Protesters breached security at Manchester Airport today and cut through a perimeter fence in a bid to block the freight terminal.
Environmental activists from Manchester Plane Stupid said they gained access to the airfield at about 6.45am in what they said was a protest against the planned extension of the airport's World Freight Terminal.
Six campaigners created a "human circle" around a stationary plane using arm tube lock-ons, while a second group of around 10 people mounted giant tripods at the road entrance to the terminal.
A banner reading "More air freight = more climate change. Stop all airport expansion now" was unfurled at the site.
The freight terminal, situated off Junction 6 of the M56 motorway, currently handles 170,000 tonnes of inbound and outbound freight every year.
By 2015 the airport expects to increase that capacity to around 250,000 tonnes of cargo per year.
Annie McLaughlin, from Manchester Plane Stupid, said: "The airport, which is owned by local councils, has kept local residents in the dark about the proposed expansion plans, failing to adequately inform them that their homes face demolition.
"The proposed expansion of the freight terminal makes no sense, economically or environmentally. The existing capacity is not fully utilised and an expansion would simply be a stepping stone to expansion of the airport as a whole, which would be an environmental disaster.
"With the planet on the verge of climate breakdown it is essential that the real cost of aviation expansion is taken seriously, currently emissions from aviation are not included in Manchester City Council's Climate Change Action Plan."
Lisa Jameson, also from Plane Stupid, added: "This isn't just about airport expansion or rising carbon emissions.
"This is about challenging an economic system based on the absurdity of infinite growth on a planet of finite resources, a system which prioritises bailouts for the banks and then makes us pay for it in public service cuts.
"Capitalism is the cause of the problem, climate change is just a symptom."
Flights were suspended for 20 minutes following the security breach, an airport spokesman said.
A Manchester Airport spokesman said: "At around 7.10am this morning protesters cut through a fence at Manchester Airport and gained access to a remote area of the airfield.
"They also staged a simultaneous protest at the airport's freight centre.
"The disruption to the airport's operations was minimal and the airport is open for business as usual."
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said officers were currently in the process of removing the protesters from the airport.Reuse content