NEW YORK: Positioning itself for an upswing in the airline industry after a dismal 2009, airline carrier British Airways hired Los Angeles-based Agnes Huff Communications Group for regional PR initiatives.
“Last year there were no profits," said John Lampl, British Airways' VP of corporate communications, Americas. "We are not rumbling on the bottom anymore.”
Los Angeles is British Airways' second largest market in the US in terms of revenue and number of passengers behind New York, Lampl said. “The smaller and regional stuff can slip through the cracks, " he added. "I don't want that to happen.
Agnes Huff, president and CEO of the firm, will head the account, which is an 18-month contract. The firm will focus on fostering local media opportunities, including speaking engagements, community outreach, exploring sales and marketing activities, and customer service support at airports, Lampl said. He declined to disclose how much the account is worth.
Lampl said there was no formal RFP process for the account because Agnes Huff Communications Group worked for British Airways roughly 10 years ago. The appointment doesn't replace an incumbent agency. “This is an agency with a proven track record," he said. "I wanted a boutique agency.”
In North America, British Airways also employs Text 100 and Weber Shandwick.
The hire comes at a time when the airline industry is on an uptick, and British Airways wants to win more market share over domestic rivals such as United Airlines.
The goal is “greater share of the ink...and eventually greater share of the wallet,” Lampl said.
Additional reporting by Alexandra Bruell