WASHINGTON, DC: Middle Eastern airline EgyptAir has handed Hill and
Knowlton a crisis management brief, ahead of the investigation report
into the cause of last year’s crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 which crashed
into the Atlantic Ocean.
Controversy continues to surround the crash on 31 October, which claimed
217 lives. US authorities initially attributed it to the suicide of
co-pilot Gameel Batouti, but the Egyptian government has publicly
disagreed with this.
Dr Samir El Shanawany, the airline’s general manager for North America,
declined to comment. While H&K refused to discuss the assignment, its
budget or length of the contract with EgyptAir, senior managing director
Ed Belkin acknowledged that H&K had been retained by the airline, along
with two high-powered law firms.
Larry Smith, president of the Institute for Crisis Management, said H&K
must quickly develop a plan to restore consumer confidence and employee
’It’s particularly important for a company like EgyptAir to deal with
speculation,’ he said. ’The investigation has implied a number of
things, and it still has months to go.’
It is estimated that the National Transportation Safety Board and FBI
investigations of the crash have already cost more than pounds 10
Smith said: ’When the report is complete, it will bring the story back
to the front pages TV screens,’ he said.
Smith cited the importance of clearly delineating the key audiences for
a PR push. A very public incident such as the Flight 990 crash, he
explained, often results in client and agency disagreeing on the scope
of the crisis campaign, with the client usually wanting to appeal to a