Airline industry lobby group grounded from April

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.

It is understood the success of the Fair Tax on Flying campaign initiated by Abta was a spur to the break up, although Flying Matters members had been considering the group’s future since the incoming Cameron government scrapped plans for a third runway at Heathrow last year.

The departing companies were reported to consider Flying Matters too broad and unwieldy an organisation. Tui Travel, Thomas Cook, Monarch Airlines and easyJet are among other Flying Matters members, but the group also includes trade unions, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and tourism promotion body VisitBritain.

The new group will exist alongside a Fair Tax on Flying coalition, which will lobby on tax, and Sustainable Aviation which acts on environmental issues and includes BA, Virgin Atlantic, BAA, MAG, Tui Travel, Thomas Cook, Monarch and easyJet as members.

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