Nine members of campaign group Plane Stupid cut through perimeter fence
- guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 3 March 2009 11.01 GMT
Nine demonstrators from the Plane Stupid campaign group cut through Aberdeen airport's perimeter fence at around 2.15am in protest at BAA's plans to expand the airport.
Seven protesters who had put up a "wire fortress" on a taxiway for North Sea helicopters handed themselves over to Grampian police at about 8.20am. Two others on the terminal roof surrendered to police at about 9.30am.
Plane Stupid said the protesters were dressed as golfers in imitation of the New York property tycoon, who is building a major £1bn golfing resort north of Aberdeen and supports the airport's growth.
Wearing wigs and golfing visors, the demonstrators staged a mock game of golf with plastic clubs and balls.
The protesters on the roof unveiled a banner stating: "Nae Trump Games with Climate Change".
The protest was timed to prevent commercial flights from beginning at 5am and led to delays of at least three hours to all early morning services, including flights to Heathrow, Paris and Amsterdam.
Four incoming flights – from Paris Charles de Gaulle, Bristol, East Midlands and Humberside – were cancelled before scheduled flights resumed shortly after 9am.
Incoming flights from Wick, Durham Tees Valley and Newcastle were also delayed, while a flight to Sumburgh, in Shetland, was cancelled.
The protest also disrupted routine North Sea oil industry helicopter flights from what is one of Europe's busiest heliports.
Some services were able to resume at 8am after BAA shifted takeoffs to another area of the airport, but the disruption has continued.
"It has been a bit stop-start," a spokeswoman for Bristows, one of the main North Sea operators, said.
Plane Stupid said the protests, the first to disrupt commercial flights at a Scottish airport, were designed to highlight the escalating impact of aviation on the climate and protest against the UK-wide expansion of airports.
Aberdeen has been given permission to increase passenger numbers by 1.5m by 2015, the group said.
The airport is a major business hub, particularly for the oil and tourism industries, but it also provides lifeline services to Orkney and Shetland and some emergency air services.
The group quoted one of its members on the roof, Jonny Agnew, a 22-year-old from Edinburgh, as saying: "We have been failed by the generation of Donald Trump and Alex Salmond.
"Despite a catalogue of scientific reports warning them that they can't keep on with aviation growth, they continue with disregard for all of us who will end up dealing with the impacts of the climate crisis.
"The reality is that our generation's future is vanishing so that people like Donald Trump and his super-rich friends can jet into Aberdeen for a round of golf."
A BAA spokesman condemned the protest as "dangerous and highly irresponsible", adding: "Aberdeen is one of Europe's busiest commercial heliports and a major transport centre for the north of Scotland, used by tens of thousands of people every day.
"There is no justification for this irresponsible action, which is deliberately calculated to delay and inconvenience the travelling public.
"Passengers are being advised that the airport is not closed, and are asked to contact their airlines directly for more information about flight schedules."
A Grampian police spokesman said the protesters on the taxiway voluntarily gave themselves up after talks with police.
Last December, Plane Stupid activists disrupted Stansted airport, in Essex, occupying part of the runway and forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights. Police made 38 arrests.