BA drafts in PR firm for Concorde retirement

British Airways has bolstered the PR capabilities for its media handling of Concorde’s final days as a commercial airliner, by drafting in Jackie Cooper PR to provide consumer PR support.

It emerged this week that JCPR has secured ‘rostered agency’ status with BA and has been hired to handle both the retirement of the supersonic airliner and a separate consumer PR campaign to promote BA as a ‘family-friendly’ airline.

The media interest and PR potential surrounding the retirement of Concorde – scheduled for 24 October – have already been seized on by rival airline Virgin Atlantic, whose chairman Sir Richard Branson is reportedly prepared to pay £5m for BA’s five operational Concordes.

Branson’s advances have been flatly rejected by BA, which has repeatedly insisted that the planes its predecessor BOAC took control of from the British Government in the 1970s are not for sale and that they will not fly commercially beyond their retirement date.

BA senior manager commercial and international communications Sara John said JCPR had been hired to handle ‘press events’ and dispense ‘strategic advice’ surrounding Concorde’s retirement.

She said JCPR would support a PR strategy that had already been devised by the airline’s in-house 20-strong media relations team.

John insisted: ‘This is nothing to do with Virgin Atlantic - it is to do with creative and consumer PR work on Concorde’s retirement.’

JCPR managing director Remi Baker, who said the PR campaign would attempt to ‘ensure Concorde retires gracefully’, said the agency is also planning to target the mainstream and consumer press as part of a separate push to position BA as family-friendly.

For its side of the Concorde battle, Virgin Atlantic has not hired external agency support, with media interest being handled in-house through the team headed by the airline’s director of corporate affairs Paul Moore.

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