Protestors ‘flash mob’ Terminal 5

Climate campaigners marked the opening day of Heathrow's controversial new Terminal 5 with a flash mob in the arrivals lounge of the new building.

Hundreds of people of all ages gathered in the terminal before peeling off their layers at precisely 11am to reveal red T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan Stop Airport Expansion.

Some of the protestors also lay down in the middle of the floor among bemused passengers to spell out the slogan.

The flash mob – where hundreds of people turn up at a public place at a specific pre-arranged time – was the latest in a string of protests against the expansion of the airport.

Protestors claim the new terminal is just one step in an ongoing expansion of Heathrow.

Campaigner Andrea Needham, who took part in the protest, said: “The flash mob is a fun event, but with a very serious purpose.

“Airport expansion is totally irresponsible in the face of the devastating effects of climate change.”

She added: “Climate change can be beaten, but not by almost doubling the size of the world’s biggest international airport.”

The protestors included members of HACAN, a group which campaigns for quieter and cleaner conditions for people living under Heathrow’s flight paths.

Chair John Stewart said: “The real reason [Terminal 5] was built was to provide the terminal capacity to allow more flights on the existing runways, which will mean more noise, more pollution and more stress for living under the flight paths.”

However, the Airport Operators Association backed the opening of the new terminal.

Chairman Neil Pakey said: “The opening of Terminal 5 today is good news for air passengers. The people and businesses of the UK need and deserve world-class airports.”

Alongside the peaceful protest, the new terminal’s first day was dogged by well-publicised failures with the baggage handling system, leading to the cancellation of many flights.

Footage of the flash mob can be viewed here.

Kate Martin

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