Monday, 7 April 2008

Bad PR to run(a)way?

This week's "Question of the Week" from The Guardian centres around the recent Heathrow Terminal 5 shambles. When staff were beset by problems of capacity, communication and crisis, British Airways' Public Relations spokesperson, Richard Goodfellow, turned his back on the press and ran.

It would seem that BAA and BA had no crisis plan and were ill prepared both at the level of physically managing the opening and at the level of preparing for the worst. Rather than admit the terminal was undergoing problems which would be addressed in the future, was ignoring the press the best decision?

As a public relations exercise, the initial launch of the new terminal had all the hall marks of a successful campaign. BA's chief executive, Willie Walsh, greeted customers at the terminal and was in front of cameras in time for breakfast shows. However, it didn't take long for problems to surface. At this point, it has to be asked if Walsh was the best person to face the press? It maight have been better had Julia Simpson, BA's head of corporate communications (ex-adviser to Tony Blair and the Home Office) been placed in the headlights.

Follow the link to see the comments of various PR related professionals.


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