Virgin Atlantic moots making T5 advertising compensation claim

Virgin Atlantic is considering asking for compensation following the botched opening of British Airways’ Terminal 5 (T5).

The airline took out extensive advertising in and around T5 but says that BA’s decision to delay moving long-haul flights to the terminal means that footfall has been much lower than promised.

BA was expected to switch its long-haul operation into T5 at the end of April. However, the problems that undermined the opening of the terminal forced the airline to postpone the move until June at the earliest.

The move has led to Virgin Atlantic’s marketing team considering asking for the cost of booking the billboards to be reimbursed because not enough people are seeing them.

The carrier will approach outdoor company JC Decaux, which sells the ad space at the terminal and has invested £25m in digital technology at the building, about the possibility of compensation and could represent a group of disgruntled advertisers.

Virgin Atlantic director of communications Paul Charles says: “Several advertisers are concerned that there is not the footfall that was expected at T5.

“We are looking at asking JC Decaux, on behalf of a number of advertisers, about the possibility of compensation because of the loss of impact.”

Virgin appeared to have secured a publicity coup, in the light of the problems surrounding T5’s botched opening, by buying up billboards at T5 promoting the “relative speed” of its check-in service. It also has a presence elsewhere in the building.

The year-long campaign began on March 27, and is part of a £6m advertising push for Virgin this year (MW March 20).

Senior marketers including BA head of marketing and distribution Tiffany Hall and head of loyalty, Stuart Beamish, joined volunteer teams helping staff in the terminal to try to overcome the terminal’s teething problems (MW April 3).

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