As Concorde prepares for US return, PR briefings launch in earnest

LONDON: British Airways (BA) has started rolling out a PR effort

for troubled Concorde in anticipation of plans to resume service later

this year. BA is planning a campaign in New York next month to target

loyal Concorde flyers in the US.



The date of the event has not yet been disclosed. As none of the

Concorde aircrafts are located in the US, BA will send its chief

Concorde pilot and senior members of the engineering team to brief key

customers about the dollars 44 million safety modifications being made

to the fleet.



Concorde was grounded following the crash of an Air France Concorde in

July 2000, which killed 113 people.



This will be the second scheduled BA event reaching out to the most

frequent users of the supersonic aircraft. Last week, BA hosted a

luncheon and briefing for 25 frequent Concorde travelers in London.

According to the UK Financial Times, the group included WPP CEO Sir

Martin Sorrell and Sir Roger Hurn, chairman of Marconi and

Prudential.



'They were able to see how these modifications are being carried out, to

pick out and handle the equipment that is being brought on board,' said

Michael Blunt, head of special projects in BA's communications

department.



Kevlar rubber lining is being put into the fuel tanks and the wings. 'It

was a touch of an industrial-style visit,' Blunt said.



BA has managed the crisis in-house, working closely with Air France, and

with joint suppliers EADS and BAE. BA has also been writing letters to a

wider group of Concorde flyers and telephoning its frequent flyers to

keep them up to date with progress.



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