Four lands wide-ranging bmi consumer PR brief

British airline bmi has consolidated all of its consumer PR work into one brief, handing a two-year account to Four Communications after a six-way pitch.

The airline has ended its relationship with Mere Communications, which had worked on its long-haul destinations. The scope of Four’s brief has been widened to cover all consumer and trade work until January 2010.

Four will support bmi’s ­development, focusing on new ser­vices including long-haul flights from Manchester and exp­anding Middle Eastern routes.

The airline ­acquired British Mediterranean Airways earlier this year, launching new flights to Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Georgia in the process. It will start flying to Israel next year. The company operates 1,800 flights per week out of Heathrow, second only to British Airways.

It is tipped to benefit from the new ‘open skies’ agreement between the US and Europe.

The airline said it would take time to assess its options before launching a transatlantic service in 2009. It rec-ently launched a thrice-weekly service from Manchester to Barbados.

Four associate director Emma Robertson will continue to lead the bmi consumer team, reporting to And­rew Dufty, general manager of marketing at bmi.

Dufty cited Four’s experience in the travel sector as a deciding factor in its appointment. The agency has worked with aviation clients including Etihad Airways and has supported bmi since 2003.

‘This year has brought us new markets and new audiences,’ said Dufty. ‘We needed an agency team with a thorough understanding of this competitive market.’

In a separate brief, Four’s head of travel PR Lis Griffiths heads another team that supports bmi’s corporate comms in-house division.  This part of the business was not reviewed during bmi’s comms overhaul.

Four has offices in London, Liverpool, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Its non-travel clients include estate agents Knight Frank, accountants Accenture and investment bank JPMorgan.

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