Flying Matters was a pro-aviation coalition in the United Kingdom. Members included tourist organisations, airlines, aerospace manufacturers, trade associations, airport operators, growers and others. Formed in June 2007, they have issued briefings, press releases, lobbied Members of Parliament and commissioned advertisements. The organisation was wound up at the end of April 2011 following the withdrawal of four founding members including BA, BAA and Virgin Atlantic.
Brian Wilson, Chairman was frequently quoted in the press representing Flying Matters. He was a Labour Party member of parliament from 1987 to 2005 and Energy Minister at the Department of Trade and Industry from 2001 to 2003. Michelle Di Leo, Director is a public affairs practitioner who has also worked for Airport Operators Association and on the 'Freedom To Fly' campaign in 2003 during the lead up to the Aviation White Paper. Until recently she was a partner in a strategic communications consultancy and has also worked for the National Union of Teachers and the British Lung Foundation. The Steering Group consisted of representatives of the major members and was chaired by Toby Nicol, Communications and Corporate Affairs Director at easyJet
The Flying Matters coalition included trade associations such as the Airport Operators Association, Air Transport Users Council, British Air Transport Association, Society of British Aerospace Companies and Tourism Alliance. Tourism bodies and travel agents were also well represented with members including Association of British Travel Agents, Association of Corporate Travel Executives, First Choice, MyTravel and Thomas Cook. A number of airlines operators and manufacturers were members including Airbus, Boeing, British Airways, EasyJet, Flybe, Monarch, Rolls Royce and Virgin Atlantic, as were two airport operators BAA and Manchester Airport. Trade unions included Transport and General Workers Union, Unite - The Union and GMB Union. In addition to the above Farmers Own (growers) and the Fresh Produce Consortium (importers), DHL (freight), Nats (air traffic control), Macquarie Group (finance) and Qinetiq (defence) was also members. A full list was available on their main website.
The organisation was formed early in 2007 and was very busy during the year. They commissioned various polls and attended the party conferences arguing that in particular that the Conservatives' position on aviation to limit aviation growth would lose them votes. They lobbied against restrictions of airport growth generally and were frequently quoted in the press.
The first public news of the organisation was released in May in Brand Republic and in Airport News. The organisation was formally launched late in July with the stated aim of showing that the aviation sector was "taking climate change seriously". They accused Inuit leader of "apocalyptic green spin" at the official enquiry over the expansion of Stansted Airport and respond the Conservative Party policy of limiting aviation growth and gave their first details off their proposed advertising campaign featuring "No Entry" signs in front of the Taj Mahal and Sydney Opera House 
In August BAA, a Flying Matters member, applied for the "mother of all injunctions" against the Camp for Climate Action which was to be held near Heathrow airport in August. and won a much reduced injunction and the protest camp arrives close to Heathrow Flying Matters published a number of briefings: "Aviation and Climate Change", "Aviation and Tourism", Aviation and the UK economy, "Aviation and trade with the developing world" and "Aviation and People".
In September, Flying Matters attended the UK Party conferences. At the Labour conference, they sponsored a fringe meeting entitled "going Green" at which Brian Wilson was "taken to task as he defended the growth of airports and spoke against higher taxes". An aide to Ken Livingston, the Labour Mayor of London, proposed a tax on "frivolous fliers" - Brian Wilson is quoted as saying: "Deeply offensive, I have never heard of a bigger suicide pill politically than curbing frivolous flights." 
The Conservative Party proposed increased taxes on flights and cars and Brian Wilson is quoted as saying, "Taxes which increase the cost of flying will simply price working families out of flying".
In the run-up to the Conservative Party conference, Flying Matters issued press releases titled "Voters in key marginals shun Conservative proposals for higher taxes on air travel", "'Green' holiday tax plan puts Conservatives 6 per cent behind Labour in 30 most important marginals in the Country" and "US, China and India bear most responsibility for climate change according to new poll"
They contributed to a discussions at the Liberal Democrats party conference.
In October, they issued press releases "Soil Association should not undermine its objectives by potentially damaging producers in the developing world with unrealistic demands" and Brian Wilson is quoted as saying "Unless teleportation becomes viable in the next few years there is no alternative for them (Kenyan farmers) to get their fresh produce to market in time.”. Flying Matters accuse Plane Stupid of irresponsibility and Plane Stupid accuse Flying Matters of spying 
In December, Private Eye reported on a Flying Matters in relation to the Labour Party Conference and Plane Stupid published a copy of a letter sent privately to MPs lobbying on the Climate Change Bill. Flying Matters issued a press release saying that "Stopping new runways would cost half a million new UK jobs"
In October 2008 they announced that after discussion with Pret a Manger and Innocent Drinks, they had both changed their public policy with regard to air freight. Pret a Manger had previously stated, "We believe airfreighting fruit and veg is completely over the top. It's unnecessary and, with the exception of basil leaves (and in the case of an emergency), we don't do it. At certain times of the year, basil lets us down. We're working hard to find a supplier closer to home." After an approach from the Fresh Produce Consortium and Blue Skies they changed their message to "These are challenging questions with no simple answers. We tackle them, one by one. We listen to the arguments and weigh up the evidence. Fingers crossed, we make the right decisions. For instance, whilst we do not airfreight our fruit and veg, we understand that for many farmers, particularly in developing countries, airfreight is an important way to get goods to market and that those goods contribute a great deal towards social and economic development. It’s a sustainability conundrum". Smoothie manufacturer Innocent has removed all references to airfreight from its website.
