International: AirLanka seeks PR aid prior to privatisation

Up to eight teams of PR and advertising agencies are lining up to pitch for a pounds 2 million international account for AirLanka, Sri Lanka’s national airline.

Up to eight teams of PR and advertising agencies are lining up to

pitch for a pounds 2 million international account for AirLanka, Sri

Lanka’s national airline.



The carrier is due to be privatised and needs an image boost to help in

its hunt for investors. AirLanka is reviewing its advertising and PR

services with a view to putting more emphasis on promotions and PR,

according to marketing and communications manager Rienzie Pereira.



Up to pounds 750,000, or 40 per cent of the budget, may be channelled

into PR. Pereira said: ’Between 60 and 70 per cent is always spent on

ads, but now we want an agency which has the promotional capability, and

can deliver both advertising and PR.’



Pereira said between seven and eight agencies had been shortlisted,

including Bates Strategic Alliance with its affiliated agency Rowland

Worldwide, Phoenix Advertising with Ogilvy and Mather, Minds Lanka with

Burson-Marsteller, and incumbent agency J Walter Thompson, which has

been responsible for in-house PR.



The chosen agency will need to have a Sri Lankan office or

affiliate.



AirLanka has yet to set a date for privatisation as it has been unable

to find an investor. Chairman Harry Jayawardena’s predecessor, Walter

Jayasinghe, failed to secure a strategic partner to acquire the

necessary 40 per cent stake in the company.



AirLanka was founded in 1979 and services 29 cities in 21 countries

across Europe, the Middle East the Far East and the Indian subcontinent.



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