Video shows climate activists spray paint jets where Taylor Swift's plane likely landed

Two climate activists, accused of vandalizing jets, were arrested from Stanstead Airport in London where Taylor Swift's luxury plane is believed to be parked as the singer's Eras Tour arrives in the UK.

Essex Police, in a news release Thursday, said that shortly after 5 a.m. Thursday, officers responded to reports of "people gaining access to a private area of an airfield at Stanstead Airport." After breaking into an area "well away from the runway and main passenger terminal," the suspects damaged two aircrafts, the police said, without specifying the details of the damage.

The two women, aged 22 and 28, were "arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and interference with the use or operation of national infrastructure."

Police added that the incident did not cause any disruption at the airport, located about 40 miles from central London, and that the flights continue to operate as normal.

“We are not anti-protest, but we will always take action where criminal acts take place,” Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow said in a statement.

Climate protest group claims responsibility

While the police did not identify the suspects behind the incident, climate protest group Just Stop Oil, in a statement, claimed responsibility and said that two of their supporters "painted multiple private jets on the airfield where Taylor Swift’s jet landed mere hours before."

Just Stop Oil said that Jennifer Kowalski, 28 from Dumbarton and Cole Macdonald, 22, from Brighton entered the private airfield at Stansted Airport around 5 a.m. Thursday and "painted two private jets using fire extinguishers filled with orange paint."

The two supporters are demanding the incoming government of the United Kingdom to "commit to working with other governments to agree an equitable plan to end the extraction and burning of oil, gas and coal by 2030," Just Stop Oil said in the statement. Earlier, on Wednesday, supporters of the group also covered the iconic Stonehenge in orange powder paint to lodge their protests.

“We’re living in two worlds: one where billionaires live in luxury, able to fly in private jets away from the other, where unlivable conditions are being imposed on countless millions," Macdonald said in a statement. "Meanwhile, this system that is allowing extreme wealth to be accrued by a few, to the detriment of everyone else, is destroying the conditions necessary to support human life in a rapidly accelerating never-ending ‘cruel summer’. Billionaires are not untouchable, climate breakdown will affect every single one of us.”

Kowalski, a former sustainability manager, said that her work in sustainability gave her "no ability to make the necessary changes," and that she had no choice but to take "desperate measures to make my voice heard.”

Just Stop Oil, in their statement, said that estimates suggest that 80% of the world’s population has never taken a flight, while 1% of people cause 50% of global aviation emissions.

"Private jet users are responsible for up to 14x as much carbon emissions compared with a commercial flight," the group said. "A single flight in a private jet can easily emit as much carbon dioxide as the average annual carbon footprint for an EU citizen – 8.2 tons."

While Stanstead Airport declined to comment on if Swift's jet was present at the airport at the time of incident, a spokesperson told Business Insider that Swift's jet wasn't present at the airport when the incident occurred. However, The Independent, citing flight tracking reported that Swift's Falcon 7x landed at the airport around 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Swift's jet to emit half a million kgs of CO2 in 2024

Swift as often faced backlash from climate change activists and protest groups over her excessive use of private jets. The award-winning singer previously owned two jets but sold one at the beginning of the year.

In 2023, Swift's two jets traveled up to 178,000 miles, emitting 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide, according to a report in The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network. The majority of those flights were to Los Angeles, New York, Nashville and concert stops for the 2023 Eras Tour.

US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs on stage during her Eras Tour at the Friends arena in Stockholm, Sweden on May 17, 2024.
US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs on stage during her Eras Tour at the Friends arena in Stockholm, Sweden on May 17, 2024.

Payless Power, a Texas-based company, in a report, estimated that Swift will fly approximately 43,688 kilometers and emit 511,154 kilograms of CO2 for the Eras Tour in 2024. To put this into perspective, it's the equivalent of driving 1,307,311 miles in a gasoline-powered passenger vehicle. It's also equivalent to the emissions made from 67 households in an entire year.

Although this may seem like a lot for the singer conducting a record-breaking tour across the world, the report states her 2024 travel still doesn't come close to the top celebrity emitters of 2023: Travis Scott (6.06 million kilograms of CO2), Kim Kardashian (5.86 million) and Elon Musk (4.56 million).

Contributing: Bryan West, USA TODAY NETWORK

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at sshafiq@gannett.com and follow her on X @saman_shafiq7.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Climate activists spray paint jets, aimed to target Taylor Swift's jet