Travel specialist Brighter beat global giants including Edelman and Hill & Knowlton to land the business.
It will handle consumer and trade PR across Europe, as the airline attempts to raise its profile among both the general public and the business community.
Brighter Group MD Matt Fearnley said: ‘The overall brief is to take Korean Air – a global top-20 aviation company – and make it a top-ten player in the next few years, before its 40th anniversary in 2010.
‘A big part of that is positioning it as the hub to China and South East Asia. It is already the global number one in cargo – now it needs to replicate that in terms of leisure and business passengers.’
The airline has not previously had a unified pan-European agency. The new pan-European team will be co-ordinated out of the UK by Fearnley, who will be reporting to Korean Air’s corporate comms team in Seoul.
Fearnley would not reveal the fees, but claimed that they were ‘in keeping with campaigns of this kind across Europe’.
After an initial nine-way pitch, the airline shortlisted just two agencies: Hill & Knowlton – which is currently handling PR for Korean Air in the South East Asia market – and Brighter. The second round of pitches took place in Seoul.
Brighter was recently hired by Israeli national airline El Al. The long-term terrorist target called in the agency for a PR drive that it hopes will position it as the safest carrier in the sky (PRWeek, 14 September).