Review sees British Airways slash global comms spend

The cost-cutting frenzy that has engulfed British Airways has now spread to its PR spend with the airline cutting global comms budgets by one fifth.

BA: cabin crew rejected cost-cutting plans
BA: cabin crew rejected cost-cutting plans

PRWeek has learned that BA is poised to appoint Fleishman-Hillard to handle its global PR business. Cohn & Wolfe has overseen the Northern Europe account for the past decade, but loses out as a result of BA’s determination to bring down its £2m PR spend.

Earlier this week, BA cabin-crew workers overwhelm­ingly rejected a slew of cost-cutting proposals, raising
the spectre of a crippling summer strike.

Meanwhile 800 of the airline’s staffers have committed to work without pay this month.

‘In some senses it is asking agencies to give up a month’s pay as well,’ said a source inv­olved in the PR review, adding that BA had asked agencies to reduce the current £2m PR budget by at least 20 per cent.

Cohn & Wolfe regional director Mark Cater said: ‘BA’s desire to significantly drive down costs means we are no longer able to match its req­uirements without impacting our high quality service.’

BA called the review earlier this year (prweek.com, 1 May). The airline is believed to be in final negotiations with F-H to handle the account covering Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, but not the UK and the US.

In addition to Cohn & Wolfe, the pitch included Pacific region incumbent Grayling and MS&L.

BA PR manager Anne Morton said: ‘Cost is obviously a key factor in our selection criteria, but quality of service, media relations skills and the ability to cover our extensive global network are equally important.’

The review follows a consolidation of BA’s global comms structure into one geographic region, headed by PR manager Anne Morton.

At its peak three years ago the business was understood to be worth £3m.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.