“The aviation industry is killing us” – activists interrupt the World Aviation Festival

by | 27 Sep 2023 | Actions, Members

Blog post contributed by our member Climáximo.

On 27 September 2023, supporters of Climáximo and Scientist Rebellion painted the façade of the Lisbon Exhibition and Congress Centre (FIL), where the “World Aviation Festival” was taking place. They also interrupted a session attended by aviation industry executives. They claim “the aviation industry is killing us” and want to denounce the sectors active role in thousands of deaths linked to climate breakdown.

The activists arrived at FIL in the morning, where the “World Aviation Festival” was taking place on “World Tourism Day”. A group painted the façade of the building red, raising the message “They’ are killing us”. At the same time, another group interrupted the session “What is the future of the global aviation industry”, where CEOs and executives of Emirates, Pegasus Airlines, IATA, International Airlines Group and TAP were speaking. The activists accused the speakers and the entire aviation industry of being guilty of the thousands of deaths and evictions caused by the climate crisis every year, and of coming together at an event designed to expand the industry’s capacity for mass killing. The police identified five activists at the scene.

“The devastating floods in Libya are just another example of thousands of people being killed or displaced by an event made 50 times more likely by climate breakdown. And companies, governments and the ultra-rich are directly responsible for this. They are deliberately killing and evicting tens of thousands of people around the world, by fueling climate collapse. They know what they are doing, yet they won’t stop burning fossil fuels, flying in their private jets, building more hotels and planning more airports,” says Inês, from Climáximo.

Activists interrupting the World Aviation Festival. They claim the aviation industry is killing us, by fueling climate breakdown.
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Photo: Climáximo.

Double trouble: aviation and mass tourism

The activists described the conference as the planning site for the double crime of aviation growth and the despoiling of cities for the enjoyment of rich people and tourists. Aviation is the pinnacle of climate injustice, and it’s closely tied together with tourism, a sector that keeps degrading social and environmental conditions in cities across the globe, and that highly contributes to the aggravation of the housing crisis in Lisbon.

Inês adds that “we can’t allow criminal events like these to go unnoticed. It’s their time to pay for the destruction they are causing. And it’s urgent that we put an end to luxury emissions, in particular banning private jets; put an end to evictions; convert tourist rental lodgings, hotels and luxury homes to serve their social function of housing people; and reduce aviation, by banning the construction of new airports, capping flights and investing in rail, ensuring a just transition paid for by the aviation industry.”

The activists stress that the culprits of these crises will not stop the destruction, and that it is up to society to resist and stop them. They called on everyone to join the international It’s Their Time to Pay mobilisations, taking place on 30 September across several European countries, against the climate and cost of living crises.