On the evening of Wednesday, May 18, 2016, an EgyptAir aircraft crashed on a flight from Paris to Cairo. Due to similar events over the past several years, an airplane crashing or missing incites panic—was it terrorists? Did a nation-state take it down covertly for political purposes? Did it simply go “missing” like the Malaysia Airlines flight from 2014? Is it a conspiracy theory? With a crisis like this, traditional and social media have the capacity to run riot. 

Within a few hours of the crash, multiple news outlets began to cover the crisis, asserting that the plane went down here, the plane went down there—the debris wasn’t immediately found. Social media followed suit, and people began to talk, which is exactly how falsehoods are spread. 

 EgyptAir released the following: 

Press Release No 7 

EGYPTAIR denies all misleading information published by news websites and on the social media channels regarding the reasons of the disappearance of EGYPTAIR flight MS804 and the company confirms that the reason of disappearance hasn’t been yet confirmed. 

EGYPTAIR Calls for media resources to be assured of the information they post or release and to abide by the official press releases issued by EGYPTAIR media center. 

EgyptAir’s crisis communications team did exactly what it was supposed to do with the aforementioned press release. EgyptAir urged media outlets overnight to be responsible and their reporting, and to stick to information from official airline press releases; they maintained complete transparency with both the media and the public; they acted decisively. 

In crisis communications, oftentimes less is more. EgyptAir stuck to the facts that were known at the time, and were honest with the public. They weren’t overly-apologetic, didn’t deny anything, nor did they point fingers. Crisis communications is about acting decisively and putting out fires.
EgyptAir should be commended for their responsibility, transparency, and decisiveness.

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Jack Haandraadts, Account Coordinator at Marketing Maven