SCRAP THE TAX ON FAMILY FLIGHTS: INTEGRATED LOBBYING AND DIGITAL CAMPAIGN
When the air travel industry wanted to scrap air passenger duty on children's flights, PLMR suggested an integrated public affairs campaign with a strong digital focus.
A Fair Tax on Flying, a coalition that represents the air travel industry, led by the four main associations representing airlines, airports and travel agents have been working for years to reduce and ultimately scrap UK Air Passenger Duty (APD). Whilst they had some parliamentary success in the past, they needed their efforts to be revitalised in order to secure further progress in the campaign against UK APD.
PLMR proposed A Fair Tax on Flying should lead a targeted campaign aimed at scrapping the tax on children’s flights only, rather than a reduction of APD more generally. PLMR devised the Scrap the Tax on Family Flights campaign, and positioned the campaign goal of scrapping APD for children under 12 strategically in line with the Government’s ‘family test’.
Through the effective use of key messaging, social media to raise the campaign’s profile, an online APD calculator that mobilised the public, the securing of extensive national media coverage and targeted briefing of MPs and advocates, the Government saw scrapping APD on children’s flights as a popular policy with strong public and political backing that should be considered.
Campaign photo and infographics were created and different social media platforms were used for promoting the campaign’s APD calculator, which was targeted at specific stakeholder groups such as parents and travel bloggers.
Digital postcard created using the APD calculator and sent to the Treasury
During the 2014 Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced not only that APD for under 12s would be scrapped by May 2015, but that this move would be extended to those under 16 from 2016. The campaign exceeded both its original goal by scrapping APD for a larger part of the UK population, and also secured this win ahead of schedule in the Autumn Statement, when PLMR had originally been given the 2015 Budget as the campaign end date.
Social media promotion and targeted engagement helped to drive traffic to the campaign website and APD calculator, which led to hundreds of campaign postcards being sent to the Treasury. In total over 150 000 users were reached with campaign tweets and Facebook posts and “air passenger duty” ended up trending on Twitter on the day of the Autumn Statement.