British Airways is planning to launch a cut-price European airline
and has appointed HHCL & Partners as a strategic marketing and
advertising partner to help develop its scheme.
Officials from the airline held meetings with at least four London shops
before appointing HHCL to the project, which is expected to go live next
Cut-price air travel is one of the fastest-growing segments of the
airline market and BA’s chief executive, Bob Ayling, set up a project
group to investigate the best way for BA to win a slice of this
A source told Campaign this week: ’BA is looking to set up a separate
company under the BA corporate umbrella. It’s still very early days and
it hasn’t yet decided how it will happen, when it will happen or where
it will fly to.’
Another insider added: ’It is looking at the whole area and how best to
approach it.’ One option thought to be under discussion is a tie-up with
other airlines, but it is possible that BA will go ahead with the plans
on its own.
Because of the need to maintain a separate identity for the no-frills
operation, it is understood that the incumbent on the main BA account,
M&C Saatchi, was not invited to pitch. Neither was Bartle Bogle Hegarty,
which just missed out on the hotly contested main account in 1995 and
was awarded its Air Miles account earlier this year.
Rupert Howell, the managing partner of HHCL, declined to provide details
about the account but admitted to winning the business.
’I can confirm that we’re looking at the emerging European leisure air
travel market with BA,’ he said. A BA spokesperson also confirmed the
The next stage is to develop a business plan to put before the BA
This is a task for which HHCL has appropriate experience, since it
helped Midland Bank set up its standalone banking brand, First
The BA initiative will come as a surprise to airline industry
EasyJet, one of the pace-setters in no-frills flights, has accused BA of
showing a ’snooty indifference’ to its activities. Until now, major
airlines have had a reputation for forcing out low-cost rivals and have
always been fearful that lower fares would make some routes uneconomic.