Dubai-based airline Emirates is understood to be reviewing its £3.3m UK advertising account as it prepares for its next phase of expansion.
The business is currently held by Emirates’ long-standing agency HDM Total Communication. HDM retained the account after a pitch in April 2002 (MW April 4, 2002) and denies that a review is taking place.
Emirates has been reviewing its business, territory by territory, over the past few months. The reviews are being overseen from the Dubai headquarters. No one at Emirates was available for comment.
Emirates signed a three-year sponsorship deal, worth an estimated £20m, in 2001 with Chelsea Football Club (MW September 28, 2000). St Lukes worked on a positioning and core advertising project for the airline in 2002 but has not worked on the business since.
Emirates is ranked as one of the five most profitable airlines in the world and it has an aggressive expansion plan backed by huge aircraft orders. It is about to launch a second daily service to Dubai from Birmingham and already operates three services a day from Heathrow and Gatwick and two from Manchester.
The airline was founded in 1985 and its chairman is Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, a member of Dubai’s ruling family. It carried an estimated 10 million passengers last year.
Last September, HDM beat Doner Cardwell Hawkins to the £2.4m SeaFrance brief (September 25, 2003). The agency also handles the business for low-cost airline Flybe.com and for Jersey Tourism.