The Safe Landing community joined hundreds of people in Farnborough last Saturday to protest against the expansion of the UK’s largest private jet airport. Safe Landing’s very own George Hibberd, Todd Smith and renowned climate activist Greta Thunberg led the march to the airport gates. Finlay and Siân from Safe Landing also joined the march, carrying a banner which read “AVIATION WORKERS FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE”.
Outside the airport gates, we heard speeches from a number of different campaigns including “End Airport Expansion”, a local Labour MP and Safe Landing’s Todd Smith (video below).
Todd Smith, co-founder of Safe Landing, said:
“The cost of heating our homes, buying food and paying our bills has increased massively.
“So imagine looking out our windows to see yet more private jets flying billionaires around.
“Is this a fair society that we live in, or is there one set of rules for the majority, and another for the elites? Plans to expand the UK’s largest private jet airport seem to make this clear.”
Finlay Asher, aerospace engineer and Safe Landing member, added:
“As aviation workers, we understand there’s a choice to be made about how we use our limited planetary resources. If we expand private jet flights, then this will consume a large slice of the pie, and leave nothing for anybody else.
However, there is a positive way forward for society and for our industry: provide genuinely sustainable clean transport for the masses instead, rather than continuing to expand super-polluting private jet airports which cater only to a tiny minority of ultra-wealthy individuals.”
Why were we there?
The Safe Landing community was there to highlight that expanding private jet aviation is not only madness when it comes to fulfilling our climate commitments as an industry, but is also extremely dangerous for long-term job sustainability.
Won’t private jet expansion increase the number of aviation jobs?
Flying by private jet is by far the least efficient way to travel by air with emissions per passenger 10 times higher than that of a commercial flight. Further, as much as 40% of flights out of Farnborough are empty with each flight carrying an average of just 2.5 passengers. Investing in the expansion of such pollutive and inefficient ways of flying is quickly burning our rapidly decreasing carbon budget as an industry ruining it for the rest of the industry and blowing our chances of creating an industry fit for the future and sustaining aviation jobs for decades to come.
Read our detailed blog post on private jets here: http://safe-landing.org/private-jets-climate-crisis.
Read more about our response to the Farnborough Airport expansion consultation here: http://safe-landing.org/farnborough-airport-expansion-consultation, including our alternative, positive vision of a more sustainable future for Farnborough.
So, what’s the alternative?
If we want to safeguard our industry and aviation jobs way into the future and avoid a huge industry crash and bubble-then-burst, like what we saw as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic but far worse and irreversible, then we need a rapid reduction in private jet usage and policies like carbon budgets, frequent flyer levies and aviation fuel taxes. We should also enact Workers’ Assemblies so that aviation workers can decide how our industry addresses the climate and nature crisis.
Inspired by our actions?
Are you an aviation worker that cares about our industry and its impact on the climate crisis?