Airlines trawl for PR agencies

Qantas and Ryanair are both seeking PR agencies as the airline industry finally hits pre-recession levels of passengers again.

Qantas, the national airline of Australia, is looking for an agency to handle consumer PR in the UK and Ireland.

The airline is calling for help with consumer, national, lifestyle and business press over the coming 12 months.

World Cup sponsor Qantas was the most searched-for of all official brands, topping grooming company Gillette and car hire company Hertz, according to The Independent.

The airline has focused on international expansion in recent years and 18 months ago held merger talks with British Airways.

Qantas has closed the credentials stage and is now developing a shortlist for pitches.

Meanwhile, Ryanair has launched a search for a corporate comms agency after splitting with its long-standing advisers because of a disagreement over fees.

Dublin-based Murray Consultants has represented the PR-savvy budget airline since before its stock market flotation in 1997 and has been involved in many media successes.

Ryanair head of communications Stephen McNamara confirmed: 'There were disagreements over a number of different parts of the contract, but fees were one issue.'

He explained what the airline is looking for in a new agency: 'Creativity is always welcome, but we're looking for an agency that has good media contacts because the role we need filled is media liaison.'

The controversial airline was in the news last week after claiming an EU court decision blocking a takeover of Aer Lingus would not stop it from bidding for the Irish carrier again.

Ryanair has also announced proposals to install 'vertical seats' on a range of short-haul flights within the next two years.

International Air Transport Association figures found the worldwide air travel returned to pre-recession levels in May after an 11.7 per cent surge in passengers during the month.

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