The industry coalition behind the Abta-led Fair Tax on Flying campaign provides a model for lobbying on other issues, according to the travel association’s head of public affairs.
Luke Pollard told the Travel Matters conference: “One of the biggest problems the industry has had was the multiplicity of voices on every issue. With a Fair Tax on Flying, we have tried to concentrate on the 90% we agree about and not the 10% we disagree on. Could we apply that model to consumer protection?”
Transport Select Committee chairman Louise Ellman argued MPs were only receptive when confronted by an immediate problem. “Consumer protection is only an issue when there is a failure, when people are stranded,” she said.
“You have to keep lobbying to bring change. Abta has done well to get issues on the agenda. Now you have to keep them in the public’s mind.”
Tony Grew, political editor of parliamentary news site ePolitix.com, said: “Abta is doing well [in its lobbying] considering MPs’ priorities are to get re-elected, be re-elected and win re-election.”
But he said: “The only form of transport MPs talk about is rail, and there is a difference for MPs between essential services and the luxury of flying on holiday.”
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “There is urgency to the issues we are discussing, but we would like to have the government as a partner. We are not going to have one victory and be done. This is going to be a long campaign. We need to reinforce the message on APD and do a lot of work on Atol.”