Gatwick hires The Red Consultancy in bid to rival Heathrow Airport

The Red Consultancy briefed to position Gatwick as 'London's airport of choice'.

Passenger choice: Red to help Gatwick
Passenger choice: Red to help Gatwick

Gatwick Airport has handed The Red Consultancy a major new PR brief as it looks to challenge Heathrow's status as London's leading airport.

Following the £1.51bn sale of Gatwick to London City Airport owners Global Infrastructure Partners in 2009, the new owners have embarked on a £1bn investment programme to improve the passenger experience.

Gatwick has appointed Red on a three-year basis for a six-figure sum. The agency will help it communicate its objective to be 'London's airport of choice' for travellers whose journey begins or ends in London and south east England.

The appointment follows a competitive pitch process.

Gatwick Airport head of media relations Sarah Baranowski said: 'The agency is being brought in to show what the new airport will mean to passengers, to communicate the investment story and other benefits.'

Gatwick is the second busiest airport by total passenger traffic in the UK after Heathrow, while still being Europe's leading airport for point-to-point flights.

Red director of consumer Isobel Coney said: 'The Gatwick team is fantastic as it is well-equipped to handle press office activities. We're adding value with a consumer-led campaign they're bringing to life that Gatwick is London's airport of choice, focusing on the benefits of the new independence from BAA.'

Coney added that the agency had 'one central concept', which will harness third-party intelligence to show the commitment that Gatwick has to its customers.

The agency intends to put the message out via coverage in the front pages of top consumer titles and broadcast shows, as well as transport and travel pages.

Gatwick will continue to use online PR agency Rabbit, which was appointed last May. It also uses FD in Brussels for public affairs support.

CHANGING TIMES

June 2010: Gatwick Airport Limited launches a competitive brand featuring the tagline 'Your London Airport - Gatwick', created by advertising firm Lewis Moberly

December 2009: Ownership is transferred from BAA Limited to Global Infrastructure Partners

August 2008: A report by the Competition Commission into BAA's dominance calls on BAA to sell off Gatwick

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