Business Aviation Advocates Challenge UK Protest Group

When five members of the British activist group Plane Stupid chained themselves to a business jet at London City Airport, the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) stepped up. Chief Executive Guy Lachlan called the group's efforts "politically driven" and "misguided," and he backed up his assertion with some interesting numbers. All of aviation is responsible for 2 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and general aviation accounts for less than 1 percent of that amount, Lachlan said. "To put that into perspective, in the United Kingdom, that is equivalent to each of us with a car driving just 12 miles a year. I would ask the Plane Stupid people which they think would have the greater economic impact to the UK-each of us driving 12 miles less per year, or abolishing business aviation?" According to BBGA, its constituency is responsible for 8 percent of European air traffic and contributes $5.7 billion to the UK economy-and 50,000 jobs. Lachlan added, "BBGA would be keen to establish a dialogue with Plane Stupid to address the serious issue of transportation CO2 emissions, but like many other pressure groups seeking to make a point irrespective of the facts, they seem more interested in attention-seeking than engaging in meaningful discussion." The five protesters were arrested and charged with criminal damage as well as breaking and entering.