Singapore Airlines PR responds to crash

LOS ANGELES: Singapore Airlines' PR department adroitly handled the first fatal crash in its 28-year history, despite long distances, difficult time differences and a raging typhoon.

LOS ANGELES: Singapore Airlines' PR department adroitly handled the first fatal crash in its 28-year history, despite long distances, difficult time differences and a raging typhoon.

LOS ANGELES: Singapore Airlines' PR department adroitly handled the first fatal crash in its 28-year history, despite long distances, difficult time differences and a raging typhoon.

The 747, carrying 159 passengers and 20 crew members, crashed on takeoff from Taipei Airport October 31, shortly after 11pm local time (7am in Los Angeles, the plane's destination).

But, despite the middle-of-the-night timing and the fact that Taiwan was in the midst of a typhoon, the airline's PR office in Singapore issued a brief statement less than three hours later.

At LA International Airport, Jim Boyd, director of PR, North America, for the Asian airline, read the statement and calmly fended off questions from reporters before live cameras at a hastily called media briefing.

Fox Cable TV News was already rolling footage from Taiwan, allowing viewers in the East and Midwest to follow the developing story during lunch.

Throughout Wednesday morning, Singapore continued issuing updates, followed by a passenger and crew list complete with name, ticket routing, nationality and sex at 9:30am. These releases were made available simultaneously in Taiwan, LA and on the airline's Web site.

The Web site posted separate telephone contact numbers in Singapore and Los Angeles for relatives and media.

By midday Wednesday in the Far East, Singapore Airlines also had announced special flights from Singapore and LA to Taiwan for relatives of passengers.

Less than 24 hours after the crash, the airline was able to deflect criticism for allowing its airplane to take off in the storm. Another flight had departed 15 minutes earlier, the flight's captain had flown out of Taipei several times in September and takeoffs in bad weather were far from unusual, the airline told the Associated Press.



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