Experts fear the ease with which the group were able to storm the sensitive site could inspire jihadists intent on a fresh atrocity.

London - A gang of protesters shut down a London airport on Tuesday after exposing astonishing security lapses that sparked terror fears.

Passengers faced major delays after Left-wing activists imitating the US ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement invaded London City Airport.

Nine campaigners appear to have used an inflatable dinghy to row to the airport where they breached security. They set up camp on the runway with a wooden tripod to which they chained themselves.

Experts fear the ease with which the group were able to storm the sensitive site could inspire jihadists intent on a fresh atrocity.

On Tuesday night, the airport faced serious questions about its security regime after it was revealed that only a waterway and a small fence stood in their way.

Despite the security alert caused by the morning’s protest, a Daily Mail journalist was still able to walk to within 20ft of the runway, with just a narrow stretch of water blocking their path.

Officials tried to play down the threat by pointing out the site was closed when the breach took place but said it will be “thoroughly investigated”.

The protest is the latest in a series by a British group copying the US campaign against the killing of black people by police.

Last month campaigners chanted “no justice, no peace” during similar short-lived blockades which caused chaos at Heathrow and Birmingham airports.

Tuesday’s protest at London City Airport was undertaken by an all-white group who insisted other white people must “take responsibility” as they are “privileged through racism”.

The mayhem began at 5.40am when the nine protesters chained themselves to a tripod in the middle of the tarmac to campaign against the UK’s “racist climate change”. They are believed to have accessed the site by rowing an inflatable rubber dinghy across part of the Royal Docks, which surround the runway and are fed by the Thames.

Officials admitted that while police patrol the perimeter 24 hours-a-day, security staff are only present when the airport is open.

The protest caused the cancellation of dozens of flights to destinations across Europe and severe delays to others. Some arrivals were diverted to Southend and Gatwick.

Among the flights scrapped were those to Geneva, Milan, Luxembourg, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Zurich, Mallorca and Malaga.

Dozens of police officers were called to the scene before entering into protracted negotiations with the group. Eventually cutting equipment, ladders, a set of aircraft steps and even crash helmets were brought in to free the activists safely.

After six hours all the protesters were successfully removed and arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass, being unlawfully airside and breaching local bylaws.

Later, in inflammatory online messages, the group tried to justify their actions claiming it was “white allyship under black leadership”.

Spokesperson Jacob Oti, 22, attempted to link the protest to global warming, saying: “It’s about 200 million climate refugees by 2050.”

In a further statement the group claimed black people are “28 percent more likely to suffer air pollution” and that the airport was allowing a “wealthy elite” to fly around the world.

Passengers were furious. Joy Lindsay, 84, who was heading to Palma in Mallorca, said: “The people on the runway should have been plopped in a dumper truck and dragged off.

“Imagine if it was a group like Islamic State. If these protesters can carry a pole they could easily have smuggled a small rucksack containing a bomb or anything like that.

“Why do these protesters think people will be sympathetic towards them after they have caused this mayhem for no good reason?”

Counter-terrorism expert and ex-Scotland Yard officer Chris Phillips branded the protest “highly irresponsible”. He said: “They are putting themselves in danger of being shot by police who have to be prepared to deal with terrorists trying to bring planes down.”

Responding to criticism of the airport’s security, a spokesman said: “The runway is surrounded by water which provides a natural first barrier to access.

“Our operations team are mobilised at all times while the airport is open, patrolling the airfield to ensure it is safe and secure.

“In addition, a dedicated police team carry out 24 hour patrols of the perimeter. The protesters accessed the runway while the airport was closed and therefore did not pose a threat to passengers. However, the matter will be thoroughly investigated and any necessary action taken.”