Luther Pendragon lands Boeing corporate brief

Boeing is poised to appoint Luther Pendragon as its UK corporate adviser as the firm is locked in a dogfight with rival airline supplier Airbus and battles to secure vital military contracts.

Luther is to start work on the revised brief next month, ending Harrison Cowley’s four-year relationship with the company.

Luther partner and former Rolls-Royce head of media relations Chris Springham will lead the account.

The hire follows a three-way pitch for the account, called at the end of last year (PRWeek, 3 December 2004).

Luther’s appointment will centre on issues such as Boeing’s corporate profile and the firm’s battle with Airbus for dominance of the world’s civil aeroplane industry.

Boeing is to decide this June whether to build a bigger version of its 747

to take on Airbus’s A380 double-decker passenger aeroplane, launched last month.

Boeing is also preparing to launch its 7E7 ‘dreamliner’, a 257-seat plane that it claims is faster and quieter than existing airliners. A significant amount of the account will also involve public affairs work.

As the world’s biggest manufacturer of civilian aircraft still in service, Boeing has several government stakeholders, including the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department of Transport.

The company is also in the midst of a joint bid with French aerospace rival Thales for a Ministry of Defence military flying training contract.

Boeing’s defence business, which accounts for more than half of the company’s revenues, is also under pressure. The US military, one of Boeing’s major clients, plans to cut £16.1bn in weapons costs over the next six years.

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