Climate activists briefly disrupt air traffic in Geneva airport

Protesters on the tarmac at Geneva airport briefly disrupted air traffic Monday before operations were gradually resumed, the airport said, as dozens of climate activists blocked a nearby business jet convention.

Climate activists briefly disrupt air traffic in Geneva airport
Business jets parked on the tarmac of Geneva Airport were blocked by protesters. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 “Due to the incursion of people on the tarmac, the air traffic was momentarily disrupted. It has been gradually resuming since 12:40 pm (1040
GMT),” Geneva airport’s official Twitter account said.

The notice came as environmental groups said around 100 climate activists from 17 countries had disrupted the nextdoor European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) — Europe’s biggest sales fair for private jets.

In a joint statement, Greenpeace, Stay Grounded, Scientist Rebellion and Extinction Rebellion, said the activists were peacefully occupying jets
exhibited for the event by Geneva airport.

Images published on Twitter showed the activists camped out around a shiny jet, brandishing colourful banners with the words “Ban private jets”, and “private jets burn our future”.

Around a dozen police officers had rapidly intervened to remove the activists, including some that had attached themselves to planes, and had
detained around 80 activists, according to the ATS news agency.

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Why a NATO air defence drill could spark disruption in Switzerland

NATO is conducting its largest air defence drill yet in Germany this month - and it could have an impact on Swiss air traffic. Here's what you need to know, and how residents could be affected.

Why a NATO air defence drill could spark disruption in Switzerland

Anyone planning to get a good night’s rest between June 13th and 23rd in the Zurich area may have to deal with a few later nights due to a knock-on effect of NATO drills. 

During those days, NATO will be conducting its largest deployment exercise in its history with 25 nations, including over 200 aircraft, taking part in the ‘Air Defender’ exercise. 

Although NATO has said it wants to keep the restrictions in the airspace over Germany “as low as possible”, according to Zurich Airport, three exercise airspaces will be set up in German airspace, each of which will be closed to civilian air traffic for several hours a day on a rotating basis.

The airspace closures will take place from Monday to Friday during the exercise period and will be spread throughout the day.

READ ALSO: Could a Nato air defence drill in Germany spell chaos for travellers?

The NATO exercise will lead to traffic congestion and flight detours, likely resulting in some disruption in air travel in Europe in general.

This will have an impact on Zurich Airport which is expecting flight delays due to the need to fly around the exercise areas.

Now the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) has agreed that Zurich Airport can issue exceptional permits for take-offs and landings up to 12.30am at the latest, provided that the respective delay is attributed to NATO’s ‘Air Defender’ exercise.

Normally, flights in Zurich run from 6am to 11pm, though the airport can extend flights by half an hour to reduce delays in some cases.

The extent to which Zurich Airport is actually affected by the exercise is difficult to estimate at present, the airport stated. Passengers will be informed by their airlines of any changes to flight times.

The drills could also affect other flights in and out of other Swiss airports so keep an eye out for updates if you have a flight planned this month.