October 5, 2004

Burmese political exiles and supporters of the Burma Campaign UK will join forces to protest at the London head office of Austrian Airlines on Wednesday 6 October.

Austrian Airlines subsidiary Lauda Air is the only European airline with direct flights to Burma.

Burma, ruled by one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world, is the subject of a tourist boycott following calls by Aung San Su Kyi, leader of Burma’s democracy movement, for tourists to stay away. Tourism is a vital source of income for the regime, and slave labour has been used to build tourist infrastructure.

“Austrian Airlines have blood on their wings”, says Anna Roberts, campaigns officer at the Burma Campaign UK. “They might as well be carrying in tanks and guns and bullets, as that’s what the regime will buy with the money they get from them.”

The protest will take place from 12.30-1.30pm at 30 Orange Street, London WC2H 7HH (round the back of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Sq).

Austrian Airlines/Lauda Air have been hit by an international campaign since they began flights to Burma in 2002. The flights have ceased now as it is off-season, and are expected to resume this November. The flights are targeted at business travellers and tourists. Campaigners in 13 countries are supporting the campaign.

“No other European airline has direct flights to Burma, largely because of the ethical issues involved,” says Anna Roberts. “If Austrian Airlines think they can make a quick buck by filling unethical gaps in the market they are being very short sighted. They will lose more customers than they gain as the public becomes aware of what they are doing.”

For more information contact Anna Roberts, Campaigns Officer on 020 7324 4711, or Mark Farmaner, Media Officer on 020 7324 4713


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