Air Canada hires Johnston Associates for UK PR brief

Aviation specialist Johnston Associates has been appointed as the

UK PR agency for Air Canada, the biggest carrier by volume between the

UK and Canada.

The hire follows the airline's decision to end ties with incumbent

Bacall Associates. It covers a round-the-clock press service and a fresh

PR strategy for the airline next year.

It comes at a time when the North American aviation sector is

consolidating - the recent collapse of Canada 3000 followed just months

after Air Canada swallowed up its main rival Canadian Airlines.

London-based Johnston Associates, headed by Kevin Johnston, has been

awarded an ongoing contract with Air Canada.

Ruth Hornsby, formerly a consultant at Hancock Communications where she

worked on the Hyatt Hotels and Resorts business, will manage the Air

Canada account.

She will work to UK passenger sales manager Robert Atkinson and Air

Canada director of corporate communications John Reber in Montreal.

The agency already has a high-fee PR contract with United Airlines

which, together with Air Canada, is a founding partner of the Star

Alliance global grouping of carrriers. Johnston also carries out project

work for Star.

He has worked on the United account for more than three years and, prior

to that, oversaw the PR efforts for the earlier stages of the Terminal 5

public inquiry at Heathrow.

'Those who communicate now with the media will reap the benefits in the

long-term. Air Canada has a presence in the UK but there is work to be

done to raise its profile further,' Johnston said.

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