Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 34

AUTHOR Douglas Wilson


Are You Ready?

Has our society become so litigious that we cannot sincerely apologize for a
genuine mistake without causing additional liability for our company?
ON APRIL 20th, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, the
Deepwater Horizon, a semi-submersible oil rig
operated by Transocean on behalf of British
Petroleum exploded, killing 11 workers. The worst
oil spill in recorded history, Deepwater Horizon left
scars not only in the fertile waters of the Gulf or
on the families of those lost on the rig, but on BP's
brand as public relations miscues by the company's
chiefs mounted in the media echo chamber.
The public relations woes for Chief
on May 3rd, with the first of a series of
defensive statements: "This was not our
accident...This was not our drilling rig...
This was Transocean's rig. Their systems.
Their people. Their equipment." By the
end of the month, more gaffes: "There's
no one who wants this over more than I
do. I would like my life back." Certainly,
those who lost family members didn't
need to hear such callous cries for pity
from a man whose compensation at the
time amounted to a $1.6M annual salary,
with a reported $17M pension.
The f inal blow to BP's public
relations efforts came in June that
year, when BP's chairman Carl-Henric
Svanberg said, "I hear comments
sometimes that large oil companies are

Executive at BP Tony Hayward started
greedy companies or don't care but that's
not the case with BP. We care about the
small people." Small people? BP's stock
price became very small after that last
statement, losing around half its value
United's 2017 removal of passenger
Dr. David Dao from flight 3411 set off a
similar public relations firestorm. Initial
statements by United CEO Oscar Munoz
defended the crew and described Dao
as "...disruptive and belligerent." As
video evidence contradicting Munoz's
statements went viral, so too did calls
for his resignation. In short order a
more conciliatory tone was struck by
Munoz, but the damage had been done
to United's brand. In the days following


Douglas Wilson is the president and
founder of FBO Partners, LLC, an aviation
consultancy providing business management advisory services to Fixed Base Operations (FBOs.). Wilson can be reached


the disaster, a poll of fliers who had heard
of the incident revealed 79 percent of
them would choose a non-United flight
Today, Boeing faces a similar public
relations disaster regarding the loss of
two 737MAX aircraft with a total of
346 aboard. A worldwide grounding of
the 737MAX fleet that began on March
11th continues as of this writing. While
the media churns out new headlines
each day, early revelations - particularly
one - shattered public confidence in the
103-year-old aerospace giant. On May
5th this year, the Wall Street Journal
headline read "Boeing Knew About
Safety Alert Problem for a Year Before
Telling FAA, Airlines." While the court
of public opinion is yet to make its final
ruling, history favors Boeing: both BP
and United are quite healthy, with the
latter recently enjoying near record stock
All are examples of a situation that
escalated - not because of the magnitude
of the underlying issue - but because of
a ham-handed public relations response.
In each case, these are giant companies
with professional emergency response
plans (ERP), rarified public relations



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Airport_Business_June-July_2019

Inside the Fence
Industry Update
A Forward Look Into the Past
The Rise of Secondary Airports
Not Your Parents' Boarding Bridge
Find Success in Fuel Training
A Stream of New Revenue Management
Media Relations After an Accident: Are You Ready?
Airport Guru
Legal Matters
Product Focus
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 1
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 2
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 3
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 4
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 5
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Inside the Fence
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 7
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Industry Update
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 9
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - A Forward Look Into the Past
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 11
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 12
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 13
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - The Rise of Secondary Airports
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 15
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Not Your Parents' Boarding Bridge
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 17
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 18
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 19
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Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 23
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 24
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 25
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Find Success in Fuel Training
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 27
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 28
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 29
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - A Stream of New Revenue Management
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 31
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 32
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 33
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Media Relations After an Accident: Are You Ready?
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 35
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Airport Guru
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 37
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Legal Matters
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 39
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Product Focus
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