EBAA AIROPS Conference Interrupted by Protest

 - February 14, 2023, 4:56 PM
EBAA's AIROPS23 conference held this week in Brussels was interrupted by a group of environmental protestors who disrupted operations at Brussels Airport and managed to gain entry into the conference venue itself. (Screenshot: Environmental Extinction)

Approximately 40 protesters from environmental activism groups such as Extinction Rebellion interrupted the start of the European Business Aviation Association’s AIROPS23 Conference in Brussels on Monday.

The protesters, who included climate scientists expressing oppositon to the carbon emissions produced by aircraft, blocked the entrance to the ExecuJet FBO terminal at Brussels Airport. Some of them unfurled banners while others chained themselves to fences and gates. Several demonstrators even entered the AIROPS23 event itself through an emergency door and barged on stage, interrupting an educational session until they were peacefully escorted out by EBAA and venue staff.

The protesters were extolling a global “Make them Pay” movement, which calls for substantial taxes on air transport and a ban on private flights. Similar protests took place on Tuesday at London Luton Airport, Italy’s Milan Malpensa Airport, Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, and Bromma Airport in Stockholm.

EBAA responded that the business aviation industry is constantly looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint and operate in a more environmentally friendly way, pointing to significant advancements in biofuels, electric/hybrid-electric aircraft, and other technologies that are helping the sector minimize its impact.

“Business aviation has a vital role to play in supporting the growth and competitiveness of companies across Europe, and we are determined to do so in a way that is safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible,” stated EBAA secretary-general Athar Husain Khan.