Police have arrested 24 protesters who broke through a security gate at Nottingham East Midlands Airport.
The taxiway protest lasted about four hours
Members of an environmental campaign group used cutters to gain access through a fence. The airport said six outbound flights were delayed.
The group, which called itself Plane Stupid, had claimed the number of short-haul flights from the airport was affecting climate change.
Managers at the airport condemned the protest as "irresponsible".
The protest lasted for about four hours with campaigners sitting on a taxiway. Baptist Minister Rev Malcolm Carroll led a ceremony in memory of those "who have died as a result of climate change."
The group was said to be part of the wider Climate Camp organisation, responsible for the recent protests at Drax power station in north Yorkshire.
Spokesman Joss Garman said: "Aviation is the greatest contributor to climate change. The effects of aviation on the climate this century, if we don't stop short-haul flights, will be catastrophic."
Seventeen men and seven women were arrested for suspected offences under the Aviation Security Act.
They did not gain access to any aeroplanes or to crucial parts of the airport infrastructure.
Chief Supt Garry Forsyth, of Leicestershire police, said: "Our officers were on scene within minutes and by the time they got there, airport security already had the demonstrators contained.
"Due to the limited and small-scale nature of the protest, we did not find it necessary to deploy all the resources available to us."