Malaysia Airlines advised by former Virgin Atlantic comms chief Paul Charles

A team from UK PR agency Perowne Charles Communications (PCC) is in Amsterdam to assist Malaysia Airlines with communications around the MH17 disaster, PRWeek understands.

Malaysia Airlines: handling situation from Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines: handling situation from Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur

The flight, which is reported to have been shot down yesterday by a surface-to-air missile while in Ukrainian airspace, resulting in the deaths of all 298 people on board, originated in Amsterdam and was headed to Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia Airlines is basing its comms operation out of Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam, where its European senior vice-president Huib Gorter is based. Gorter is acting as its main spokesperson.

The team from PCC, which has handled Malaysia Airlines' PR in the UK and Ireland since 2012, is handling daily issues around the incident and the airline's communications strategy across the world.

Agency founder and former global communications director at Virgin Atlantic Paul Charles is believed to be leading the team. He has confirmed he is in Amsterdam but declined to comment further.

Charles is understood to have also advised the airline following the disappearance of flight MH370 in March.

Around half of the passengers were Dutch, though Malaysia Airlines is not believed to have a local agency in place.

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