bmi British Midland hands entire PR account to H&K

UK carrier bmi British Midland has consolidated all its external PR

business into Hill & Knowlton as the airline industry faces continued

difficulties.



The agency has been handling public affairs for the airline since last

June when it won the account jointly with Weber Shandwick from 18-year

retained firm BSMG Worldwide (PRWeek, 11 May 2001).



The media relations win for H&K follows a competitive pitch against

Weber Shandwick and start-up shop Four Communications.



H&K director of public and corporate affairs Simon Miller said: 'It

makes sense to have media relations and PA together at this time.'



The agency started work last week with the announcement of the creation

of bmi British Midland's no-frills service, and is expected to handle

further announcements about branding and routes soon.



The East Midlands Airport-based company's low-cost airline, whose livery

will be unveiled next week, is to be called bmi baby. Services begin on

23 March, to destinations including Barcelona and Nice. A company

spokesperson said the launch of that service would be handled by the

firm's in-house PR team. Campaigning issues for H&K include

regulation.



An 'Open Skies' media relations and public affairs campaign, to break

the arrangement under which the number of airlines flying between

Heathrow and the US is limited to four, is set to follow.



The contract involves the agency providing media relations for the

airline's involvement in the Star Alliance, the global network of

airlines.



The account will be run by Miller, whose team will report to Tony Davis,

British Midland director of industry affairs and alliances.



- H&K has appointed Diane Donlon as MD of its healthcare arm following

the promotion of incumbent Wendy Mair to practice chairman.



US citizen Donlon joins from healthcare specialist Ruder Finn, where she

served as executive vice-president. Previously she had worked for ten

years as director of public affairs for Hoffman-La Roche in the US and

was also healthcare liaison for Mario Cuomo when he was governor of New

York.



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