British Airways press team promotes benefits of merger with Iberia

The British Airways in-house communications team has been stressing the benefits of the company's planned merger with Spanish airline firm Iberia, announced last night.

Merger plans: British Airways
Merger plans: British Airways

The two airlines have reached a preliminary merger agreement expected to be completed in late 2010.  The deal, which is expected to get regulatory backing, would create the world's third biggest airline.

The in-house team at BA has been responding to media calls about the story since yesterday. It distributed a press release to the media on Thursday.

A BA spokeswoman said: ‘The key message has been to promote the benefits of the merger. It will increase frequency of the flights and strengthen investments in the company.'

Edelman CEO Robert Phillips warned that the merger needed to be handled carefully in order to avoid future problems.

‘There has always been a huge sensitivity over the "national" carrier,' said Phillips. ‘I am sure that the merger makes sense from a financial and global routes perspective, but I wonder where it leaves the brand, the employee and indeed the customer in the midst of it all?'

He added: ‘The BA leadership seems to be so focused on business performance that they have maybe marginalised the opinions of those who actually make the business tick. I think they need to urgently and deeply engage with these multiple stakeholder groups if the merger is to bring genuine success and not further strife.'

However, Porter Novelli director and head of CSR comms Neil Bayley said: 'The merger is a good idea and I'm confident both companies have a clear vision how they will reconcile the commercial benefits with stewardhip of their brands. BA will certainly have considered this very carefully.'

He added: 'It's not the time for sentimentality in the airline sector given the tough outlook. Standing still for BA was not an option given recent financial performance. This merger has been a long time coming, so there's been plenty of due diligence.'

The story led the BBC Breakfast show this morning and also appeared on the front page of the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Times. The Daily Mail ran with the story on page two with the headline ‘BA's £4bn merger with Iberia will cost thousands of jobs'.

Under the terms of the deal, Iberia would take a 45 per cent stake and BA. The British carrier last week reported a six-month pre-tax loss of £292m, a 55 per cent stake in the new company.

The merger announcement comes as both airlines are also negotiating with staff over strike action.

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.