Gatwick Airport prepares to review consumer and digital PR

Gatwick Airport is in the early stages of drawing up a brief for its consumer and digital PR accounts, which are handled by The Red Consultancy and Rabbit respectively.

The way ahead: Gatwick Airport is trying to secure a new runway
The way ahead: Gatwick Airport is trying to secure a new runway

The review comes as the airport seeks to move on from winter chaos and show off its global credentials to consumers while the Government considers how best to grow Britain’s transport capacity. 

Gatwick media relations manager Heather Griffiths said that both agencies had been invited to repitch for the work, with the formal procurement process likely to begin next month.

Referencing Gatwick’s sale by Heathrow owner BAA to Global Infrastructure Partners, she said: "Gatwick has come a long way in four-and-a-half years of new ownership and has really transformed not just in terms of its facilities but how it is perceived.

"Traditionally it has been a leisure airport but there is a growing business element to it, and it now serves a lot more long-haul routes. It’s about changing the perception of it from a ‘bucket and spade’ holiday [carrier] to a world class facility." 

Gatwick has pledged to spend a further £1bn in the airport between this year and 2019 as it makes the case to be allowed a new runway in the South East amid fraught political considerations.

In a report released earlier this month, and ahead of a final recommendation expected in 2015, the Airport Commission shortlisted a third runway at Heathrow and a second runway at Gatwick as likely final contenders for airport expansion. 

However, Gatwick's image will not have been helped by travel delays over Christmas, which prompted an apology from CEO Stewart Wingate. 

Consumer perceptions were an "important strand" in the broader comms effort around the Airport Commission's deliberations, Griffiths claimed, adding:

"Passengers are at the heart of the aviation debate, and any activities we do in digital and consumer will need to show an awareness of what’s happening more widely. It is about getting people involved in the debate and ensuring their views are heard, with social media a really important part of that." 

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