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British Airways Launches ‘Face-to-Face’ Program – Stimulus to Jump-Start U.S. Business

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July 20, 2009

British Airways Launches ‘Face-to-Face’ Program – Stimulus to Jump-Start U.S. Business

NEW YORK, July 14 – British Airways announced today the launch of “Face-to-Face,” a multi-phased program that aims to keep entrepreneurship alive and kick up fresh potential for economic growth in the U.S. by focusing on tangible, human connections as a crucial driver of business growth. The program will offer more than 1,000 business people the opportunity to travel overseas and conduct face-to-face business meetings that will potentially result in deeper partnerships, contracts and revenue for U.S. cities.

Starting today, anyone with a demonstrable business need can visit www.ba.com/facetoface for the chance to win a free flight on one of three wide-bodied airplanes that will depart this fall from New York, Los Angeles and Chicago headed for business and networking opportunities overseas.

Simon Talling-Smith, Executive Vice President Americas for British Airways said: “Face-to-face interaction fuels business. In these challenging times, you can keep relationships alive through faceless conference calls or live video conferences, but chances are they won’t grow much without some quality face time. These human connections matter, and it is from those connections that business flows. Everyone must do their part to get business moving again, and the Face-to-Face campaign will connect U.S.-based entrepreneurs with new opportunities that would not have been realized if people did not make the trip.”

British Airways commissioned a survey of Harvard Business Review readers to gauge perceptions within the international business community about the importance of face-to-face meetings. In a time when business travel has been greatly reduced, the study aimed to uncover the impact that such restrictions have had on business growth and building long-term relationships. In preliminary results from a survey of more than 2,200 Harvard Business Review subscribers, 95 percent said they believe that face-to-face meetings are key to success in building long-term relationships, and 87 percent agree face-to-face meetings are essential for “sealing the deal.” More than half of those surveyed said recent restrictions on business travel have hurt their business.

Angelia Herrin, Research Editor, Harvard Business Review Group said: “Our survey revealed that what most business people really want is solid human connections. Readers tell us face-to-face interaction helps build teams, drive consensus and ultimately yield profit. Technology serves as an effective supplement, but the handshakes and eye contact of in-person meetings cement long-term relationships.”

Chance to Win a Free Trip to Conduct Business Anywhere in the World*

“Face-to-Face” by British Airways invites U.S. business people to make their case for an unmet business travel need and win free travel to London, or anywhere in the world that British Airways flies, to attend a crucial meeting. Whether it’s a sit-down appointment with a potential client or a check-in on an office that has not been visited because of budget cuts, the campaign is designed to help budget-conscious businesses get where they need to go, physically and financially.

Business people interested in entering the competition may visit www.ba.com/facetoface to complete the entry form including a 500-word explanation of why their business merits a trip overseas. Entries will be reviewed by a group of British Airways executives and its communications and business partners. An advisory panel of US and UK business leaders will provide counsel on competition criteria and winner selection. Entries will be accepted until midnight (EDT) July 31, and winners will be notified by mid-August.

The advisory panel includes: Eric Baron, Founder & CEO, The Baron Group; Sir Alan Collins, British Consul General, New York; Brad Gelfond, SVP, Brand & Content Partnerships, Warner Bros. Music; Reid Hoffman, Founder & Executive Chairman, LinkedIn; Robert Lipp, Senior Advisor, Brysam Global Partners (Former Chairman, JPMorganChase); Stephen J.O. Maltby, Partner, Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP; Frank Radice, President & CMO, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; Michael Reed, VP, Strategy & Institutional Diversity, Williams College; Charles Seely, Advisor to UK Government, Global Entrepreneurs Programme; and Eric Van der Kleij, Senior Advisor, Global Entrepreneur Programme, UKTI.

Several international business and entrepreneurial organizations are also partnering with British Airways on this program and will conduct their own competitions to select members to be awarded travel on these flights.

Networking Events at 38,000 Feet . . . and More Opportunities on the Ground

Competition winners not only receive a trip overseas, but they also will have the opportunity to connect with other business people traveling on special British Airways flights and forge relationships that can further their own business objectives. Flights are scheduled from JFK International Airport on September 15, Los Angeles International Airport on October 13 and Chicago O’Hare International Airport on November 17. With more than 1,000 passengers from all over the U.S. on board these planes, it is only fitting to call this experience a networking, or salon, event at 38,000 feet.

Events surrounding the departure and arrival of these special flights will also serve to underscore the importance of relationships in business. Business leaders and senior government officials in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and London will address winners at “power networking” events.

More information on additional phases of the “Face-to-Face” program will be revealed in the coming weeks.

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