Organization ran 'White Lives Matter Burnley' banner flight faces scrutiny

A “White Lives Matter Burnley” banner was flown over Etihad Stadium as Manchester City’s game with Burnley began on Monday. Blackpool Airport has announced that it has suspended banner flights from its runway after a plane carrying the message “White Lives Matter Burnley” was flown over a football match. Police investigated the incident after the …

A “White Lives Matter Burnley” banner was flown over Etihad Stadium as Manchester City’s game with Burnley began on Monday.

Blackpool Airport has announced that it has suspended banner flights from its runway after a plane carrying the message “White Lives Matter Burnley” was flown over a football match.

Police investigated the incident after the message was flown over Etihad Stadium on Monday evening but say no crime was committed.

Manchester City’s game against Burnley had just got under way when the banner was flown over the ground, and both teams had taken the knee in support of Black Lives Matter minutes earlier.

It is believed the firm Air Ads was the operator of the plane that carried the banner above the stadium.

On Tuesday, Blackpool Airport, where Air Ads is based, said that it was halting all banner-towing activity with immediate effect.

In a statement, the manager of the Blackpool Council-owned airport, Stephen Smith, said: “Blackpool Airport and Blackpool Council are outraged by this incident.

“We stand against racism of any kind and absolutely do not condone the activity. The message was offensive and the action reprehensible.

“The decision to fly the banner was taken entirely by the banner-flying company without the knowledge or approval of the airport or Blackpool Council.

“Due to the nature of the activity, banners are not checked before take-off and the content is at the operator’s discretion.”

Mr Smith added: “Blackpool Airport are investigating the banner operator in question and further action will be taken by the board.”

Air Ads has not responded to requests for comment.

A former pilot at the site, who did not wish to be named, claimed they knew the pilot at Air Ads and said the firm used to be run by Alan Elliot, who died a few weeks ago.

He added that the banners are made to order and the flights cost in the region of £700, with pilots taking about £100 per flight.

The man also said: “We would assume whoever paid for the banner would get done for it.”

After the incident, Burnley said in a statement: “We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor.

“This, in no way, represents what Burnley Football Club stands for and we will work fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and issue lifetime bans.”

They added: “We apologise unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter.”

Chief Superintendent Russ Procter, of Lancashire Police, said: “Today Lancashire Constabulary has been in liaison with Greater Manchester Police, the Aviation Authority and the Crown Prosecution Service regards the ‘White Lives Matter’ banner that was flown over the Etihad Stadium last night.

“After assessing all the information available surrounding this incident we have concluded that there are no criminal offences that have been disclosed at this time. We will continue to work with our partners at the football club and within the local authority.”

Follow us on Google News