Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Flying Matters - If You Are Plane Stupid

I caught this fantastic smear on Plane Stupid in The Times today. Eager to press their line that Plane Stupid is a menace to society, they headlined their piece:

Activists plan to cause chaos when Terminal 5 at Heathrow is opened

Rather like the 'chaos' they caused in the summer (virtually nil). However, the pièce de résistance was in the final paragraph of the article:

Michelle Di Leo, director of FlyingMatters, said: “Again Plane Stupid are indulging in irresponsible gestures.

Their actions impact most on those they profess to be protecting: families who holiday once a year, ethnic minorities who rely on air transport to visit family, and farmers in the developing world reliant on UK consumers.”

Err, come again???The majority of fliers are once a year families and ethnic minorities??? Something tells me that Michelle Di Leo is talking bullshit. As Plane Stupid points out:

The idea that these three groups are the primary users of Heathrow is so abjectly absurd that I wonder how they ever thought we'd believe it. Civil Aviation Authority data, and data from the
Department for Transport, repeatedly shows that the 'democratisation of the skies' is really just an excuse for the wealthy to fly six times a year, not for poor families to take the occasional city break.

50% of people don't fly, according to a recent Mori poll, and 62% didn't fly abroad last year. 79% of the poorest quintile didn't fly abroad, while 14% of the richest people flew 4 times or more - hardly the image of equality Flying Matters want you to believe.

As for farmers in the Global South - how will climate change affect their agriculture? Air frieghted goods make up a small percentage of output, but have a disproportionate impact on climate; not the best way to work yourself out of poverty.

Might just send an email to Ms Di Leo putting these facts to her (doubt I will get a response). Whatever, there is clearly only one organisation that is truly 'plane stupid'. Ms Di Leo, please take a bow.