Dublin Airport logjam as London City protest disrupts flights

Black Lives Matter protest on London runway halts flights for six hours

There have been major delays at London City Airport after a group of 'Black Lives Matter' protesters forced their way on to the runway. Video: Reuters

 

Several flights in and out of Dublin Airport were either delayed or cancelled on Tuesday morning after after a “Black Lives Matter” protest on a runway halted flights for six hours at London City Airport and a computer glitch hit British Airways in London and the United States.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) also warned of further delays and advised passengers intending to travel to check the latest flight information before arriving at Dublin Airport.

A DAA spokeswoman said three departing flights scheduled to London City had been delayed by two hours, while another had been cancelled with passengers transferred to another flight. She said two inbound flights had also been cancelled.

Knock-on impact

“There will be a knock-on impact on flights to and from London City, and passengers are advised to check latest flight information with their airline before travelling to Dublin Airport,” she said.

More than 120 flights were cancelled, delayed or diverted at London City Airport, a few miles east of the Canary Wharf financial district, after nine protesters locked themselves together on the runway.

Police said late on Tuesday morning they had arrested all nine and the airport was preparing to resume flights.

British Airways said it was taking longer than normal to process customers at a number of airports around the world, including London’s Heathrow and Gatwick, and urged passengers to check in online before they reached the airport.

The airline, owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group, which also owns Aer Lingus, apologised to customers. “Really unhappy with @British_Airways ‘The system is down’ & can’t check in!,” one passenger, Shail, said on Twitter.

Reputational damage

Analysts at Royal Bank of Canada said the delays – the second problem with the service this year – could damage the airline’s reputation after passengers took to social media to complain about delays in San Francisco, Washington DC and Atlanta on Monday night.

British Airways has been rolling out a new check-in system since last year and a spokeswoman said the check-in delays were teething problems that affected many airports.

CityJet said earlier it was monitoring – on an ongoing basis – the situation with regard to the security incident at London City Airport and its impact on its flight operations.

The airline said as a result of the incident it has had, along with other carriers at the airport, to suspend flights to and from London City Airport.

The airline said it was operating a limited number of services from Dublin and Amsterdam to London Southend Airport, with complimentary rail connection to London, to facilitate passengers disrupted by the actions at London City Airport.

A spokesperson said: “We very much regret the disruption to our customers’ travel plans as a result of this incident.”

Black Lives Matter

At City Airport, the protesters earlier erected two large posters with the slogans “Black Lives Matter” and “Climate Crisis is a Racist Crisis.” The British arm of the group, which started in the United States as a reaction to fatal shootings of black people by police, said it wanted to highlight Britain’s environmental impact on the lives of black people locally and globally.

Members blocked a main road to Heathrow Airport in August.

“Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis,” the group said in a statement. “When black people in Britain are 28 per cent more likely to be exposed to air pollution than their white counterparts, we know that environmental inequality is a racist crisis.”

The campaign group said City airport was designed for the wealthy while those who lived near the site struggled on low salaries.

Police said the protesters were now in police custody having been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass, being unlawfully airside and breaching London City Airport bylaws. – (Additional reporting: Reuters)

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