15 May

Meet the ABTA Public Affairs Team

The ABTA Public Affairs team is made up of four professionals with a wide range of knowledge and experience reporting to Luke Petherbridge, who many of you will know through his columns in the trade press, expert opinions in the media and presentations to select committees. The department provides an invaluable lobbying outlet ensuring that ABTA and our members’ views are respected and heard by decision makers.  

Julia Ogiehor has recently taken up a new position within the team as Policy and Trade Relations Manager, utilising her expertise and contacts across the transport sector, and collaborating with colleagues across ABTA departments, to lead and coordinate policies on aviation, border control, and cruise-related issues. Julia also represents ABTA at IATA’s APJC and leads ABTA advocacy work on trade relations issues, including maintaining relationships with key industry stakeholders from across the travel and tourism industry. Prior to taking up this new role, Julia was Public Affairs Manager, and is in her second spell with ABTA having being Senior Public Affairs Executive until 2018, before leaving to work for an MEP and then going on to the Civil Aviation Authority.

Oliver Clark, the newly appointed Public Affairs Manager, spearheads the organisation’s interactions with elected officials throughout the UK’s four nations. This year, his primary objective is to foster relationships with cross-party MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs), aiming to garner backing for the initiatives outlined in ABTA’s newly unveiled manifesto. He is your go-to guy for navigating parliamentary matters, staying abreast of policy evolutions, and assisting members in addressing policy-related hurdles and prospects within the industry.

Wilma Thaning is the UK and EU Public Affairs Executive, focusing on travel and tourism policy matters across the UK and Europe, and supporting the team's various engagement activities. Before joining ABTA, Wilma held a policy and communications role in the sustainable finance sector in Brussels. Wilma also holds a master's degree in international relations and international institutions from the University of Groningen, Netherlands, and a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the University of Westminster, London.

Trudie Clements is well-known in the travel industry as the Director of ABTA LifeLine. However, prior to this she worked for 12-years at British Airways helping to shape the airline’s environmental strategy by spearheading initiatives to integrate sustainability into its operations. Whilst at BA she was also seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where she established the UK Sustainable Tourism Initiative, uniting stakeholders from the travel industry, government, and NGO community to address sustainable tourism. This initiative later evolved into The Travel Foundation, a leading charity and specialist advisory body. Trudie brings a wealth of experience to support ABTA’s policy and advocacy work around aviation, especially on sustainability matters.