Activists from the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement occupied the departure lounge at Maastricht Aachen Airport (MAA) for several hours on Saturday afternoon. They want to impose a ban on private planes at MAA, significantly reduce air pollution and (excess) particulate matter emissions, and stop public funds from coming into the airport. If that is impossible, activists want to close the airport.
After a few hours, the activists stopped their movements after a promise from the airport director, who invited them to meet next week. Work was nice and quiet. The activists, who numbered more than thirty, raised banners bearing slogans against air traffic. Passengers were not affected by this measure. A military police spokesman said they saw no reason to intervene because everything went smoothly.
“MAA is not generating enough sales volume to become sustainable and will not be viable in the future,” XR said in a statement. “We are therefore calling for the MAA to prepare for bankruptcy, including by establishing a fund to retrain employees for future green jobs and by having an alternative zoning plan ready in which the area can be used for a healthy and enjoyable living environment for local residents and where nature can thrive.” Thrive again.
XR describes the airport as a prestigious project for the province of Limburg, which MAA wants to keep open despite multi-million dollar losses annually. According to XR, the airport poses a heavy burden on the densely populated area in terms of the environment and noise pollution. The airport will also be redundant, as there are several larger airports within an 80-kilometre radius.
In its response, the Ministry stated that it is already taking several measures to reduce the burden on the environment and combat noise pollution. A company spokeswoman said: “Just like climate organizations and local residents, we are convinced of the need to make aviation more sustainable and reduce inconvenience.” “We are in discussions with local residents and stakeholders about reducing the impact of our airport. Today’s organizers are also invited to discuss their concerns with us,” the spokeswoman said.
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