Balancing eco-protester damage at airport

Skill area: Crisis Management

Objective: Defuse bad publicity from eco-protest

Eco-protesters staged a sleepover media protest at Gloucestershire Airport with just 24 hours notice when the airport applied for planning consent to extend its runway.

The media-savvy protestors persuaded the TV, radio and newspaper crews to base themselves at the airfield from Saturday morning for most of the weekend, so we did the same to help the management team. 

Over the weekend we issued statements and briefed journalists individually and prepared managers to remain composed and on message before cameras and radio microphones.  We found residents who vouched that the airport was an asset and that any issues of noise and traffic congestion were negligible. 

Balanced coverage was the main result.  The protestors made their point but our client’s sensitive approach to environmental issues and to the community came across loud and clear. Planning consents were later won.