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SBD/October 6, 2011/Events and Attractions
IMG Sports Marketing Symposium: British Airways Gearing Up For London Games
Published October 6, 2011
PREPARATIONS: van der Post said British Airways in the run-up to the Games will “be running about 120,000 passengers a day, so operationally we have to be ready as well.” He said, “I’ve heard stories of our baggage handlers buying drain pipes the length of pole vaults to see if they could load them in the planes. (We need to) make sure that with Heathrow Airport we have a smooth incoming and outgoing traffic.” van der Post said navigating the red tape involved with Olympic promotions, partnership and general action is “not necessarily easy.” But he added, “You’re also very protected ... which means you’re not going to any rogue guys running around trying to take advantage of it. At the same time, I think you’ve got to build those relationships ... and you’ve got to see how far you can stretch the limits.” He said British Airways will leverage its executive club/frequent flier assets. van der Post: “We will be relaunching the executive club on the 16th of November; all the cards will be rebranded and have the Olympic logo (and) we will have special opportunities for our frequent fliers to earn tickets.” On how the airline will deal with potential ticket-use issues, van der Post said, “We’ve got a fairly robust program in place to make sure that those invited really show up. At the same time, the majority of tickets we have will go back to the public and be used in sales promotions.” British Airways spent $60M on its Olympic sponsorship and van der Post said, “We have 40,000 employees all over the world; if this was something that rallied them together to deliver, then it was well worth it.”
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