Making the Aviation Debate Less Boring
The danger of a public switch off from aviation?
The public seem to have got a bit bored of hearing about aviation. This is largely the industry’s own fault. Everyone wants to promote their own solution to the capacity problem and the media is full of conflicting and contradictory policy statements, white papers and initiatives. The longer this continues, the more disinterested people get.
The need to re-engage
From an external perspective this apathy is understandable; the aviation debate has entailed the same vested interests talking about the same things for the same reasons for ten years. To prevent further public switch off and to protect the future of UK aviation, the argument urgently needs to be reinvigorated with new, credible voices.
With the right people
One of the main groups who seem to have been left out of the debate are the people across the country that depend on the aviation industry. Amongst these individuals are airport and airline employees, as well as the support organisations and businesses that depend on them. On top of this are the millions of people who rely on direct, cost effective aviation; be it for a business meeting, a trip to see family and friends, or just simply taking a well-earned holiday.
In the right way
The industry needs to incentivise these millions of individual stakeholders to share why aviation is important to their lives and provide them with a platform on which to do so. This would not only shift the debate back to popular relevance, but would also show why aviation is so vital to the UK’s future in a human and untarnished way.
To show people why aviation is vital
Advocacy is most powerful when it comes through independent voices and taps into shared experiences and values. By allowing and incentivising individuals to communicate their stories, the aviation industry will be able to show the wider public how aviation is important and allow them to relate to the reasons why.
How to do this?
One mechanism would be to establish a digital platform for individuals to contribute what aviation means to them; through this building constructive debate and positive content but also, more importantly, counteracting the nimbyist opinions so regularly publicised by media.
The platform would have to be engaging, interactive and contributor-centric with videos, opinion pieces, interviews and personal stories, as well as surveys, and discussions around specific themes. The platform could also facilitate conversations that provide everyone with both a voice and the ability to offer a rational response.
What about opposition?
Opposition to the industry is never going to go away, but what such a platform would show is that proponents of capacity expansion are not simply big companies and established aviation vested interests. It might also serve as an ideal way to contrast the often limited, self-centered arguments of opponents against the everyday stories those trying to make a living from an industry vital to the UK’s prosperity.
The challenge is that to do this, the focus needs to shift to the bigger picture. If any organisation within the aviation industry wants to take the leap, associate itself directly with all that is positive about aviation, Sermelo would be delighted to help.