Agencies queue up for BA public affairs remit

British Airways has put its six-figure public affairs account -

currently held by Lexington Communications - up for grabs.

The airline giant is understood to have seen six agencies and is

expected to make a decision within weeks.

BA spokeswoman Amanda Allan said the pitch was being held as Lexington's

three-year contract is up for renewal.

She confirmed that Lexington has repitched for the account. Other

agencies understood to be taking part include GPC and APCO.

Allan said: 'We are happy with Lexington's service to us. Their

three-year contract has come up for renewal at the end of this year and

we will be reviewing our needs and the services available in the market.

It's wrong to suggest that there are any other reasons for having this

review. Lexington will be re-tendering as part of that process.'

BA was one of Lexington's first clients when it formed three years ago.

Lexington partner Mike Craven had previously worked with BA when he was

with GPC, which handled the public affairs account before 1998.

BA's retained financial agency Brunswick also carries out some public

affairs work for the airline on a project basis.

Craven handles the account and reports to BA parliamentary affairs

manager Jane Johnston.

Earlier this year BA overhauled its in-house PR structure, replacing its

internal and external divisions with five new sectors (PRWeek, 13


These are: newsdesk; internal communications channels; commercial;

operations; and central departments, which includes public affairs work

as well as financial and legal affairs.

One major issue facing the selected agency is BA's revived plan for a

pounds 5bn merger with Dutch flag carrier KLM. The companies' first

attempt to merge failed when competition authorities in both countries

refused them permission.

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