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Stansted airport reopens but flight delays

[December 8th 2008]

Stansted airport has reopened after climate change protestors caused flight cancellations and long queues.

The climate change protestors belonging to the group Plane Stupid breached a perimeter fence at the airport at 3am this morning and surrounded themselves with fortified security fencing on the runway.

Flights at Stansted were scheduled to start at 5am after maintenance work but the protest meant all flights were delayed until almost 9am. Essex Police have arrested 39 protestors.

Low cost airline Ryanair says it had to cancel 52 flights at Stansted this morning. The cancelled flights included services to and from Dublin, Cork, Genoa, Porto, Berlin, Gdansk and Oslo.

“Ryanair will be calling for an investigation as to why the BAA Stansted security has once again failed to keep Stansted airport secure and open to the travelling public. It is unacceptable that the travel plans of thousands of passengers have been disrupted because BAA Stansted security have failed to remove a number of protesters,” the airline said in an angry statement.

Flights are now taking off from Stansted but the knock-on effect of the protests means that there are long delays. Long queues have built up at the airport and the police have been called in to try to manage them. BAA Stansted is advising passengers to contact their airline for the latest information.

Plane Stupid says it chose to close Stansted after the government approved plans to increase capacity at the airport by 10 million passengers a year. Protestors wearing high visibility vests with the message “Please do something” (pictured) raised a banner reading “Climate emergency”.

Plane Stupid has posted a video on YouTube which it says shows BAA security staff attempting to ram protestors with a snowplough.

In a statement BAA said: “We are happy to engage in serious debates on airport expansion, and we respect people's right to protest within the bonds of the law. However, any unlawful or irresponsible behaviour aimed at disrupting the smooth operation of the airport is unacceptable. People should engage in the relevant independent planning inquiries in an open, honest and safe way”.

Written by: Nick Purdom