WASHINGTON, DC: With last year’s crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 still fresh in most people’s minds - and international quarreling over its cause keeping it in the papers - the beleaguered airline has turned to Hill & Knowlton for crisis support.
WASHINGTON, DC: With last year’s crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 still
fresh in most people’s minds - and international quarreling over its
cause keeping it in the papers - the beleaguered airline has turned to
Hill & Knowlton for crisis support.
Controversy and mystery continue to swirl around the October 31 crash,
which claimed 217 lives. US authorities initially attributed it to the
suicide of co-pilot Gameel Batouti, but the Egyptian government has
vehemently - and very publicly - disagreed with this conclusion.
Larry Smith, president of the Institute for Crisis Management, said H&K
must quickly develop a plan to restore consumer confidence and employee
’It’s particularly important for a company like EgyptAir to deal with
speculation,’ he said. ’The investigation has implied a number of
things, and it still has months to go.’ The Washington Post has
estimated that the National Transportation Safety Board and FBI
investigations of the crash have cost dollars 17 million.
Smith compared the incident to an earthquake and said that the
aftershocks are not over: ’When the report is completed, it will bring
the story back to the front page of newspapers and onto TV.’
Smith also cited the importance of clearly delineating the key audiences
for the PR push. A very public incident such as the Flight 990 crash, he
explained, often results in client and agency disagreeing on the scope
of the crisis campaign, with the client usually wanting to appeal to a
Adding to the difficulty of H&K’s assignment are its political
Egypt is one of the largest beneficiaries of US foreign aid, not to
mention a close ally.
Dr. Samir El Shanawany, EgyptAir’s North American general manager, did
not return calls for comment. While H&K declined to discuss the
assignment, its budget or the length of its contract with EgyptAir,
senior managing director Ed Belkin acknowledged that two high-powered
law firms have also been retained by the airline.