INTERNATIONAL: BA hands Oz and NZ brief to Porter Novelli Australia

SYDNEY/MANILA: British Airways has consolidated its Australian and New Zealand PR accounts and appointed Porter Novelli Australia to the business.

The move comes as the carrier reviews its PR services elsewhere in the region.

BA South-West Pacific PR and promotions manager Lucy Hays said eight consultancies joined the fray when the account was put up for pitch in January.

The business was previously handled by Prue MacSween & Associates in Sydney and Raynish & Partners in NZ.

Bundling PR services under the umbrella of a single consultancy is expected to bring greater efficiencies to BA's PR operations.

'Having to spend the time briefing two agencies didn't make sense,' Hays said.

She identified one of the challenges for Porter Novelli over the next year as helping BA to drive awareness of the airline's recent 'Next Generation' initiatives, which saw a £2.8m investment into services including its new premier economy cabin World Traveller Plus.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, BA is expected to review its need for PR services shortly, following the suspension of flights from Hong Kong to Manila and Taipei last month.

Fuentes Publicity president Ed Fuentes, who has been handling BA's consumer and corporate PR for the past 11 years, said the airline had decided recently to maintain its retainer with Fuentes.

By the end of the year, he predicted passenger traffic would be re-assessed to see whether the suspension of services would remain or be lifted.

Manila-based PR shop Buensalido & Associates recently lost the Qantas Airways comms account, as a result of cost-cutting measures by the Australian carrier.

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