In response to a parliamentary vote in October 2008 to approve the Climate Change Bill, committing Britain to slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 and for the first time including aviation and shipping into the bill, Michelle Di Leo, director Flying Matters, said it was a “hollow victory” for environmentalists that was both “ineffective and unfair”.
The organisation was wound up at the end of April 2011 following the withdrawal of BA, BAA, Manchester Airports Group and Virgin Atlantic.
- Aviation and the environment
- Aviation Environment Federation, the principal UK non-profit making organisation concerned with the environmental effects of aviation
- Plane Stupid, a UK focused non-violent direct action group
- Air transport and the environment (United Kingdom)
- "Corporate website - about". Flying Matters. 2007-12-20. Archived from the original on 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Airport Operators rule out new airports". Airport Operators Association. 2003-06-30. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "New freedom to fly campaign an 'industry front'...". HACAN. 2003-01-12. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Cached staff page from FD-LLM website". Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Global travel firms unite in climate-change drive". Brand Republic. 2007-05-22. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Travel industry to launch climate-change lobby group". UK Airport News. 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Green travel consortium backs airport expansion. "Flying Matters, a global consortium of travel companies set up to show that the industry is taking climate change seriously, is set to use its first marketing campaign to champion an increase in the UK's aviation capabilities". Brand Republic. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Flying Matters accuse Eskimo of 'apocalyptic green spin' in row over Stansted expansion". UK Airport News. 2007-07-22. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Temko, Ned (2007-07-01). "Cancel new runway plans, say Tories: any delay in expanding Heathrow would damage Britain's ability to attract and keep businesses which depended on air links" Michele Di Leo". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Richard George. "Adverts featuring "No Entry" signs slapped over the Taj Mahal and Sydney Opera House". Plane Stupid. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Robbie Gillett (2007-08-13). "The mother of all injunctions". New Statesman. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Natalie Paris and agencies (2007-08-13). "Police descend on Heathrow climate camp". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Aviation and Climate Change" (Press release). Flying Matters. 2007-08-23. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Aviation and Tourism" (Press release). Flying Matters. 2007-08-27. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Aviation and the UK economy" (Press release). Flying Matters. 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Aviation and trade with the developing world" (Press release). Flying Matters. 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Aviation and People" (Press release). Flying Matters. 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Labour party conference - Aviation industry confronts critics: The coalition's vice-chair, Brian Wilson, was taken to task as he defended the growth of airports and spoke against higher taxes". PR Week. 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Carlin, Brendan (2007-09-27). "Tax frivolous fliers, says Livingstone's green aide: "deeply offensive. I have never heard of a bigger suicide pill politically than curbing frivolous flights," Brian Wilson". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Siddique, Haroon (2007-09-13). "Tory report backs increased taxes on flights and cars: "Taxes which increase the cost of flying will simply price working families out of flying" Brian Wilson". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Voters in key marginals shun Conservative proposals for higher taxes on air travel" (Press release). Flying Matters. 2007-09-02. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- ""Green" holiday tax plan puts Conservatives 6 per cent behind Labour in 30 most important marginals in the Country" (Press release). Flying Matters. 2007-09-12. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "US, China and India bear most responsibility for climate change according to new poll" (Press release). Flying Matters. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Ben (2007-10-31). "Back in September the Lib Dem conference was blessed by the attendance of Michelle Di Leo from Flying Shatters". Plane Stupid. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Soil Association should not undermine its objectives by potentially damaging producers in the developing world with unrealistic demands" (Press release). Flying Matters. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Lucy Bannerman (2007-10-25). "Importing organic food by air "may not be ethical enough"". The Times (London). Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Ben Webster (2007-10-24). "Activists plan to cause chaos when Terminal 5 at Heathrow is opened: "Again Plane Stupid are indulging in irresponsible gestures. Their actions impact most on those they profess to be protecting" Michelle Di Leo". The Times (London). Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Richard George (2007-11-01). "Flying Matters: who is Bella Regazza?: "Alas for poor Bella, she had registered the hotmail account in her own name"". Plane Stupid. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Richard George (2007-12-09). "Bashing Brian: According to Private Eye, Wilson launched into a tirade in favour of airport expansion". Plane Stupid. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Richard George (2007-12-06). "Flying Matters versus the Climate Change Bill". Plane Stupid. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Stopping new runways would cost half a million new UK jobs" (Press release). Flying Matters. 2007-12-03. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "High-street big guns change airfreight stance". Fresh Info. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- "MPs support tough bill on CO2 reporting". Financial Times. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- "Airline industry lobby group grounded from April". Travel Weekley.
Aviation lobbying group Flying Matters is to disband following the departure of four key members including British Airways. Flying Matters director Michelle di Leo confirmed the group would break up following the withdrawal of BA, Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow operator BAA and the Manchester Airports Group (MAG). The lobby organisation was set up in 2007. Di Leo told Travel Weekly Flying Matters will wind up at the end of April. The companies have left to set up a new campaign group with a narrower focus, restricted to the economic benefits of aviation.
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