Crisis communication and reputation management in the digital age: A guide to best practice for the aviation industry

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Primary Target Country
Publishing Organisation International Air Traffic Association (IATA)
Language English
Year Published 2018
Target Audience Businesses, Policy Makers, Practitioners
Status Published
Disaster Management Phase After, During
Covers Thematic Crisis communication, Social Media Team building
Audience Experience Level Intermediate
Source Website
Abstract Crisis Communication Plan

The main elements of a robust crisis communication plan include:

  • Statement of company communication policy, including the names (or positions) of authorized spokespeople
  • Outline of the communication organization, and its interface with the corporate Crisis Management Team (the head of communications should sit on the CMT)
  • Protocols for ensuring all available communication channels are properly coordinated and that information and messaging is consistent to all audiences
  • Description of functional roles and responsibilities, and candidates
  • Checklists for each functional role, outlining the main tasks
  • Templates for initial statements and employee communications, including the first online posts, which can be issued immediately after key information is confirmed.
  • Templates should be developed for various possible scenarios, including accident; serious incident; diversion; hijacking/security incident; service disruption
  • Database with phone and email addresses of important internal and external contacts (including primary media outlets, online influencers and service providers)
  • Standard forms and documentation (for example, media call logging form, press conference registration form

Crisis communication team

At a minimum, the team should be capable of executing the following functional responsibilities.

If resources are limited, one individual may be responsible for two or more functions

  • Communication Representative on the Crisis Management Team (CMT)
    • The Communication Representative on the CMT is responsible for providing strategic communications advice to the CEO and members of the CMT, and for ensuring that accurate and timely information to internal and external stakeholders is provided.
  • Communication Team Leader
    • The Communication Team Leader is responsible for the overall management of the Communication Team and for ensuring that the communication strategy is executed.
  • Content Developer
    • The Content Developer is responsible for drafting all written materials or other content used in response to the crisis, including news releases, backgrounders, briefing documents and statements (eg video statements)
  • Online Communication Manager
    • The Online Communication Manager is responsible for managing the company’s social media and online channels.
    • The Online Communication Manager also coordinates online activities with other departments such as the commercial team, monitoring online conversations about the situation and advising on whether the company should engage with online conversations by posting responses on “owned” or third-party social media platforms.
  • Internal Communication Manager
    • The Internal Communication Manager is responsible for ensuring that all statements are provided to employees via internal communication channels
  • Network Co-ordinator
    • The Network Coordinator is responsible for maintaining contact with offices and PR Agencies across the network, and for ensuring that they receive updated information as it is released from Head Office
  • Media Monitoring Coordinator
    • The Media Monitoring Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that all relevant electronic, print and online media coverage is collated and reported to the Crisis Management Team
  • Media Enquiry Center Manager
    • The Media Enquiry Center Manager is responsible for supervising the team answering incoming media calls, and for ensuring that agents responding to reporters are provided with updated statements and talking points.
  • Communication Representative/s on the Go-Team (which may be sent to the incident)
    • The Communication Representative/s on the Go-Team is/are responsible for travelling to the scene of the event and coordinating all communication activities locally

Please note: Access to the following links is currently only available for project partners

Key facts Crisis Communication Team & Plan:

Comprehensive Advice Crisis Communication Team & Plan:

Is Archived No
Covers platforms

These free guidelines and best practices are meant to support the communications departments of airlines, airports and manufacturers in dealing with the news media after an aviation accident in the digital age.