectively paralyzing flight operations for several hours.

At Hamburg Airport, the disruption occurred on the first day of the summer holidays. Around 6.10 am, air traffic was suspended, and 17 arrivals and 19 departures were cancelled. The airport authorities managed to resume operations, but delays and additional flight cancellations are expected throughout the day. The check-in desks and security checks have reopened, but many passengers are still waiting anxiously, uncertain if their flights will proceed as scheduled.

In Dusseldorf, members of the ‘Last Generation’ also managed to access the airport’s ramp and runway area by cutting through a fence. This action led to severe restrictions on flight operations. Although the airport has resumed operations, there are significant delays, with one hour of operating time still missing. A few flights were cancelled or diverted to Cologne.

The protest actions by ‘Last Generation’ received strong criticism from government officials. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing condemned the activists’ interventions, describing them as crimes rather than climate protection efforts. Justice Minister Marco Buschmann echoed this sentiment, stating that the protesters risked criminal consequences and potential claims for damages worth millions.

The activists expressed their dissatisfaction with the government’s approach to the climate crisis. They criticised the continuous increase in air passenger numbers and emissions in the aviation sector. The ‘Last Generation’ called for a concrete plan to achieve emission reduction targets and urged the establishment of a social council to address the phasing out of fossil fuels by 2030.

The protests have raised concerns at Frankfurt Airport, prompting heightened vigilance among security personnel. Although no incidents have been reported, authorities remain alert to potential disruptions. Frankfurt Airport previously conducted drills to prepare for such situations, as the upcoming start of holidays in certain regions is considered a sensitive period.

The actions taken by the activist group reflect growing concerns about the environmental impact of air travel and the need for urgent climate action. However, the disruptions caused inconvenience to many travellers, leading to criticism of the activists for impeding the enjoyment of well-deserved vacations. The authorities emphasise the importance of adhering to the rule of law while pursuing climate goals.

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!