BA seeks agency to keep up Eye impetus

BA is set to stage a competitive pitch next month to pick a consumer agency for the London Eye, the millennium ferris wheel dominating the capital’s skyline.

BA is set to stage a competitive pitch next month to pick a

consumer agency for the London Eye, the millennium ferris wheel

dominating the capital’s skyline.



The annual brief, for which credentials were presented this week, will

report to BA media relations manager Kate Gay. She has been seconded for

more than a year to the Eye which, despite opening delays and early

safety concerns, has managed largely to avoid negative press

coverage.



’We need an agency to handle the interest generated so far and continue

the momentum,’ said Gay .



The Eye has permission to remain in place until 2005, but BA hopes its

soaring popularity will ensure it becomes a fixture on the Thames.



The positive public response to the wheel has been a rare plus for BA,

which has been beset by problems recently. Last month chief executive

Robert Ayling resigned while BA recorded a pounds 60 million loss in the

final quarter of 1999. In a bid to restore company confidence, the

airline has hired Andrew Cahn to fill the newly-created post of

Government and industry affairs director. Reporting to general counsel

Robert Webb QC, Cahn assumes his post in June.



A civil servant with 20 years experience, Cahn joins BA from the

European Commission, where he has headed vice-president Neil Kinnock’s

private office for three years.



Public affairs previously fell within corporate affairs director David

Holmes’ remit until his retirement more than a year ago. Robert Webb has

managed the area since then.



Cahn comes to the brief as BA enters sensitive discussions on alliances,

mergers, landing slots at US airports and other aspects of competition

policy. Although his reporting line heads to the legal department, Cahn

will try to influence Government decisions, working closely with

communications director Simon Walker.



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