CAMPAIGN: Aer Arann launches five new Ireland-UK routes

With bases in Cork, Galway and Waterford, regional airline Aer Arann operates more than 600 flights per week, handling over 1.1million passengers each year and they hired travel PR specialist Rooster to publicise their arrival in the UK.

Aer Arann: fuel-efficient turboprop planes
Aer Arann: fuel-efficient turboprop planes

Campaign: UK Launch of Aer Arann
Client: Aer Arann
PR Team: Rooster
Timescale: Ongoing from February 2007
Budget: £25,000 to £50,000

Run by Irish entrepreneur Padraig O'Ceidigh, in February 2007 the airline decided to launch in the UK with five new routes: Manchester to Sligo, Birmingham to Waterford, Bristol to Nantes/Galway, Cardiff to Nantes and Newcastle to Galway.

Objectives
To generate visibility in the UK regional and national press and increase passenger numbers across both leisure and business. To raise the profile of the company surrounding the launches of its five UK regional routes.

'Takeoff'
To introduce writers to Aer Arann's management, Rooster organised meetings with journalists from titles including The Financial Times, The Sunday Times and Business Travel World.

This was backed by press trips in conjunction with Tourism Ireland on three of the new routes.

To counter any negative publicity around the environmental impact of the expansion, the PR team laid on a flight around Luton airport to showcase its new fleet of fuel-efficient turboprop planes to journalists.

To launch the new routes, the PR team focused on regional news hooks and local celebrities such as Sir Alex Ferguson in Manchester and England rugby player Olly Morgan in Bristol. This was backed by radio promotions, and ticket giveaways at airports.

To help familiarise consumers with the airline, Rooster posted a video of a turboprop plane taking off on Youtube.

'Landing'
Coverage ran across the broadsheets, including The Sunday Times, The Obs­erver and The Telegraph, with a profile appearing in The Financial Times. Other national titles included The Sun, The People, The Mirror, Metro and The Sunday Express.

Route launches were covered by a range of regionals, including The Western Mail, Birmingham Post and Bristol Post.

Results
The Youtube viral has been viewed more than 7,500 times and additionally, the airline has seen a significant uplift in passenger numbers. Ninety-nine per cent of seats were sold for Friday 24 August.

Derek Rhind, editor of Travel Daily UK who attended a weekend trip to Ireland and the Luton event, said: ‘Aer Arann is really on the ball with its promotions, and sends us press invites and photography almost every week.'

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