PROs rally round BA's Burns as he resigns

PR professionals this week lent their support to former British Airways head of comms Iain Burns, who quit on Monday following price-fixing allegations.

Burns's boss, commercial director Martin George, also resigned. ‘I recognise that within my department there may have been inappropriate conversations in violation of company policy in relation to longhaul fuel surcharges. I was not involved in such conversations,' said George in a statement.

One airline sector PRO said: ‘George was a board director and Burns would not have done anything he wasn't asked to. It seems like the board and the statement are protecting George. It is notable there was no statement from Iain.'

Another said: ‘The statement was carefully crafted and looks like an attempt by George to clear his name.'

As reported on on Monday, Burns - who was unavailable for comment - has been replaced by ex-Abbey National comms director Thomas Coops, now interim head of corporate/media relations at BA.

Burns and George were placed on leave of absence in June as BA's offices were raided by the Office of Fair Trading (PRWeek, 22 June).

The Sun business editor Ian King described Burns as ‘a highly respected figure, liked by transport correspondents and City editors'.

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