Comms boss Davis is named bmi baby MD

Bmi british midland government and industry relations director Tony Davis has been promoted to managing director of the airline's low-cost spin-off, bmi baby.

Davis attributed the rare appointment of a communications professional to a senior general management position to the nature of the low-cost airline business and his own 16 year experience in the sector.

'Media relations and communications is a significant part of gaining profile. Because we are dealing more directly with consumers than traditional airlines, who often deal through travel agents, we have to have strong promotional activity,' he said.

'Michael O'Leary at Ryanair and Stelios (Haji-Ioannou) at easyJet have demonstrated the importance of media participation and awareness of the importance of generating coverage,' he added.

Davis refuted suggestions that he would look to emulate the status of his rivals, stating: 'I aspire to emulate their success, but in technical and operational areas as well.'

The first bmi baby flights take off on 20 March. Davis said that the pre-launch publicity had been so successful the airline had already achieved a quarter of its sales targets for the year in the three weeks since details of the airline were announced.

Davis added bmi baby was looking to position itself 'in a gap in the middle' of the low-cost market: 'We're looking to be predominantly leisure based, but using more conventional airports.'

Currently, PR work for the airline is handled by bmi british midland's in-house team and retained agency Hill & Knowlton. Davis said that he does not envisage major change to this arrangement, adding that to ensure cost efficiency the bulk of the work would be handled in-house.

Government relations manager Will Lofberg will continue to run the London office. At a corporate level, the director of government affairs role now folds into the legal director and company secretary position, held by Tim Bye.

Leader, p8.

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