The Lufthansa Group has reportedly sent a €120,000 bill to six climate activists who managed to break onto the airfield of Berlin Brandenburg Airport last November, resulting in delayed and cancelled flights as police worked to remove them from the runway.
The German flag carrier has given the activists until the middle of October to pay the bill, but if they refuse to comply, lawyers acting on behalf of subsidiary Eurowings have threatened to sue on behalf of all the Lufthansa Group airlines.
The activists belong to the climate group Last Generation, which is well known in Germany for its direct action methods. In July, activists glued themselves to the runways of Hamburg and Düsseldorf, and the police are starting to tire of their tactics.
In one recent prosecution, a Last Generation activist received an eight-month prison sentence for a street protest but after last November’s airport protest, the activists received a fine of just €1,600 each.
That fine, however, pales in comparison to the monetary damages that Lufthansa is demanding from Last Generation.
In a statement, a Lufthansa spokesperson confirmed that the airline would be seeking damages for other airport protests as well.
“Eurowings will claim material damages for the airlines of the Lufthansa Group that were caused by the actions of activists at the airports in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Hamburg,” the airline told German newspaper Bild.
“This has already been done for the action in Berlin. We cannot comment on ongoing proceedings beyond that.”
During the November 24, 2022, protest, the Lufthansa Group had to deal with 10 flight cancellations, one diversion and 21 delayed flights. The affected flights included Lufthansa and Eurowings, as well as Austrian and SWISS.
At the time, activist Lina Schinköthe justified breaking into Berlin Airport, saying: “In the end, we will all suffer from the climate catastrophe. However, especially those who are least responsible for them are hit first and hardest. A society cannot afford this ruthlessness!”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.