#GreattobeBAck: British Airways wins PR gold as Team GB returns from Rio

British Airways has won praise from PR pros this morning for the publicity blitz around the return of Great Britain's stars from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Team GB’s Olympians landed in Heathrow this morning following a journey on a chartered flight BA2016.

During the flight, the athletes shared pictures of the journey on social media using #greattobeBAck, while BA - the official airline partner of Team GB - also used the hashtag to update on the plane’s journey and share other photos with the Olympic stars.

A spokesman for BA told PRWeek that the PR activity has been managed by the airline’s in-house PR team. "It was a huge team effort, managed by British Airways head of brand PR Amanda Allan, who began planning weeks ago with the BOA (British Olympics Association)/Team GB, several operational and marketing teams around the airline, Heathrow Airport and NATS (National Air Traffic Services).

"This included honouring Team GB’s successful athletes with painting the nose of the jumbo jet gold and creating a public vote to name the plane ‘victoRIOus’ which was emblazoned on the side, right through to planning and delivering the arrival event of 320 athletes and support staff.

"It was a real team effort with the whole of the communications department managing the event on the day."

The event received widespread publicity on numerous media outlets in the UK this morning.

It came in for praise from UK PR professionals.

...although one prominent PR figure, Porta chief operating officer Gavin Devine, added this cheeky caveat:

Allan said: "There’s been such a buzz around the airline as we’ve been cheering every Team GB performance on – and they didn’t let us down."

This article was updated on the afternoon of Tuesday 23 August with comment from BA.

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