THIS WEEK’S BIGPITCH: After JFK’s crash should manufacturers of small planes use PR to reassure the public on safety?

CHRIS ROSICA, Rosica Mulhern PR, Paramus, NJ

CHRIS ROSICA, Rosica Mulhern PR, Paramus, NJ

CHRIS ROSICA, Rosica Mulhern PR, Paramus, NJ

In Chinese, the word ’crisis’ means danger and opportunity. While the

JFK Jr. disaster provoked a media outpouring on the hazards involved

with private aircraft flight, this tragedy could also be an opportunity

for airline manufacturers and carriers to proactively disseminate their

positive news. Layering positive stories takes the air out of crisis


Therefore, this should be done on an ongoing basis and not just as a

response to public outcry or negative publicity. As public relations

counsel to the world’s largest privately held aviation company, we

strongly suggest that the manufacturers of small aircraft take this

opportunity to extol the merits and safety features of their planes.

MIKE SWENSON, Barkley Evergreen & Partners, Kansas City, MO

It would be a good idea for the aviation industry to touch base with

their consumers as well as with the public at large. Every time you have

a high-profile incident like this one, it raises concerns among the

public that they don’t think about every day. A low-key educational

effort could be the answer. I say low-key on purpose - it wouldn’t be

good for the industry to be very aggressive.

If they came out and said, ’In light of the JFK crash ...,’ that would

be calling attention to safety concerns in a way that could alarm

people, and would likely backfire. Developing some materials to

reinforce what the industry does on a regular basis to ensure product

safety and quality control might be a good idea. Also, there should be a

pilot education component to any campaign. A lot of people want to learn

how to fly, but it’s not like driving a car, where there’s a lot more

leeway to get out of a mistake. If any good could come out of a terrible

tragedy like this, that would be it.

SUSAN KRICUN, Ink Communications, Phoenix

In a sense, I think we’ve all learned a lot about small aircraft through

this crisis. The reason I say this is because any information you

receive can be beneficial, whether about safety, training or whatever

else. Any campaign should give people the information they need to make

a decision on their own about small planes. What the industry is faced

with after an incident like the JFK Jr. crash is a form of crisis

management, really. The bottom line is that manufacturers of small

planes want their products flown safely, and there will always be people

who want to fly planes. A high-profile tragedy is not going to keep them

from flying, so the industry should band together for an educational


And it’s the responsibility of the PR industry to frame this information

in a clear and concise way

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