Colgan Air Crisis Communications
Protecting brand in the aftermath of a tragedy
Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed outside Buffalo, N.Y., killing 50 people. The accident triggered intense governmental and public scrutiny of the way regional airlines are viewed, regulated and operated.
Dix & Eaton provided on-the-ground counsel, strategy development and messaging at parent company Pinnacle Airlines’ Memphis headquarters. The team worked with management and outside advisors to prepare executives to present testimony and handle media inquiries surrounding House and Senate subcommittee hearings and an NTSB special hearing on airline safety. Media strategy also included re-establishing relationships with key media, monitoring coverage and correcting inaccuracies. Additionally, the team coordinated efforts with the Regional Airline Association, given the intense focus on the industry.
Colgan’s brand was defended while the company’s relationships with its airline partners were preserved. Media coverage following the incident included company messaging, and the Pinnacle brand was kept out of the fray. Due to customized crisis training conducted by Dix & Eaton just four months before the accident, Pinnacle and Colgan executives were prepared for their roles, and employees were kept informed.