Oneworld, the airline alliance whose members include British
Airways and American Airlines, is seeking its first worldwide consumer
and corporate PR agency.
The decision comes as competition for passengers between Oneworld and
its arch-rival Star Alliance hots up and airlines scramble to affiliate
themselves with one or the other alliance.
The communications directors of Oneworld’s seven member airlines have
approached six agencies with a global network and asked them to put
forward proposals to boost the alliance’s PR.
The PR chiefs, including British Airways communications director Simon
Walker and American Airlines corporate communications vice- president
Tim Doke, are due to meet in Hong Kong this week to further discuss
appointing an agency.
Walker said that the decision to appoint was at its very early stages
and that Oneworld would not go down the road favoured by Star Alliance,
which has set up a dedicated media relations team (PR Week, 3
A spokesman for American Airlines added: ’It will be a collective
The reason for the appointment is that the PR departments of Oneworld
members are busy with day-to-day communicating. To get a better focus
and emphasis, it would be better to get an agency to work with us.’
Oneworld’s members alongside BA and AA are: Cathay Pacific, Canadian
Airlines, Qantas, Iberia and Finnair. Chilean airline LanChile has
announced it will join Oneworld in 2000.
Oneworld was launched at the start of this year. Last February, the
alliance members embarked on an ambitious plan to gradually merge their
sales offices, computer systems and even brand names. This followed the
failed attempt at a full-blown commercial alliance by BA and AA, which
was thwarted by European competition authorities.