Some 100,000 Affected by Climate Protest That Closes Munich Airport

Some 100,000 Affected by Climate Protest That Closes Munich Airport

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Members of the German climate activist group Last Generation breached Munich Airport's tarmac and glued themselves to a taxiway, disrupting travel for more than 100,000 passengers by forcing the airport to temporarily close on a busy holiday weekend.

The airport in southern Germany, the nation's second largest, shut down completely at 5:19 am (0319 GMT) and remained so for nearly two hours, Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said (CSU).

The airport association said more than 100,000 passengers were affected. Several aircraft had to be diverted to other airports. An aircraft with an emergency patient on board was only able to land 20 minutes late as a result, authorities said.

Officials said that 60 flights at the airport were cancelled on Saturday following the protest action that shut down the airport for nearly two hours.

The terminals in Munich had been very full, as it was a holiday weekend, airport spokesman Robert Wilhelm told dpa.

The new protest action triggered a wave of criticism from politicians.

"This was yet another absolutely brainless action by climate chaotic people. Interfering with air traffic with such blockades - and at the start of the travelling season - is not only reckless, but also potentially endangers the lives of many people," said Hermann, from the conservative Bavarian CSU party.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, writing on X, said, "Such criminal actions jeopardize air traffic and harm climate protection because they only provoke incomprehension and anger." She called for the perpetrators to be "prosecuted and the protective measures at the airport must be reviewed."

Transport Minister Volker Wissing said: "This is not a legitimate protest, but a targeted intervention in air traffic." He said people are at risk if air traffic isn't safe and it also risks economic damage. He called for the Aviation Security Act "to be tightened."

Airport Association (ADV) Managing Director Ralph Beisel called for tougher criminal penalties.

The airport was initially closed for security reasons, airport officials and the federal police said.

After about two hours, one of the two runways was reopened, followed by the second runway around an hour later.

Around 1,000 take-offs and landings were planned in Munich on Saturday, an airport spokesman said. Due to the tight timing of flights, delays continue even when runways are reopened. Passengers flying out of the airport on Saturday should check with their airline he recommended.

The Last Generation reported on X that six people sat down in groups of two at different locations at the Munich Airport.

Numerous police officers and firefighters were on site to remove the activists. According to Herrman, the six activists, as well as two others who had not made it onto the tarmac, were detained. They are being investigated and could face prison sentences.

The climate activists cut the security fence in four places at the same time and eight tried to enter the site simultaneously from the four different points, a spokesman for the federal police said.

Munich Airport had expected a large number of holidaymakers, with a total of around 350,000 passengers expected from Friday to Sunday. The airport were to handle 2,860 flights during this period.

Overall, 7% more flights were registered during the Whitsun holidays, the second major travel wave of the year after Easter, than in the previous year, the airport reported before the start of the holiday.

Many countries, including Germany, have a holiday on the day after Pentecost Sunday, or Whitsun, which marks 50 days after Easter.

Last Generation said it specifically wanted to disrupt the start of the holiday weekend.

The group wants politicians to take more decisive action in the face of climate change. It announced at the end of January that it would refrain from road blockades and focus on "places of fossil destruction" - airports were explicitly mentioned. It has conducted similiar actions at German airports in the past.

Air traffic accounts for almost 10% of Germany's responsibility for global warming. The airline industry is subsidized by the state by waiving paraffin tax and VAT, the activists criticized.

Most Visited in Other Media
Top Other Media stories
Top Stories