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Home > Media Centre > Industry News > Plane Stupid protest delayed take-off for Air Ambulance at Aberdeen airport.

Plane Stupid protest delayed take-off for Air Ambulance at Aberdeen airport.

Date: 15-Jun-2010

A protest by climate activists on the asphalt at Aberdeen airport delayed an emergency Air Ambulance flight from taking off, a court heard today.

Nine climate protesters are accused of causing a breach of the peace and vandalism after several activists allegedly clambered on to the airport's main terminal roof and the others chained themselves to a cage they had built on the taxiway.

The charges allege that the actions of the five men and four women led to the airport being shut down on safety grounds, preventing planes and helicopters taking off and landing on 3 March last year.

The airport's duty manager, Michael Frost 56, told Aberdeen sheriff court that the emergency helicopter flight was unable to leave after it was called out, because the airport had been shut down.

George Gebbie, one of the defense advocates, contested this account, asking: "What prevented it?" Frost replied: "The airfield operations manager."

Gebbie added: "It is a matter of established fact that the cage with these protesters in it did not prevent the flight taking off.

"Frost replied: "It did up to a point because the airport was shut. Physically it didn't impede it but it delayed the take-off.

"The trial heard yesterday that the protesters on the asphalt played a game of mini-golf with plastic clubs and balls inside a makeshift barricade.

They hung a banner for the protest group Plane Stupid referring to billionaire property developer Donald Trump, who is building a golf resort north of the city.

Malcolm Brown, the security operations manager, was called in early as the airport's duty manager because of the protest.

He said the first flight was due to take off at 6am and estimated that there were around 500-600 passengers waiting to check in at the time.

Passengers were told their flights were delayed due to an "ongoing police incident".

He said the protesters came down off the roof after requests from the police at about 9am and flights resumed 10 minutes later.

The jury was also told 23 helicopter flights from the North Sea oil field operator CHC were also delayed because of the incident.

Gebbie suggested there was nothing to stop flight activity because it was a peaceful protest.

But Brown claimed there had been a "runway incursion" which jeopardized safety.

The nine defendants, from Shipley, West Yorkshire, all deny the charges.

The trial continues.

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