INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Crash teaches airline tough lesson in crisis planning

BUENOS AIRES: Lineas Aereas Privadas Argentinas, a private Argentine airline, is practically writing the book about how not to handle crisis communications in the wake of a fatal crash.

BUENOS AIRES: Lineas Aereas Privadas Argentinas, a private Argentine airline, is practically writing the book about how not to handle crisis communications in the wake of a fatal crash.

BUENOS AIRES: Lineas Aereas Privadas Argentinas, a private

Argentine airline, is practically writing the book about how not to

handle crisis communications in the wake of a fatal crash.



Within 30 minutes of a crash that left 70 dead, live footage of the

wreckage was broadcast around the world. LAPA president Andy Deutsch,

however, stayed behind closed doors. While a spokesperson initially

blamed the crash on a new airplane tax that compromised its maintenance

budgets, Deutsch later speculated that birds lodged in the engine.



Though flight attendants discussed safety issues with the media, no

spokesperson defended LAPA when maintenance workers and former pilots

complained of poor maintenance practices. Even the wildest rumors gained

credence as a result of the airline’s silence. Reports that the group

tried to hide the plane’s black box from investigators went uncontested,

as did rumors that the pilot was alive and being hidden by the LAPA.



Two days passed before the airline expressed its sympathy to victims’

families, and no flowers were sent to the funeral of the co-pilot.



Not surprisingly, the airline is re-evaluating its public relations

relationships in the wake of the crash. LAPA’s public relations agency,

Nardelli and Associates, will likely be replaced by either Nueva

Communication or Burson-Marsteller, both of whom have been asked to

prepare proposals.



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