British environmental anti-aviation pressure group Plane Stupid invaded the ACI Europe General Assembly in Manchester, UK on Tuesday 16-Jun. Four members of the group released personal attack alarms attached to helium balloons and shouted anti-aviation slogans including "your time is up" before leaving the building to unfold a large banner outside that accused delegates of being "criminals".
Plane Stupid has employed similar tactics before, at the Future of Air Transport conference in London in 2006, but on this occasion it rebounded on them in a display of perfect irony. The invasion came as the second session was closing and just when the first ten airport operator groups to sign up to ACI Europe's Airport Carbon Accreditation Scheme (ACAS) joined together on stage for a formal signing ceremony. The ACAS,according to ACI Europe, is "a demonstration of European airports' committment to addressing their environmental impact, by reducing carbon emissions for airport operations, with the ultimate goal of being carbon neutral".
Furthermore, it appears many delegates failed to grasp the nature of the demonstration and concluded that it was actually a staged celebration of the ACAS signing ceremony.
The same group reappeared to picket the Gala Dinner at the City Hall, without further incident.
Plane Stupid typically resorts to more extreme measures in pursuit of its goals, including the invasion of airports and occupation of the runway(s); London Stansted airport, where there were 57 arrests, and Aberdeen airport being recent examples. It has vowed to prevent the third runway at London Heathrow airport from being built.
The ten initial signatories to the ACAS are:
Aeroports de Paris; Schiphol Group Amsterdam; Athens Airport; Avinor, Norway; Dublin Airport Authority; Dubrovnik Airport; Fraport; LFV, Sweden; Manchester Airports Group; SEA, Milan; TAV Airports
From David Bentley at the ACI Europe General Assembly