Air alliance Oneworld seeks global agency

Oneworld, the airline alliance whose members include British Airways and American Airlines, is seeking its first worldwide consumer and corporate PR agency.

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

September).



A spokesman for American Airlines added: ’It will be a collective

decision.



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.



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