Thomson holds firm on Dreamliner launch comms plan despite safety scares

Thomson, which is set to be the first UK operator to fly Boeing's new Dreamliner this spring, is planning to stick to its current launch comms strategy despite recent media coverage of safety scares.

Dreamliner: Thomson hold firm on comms around launch
Dreamliner: Thomson hold firm on comms around launch

The Dreamliner aircraft, which has already been plagued by delays, has hit the headlines this week with three incidents since Monday.

On Monday, a fire broke out on a stationary Dreamliner at Boston Logan airport, 15 minutes after passengers had left the aircraft.

Japan’s All Nippon Airways cancelled a flight due to brake problems, a day after Japan Airways cancelled its Boston to Tokyo flight when a Dreamliner aircraft spilled around 40 gallons of fuel.

Boeing has issued a statement about the US incident, saying it was ‘working closely’ with the National Transportation Safety Boards (NTSB) and its other customer and government agencies in the US as part of an investigation into the incident.

The aircraft is set to be introduced to the UK in May by TUI-owned company Thomson Airways, which has already run  advertising vaunting the Dreamliner, using the line: 'Be the first to fly on the plane everyone’s talking about – only with Thomson.'

Speaking to PRWeek yesterday, TUI’s head of external communications Fiona Jennings said the recent Dreamliner incidents had ‘not made a difference’ to PR plans for the launch of the aircraft.

Jennings said TUI, which works with Hill + Knowlton Strategies, had no plans to change its upcoming PR activity around the aircraft, of which it is set to take delivery on 4 March.

She added that the travel operator has had ‘no feedback from customers that they have any concerns’.

Jennings promised the coming months would see Thomson ‘keeping up momentum’ with previous work and highlighting the new plane as a key component in its commitment to ‘modernising the holiday experience’.

TUI also issued the following statement: ‘Having checked with Boeing we have no reason to believe the delivery of our first 787 Dreamliner will be delayed. Our first Thomson Dreamliner is still on track to be delivered early this year. Boeing has reassured us that they are taking action to rectify the issues highlighted to them.’

Boeing has delayed the launch of the Dreamliner by more than three years, but claims the aircraft boasts a superior travel experience. It operates a different cabin pressure that leaves people feeling fresher after long-haul flights, a 60% noise reduction and a cutting-edge entertainment system in addition to using 20% less fuel than other aircraft.

British Airways said its delivery date for the Dreamliner aircraft was still on track for May this year, though the date for its launch is yet to be confirmed.

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