Climate change activists are planning to disrupt Europe’s biggest airport on Friday 13th September. Heathrow Pause, part of the Extinction Rebellion movement, have announced they will be flying drones in London Heathrow’s exclusion zone.
Extinction Rebellion, who were responsible for causing chaos across London in April 2019, backed out of plans to ‘shut down’ Heathrow earlier this summer. Scotland Yard warned they could face life sentences for endangering the safety of aircraft. However, a group of activists have branched off and become Heathrow Pause.
They will begin flying drones at 3am tomorrow morning, however flights will not be departing or arriving between 11:05pm and 4:50am according to the Independent.
Heathrow will be notified throughout the day when the drones are being operated.
Despite the fact no planes will depart or arrive if a drone is within the inclusion zone due to the severe safety risk, Heathrow Phase have said they are not responsible for disrupting passengers as it is Heathrow’s decision to ground or divert flights. They have even pushed blamed onto passengers by saying they have had at least six weeks to re-arrange their travel plans.
Heathrow Pause are angered at the prospect of another runway. Heathrow already emits 18 million tons of CO2 each year and another runway will significantly increase this figure.
Endangering aircraft is not something that is taken lightly. Those caught flying an unauthorised drone within an airport’s restriction zone will face an unlimited fine and/or up to five years in prison.
The Metropolitan Police Force have a plan in place to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum. The Met will be working closely with Heathrow and planes will be carrying additional fuel in case of diversion.
At this moment in time, the level of disruption is unknown. If flights are delayed or cancelled, passengers will need to speak to their airline. It is the airline’s responsibility to find its passengers an alternative flight, they may also need to provide refreshments and accommodation if necessary.
Compensation, however, will not be paid to passengers. Drone activity is outside of the airlines control and is therefore classed as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’. Passengers are advised to check their airline’s website for any updates.