Spirit AeroSystems shares award for crisis communications with American Airlines

UPDATED — Which is a bigger crisis for an aircraft company or an airline to deal with: An EF-3 tornado, or Alec Baldwin getting kicked off a flight for playing Words With Friends when he’d been told to shut down all electronics?

Turns out they’re both big deals for crisis communicators, so Ragan’s PR Daily recently awarded Spirit AeroSystems and American Airlines an award for best crisis communications.

“I was totally blown away,” says Spirit spokesman Ken Evans. “I thought we had a 10 percent shot.”

He figured no matter how dramatic the April 14 tornado was, it’s hard to top a celebrity crisis.

PR Daily says Spirit won because it lost all its traditional communication tools – e-mail, its website, even desk phones – but still managed to keep the public, the media and employees informed.

“We were kind of forced to think outside the box for us,” Evans says. “We’re a fairly conservative communications group. … I know that’s shocking to you.”

Twitter became one of the company’s chief communication tools. It also used YouTube and Flickr.

Evans says Spirit’s communications team made a case to management that it needed to reach out immediately, particularly to the media, “so that all of our local stakeholders wouldn’t panic.”

“One of the best results of the week was that our stock did not take a major hit even after that EF-3 tornado.”

He says the company learned lessons from the crisis as well.

“The one audience we didn’t spend (time) keeping up to date was an internal audience at other Spirit sites around the world. They were hungrier for information on a daily basis than we thought they would. They felt left out.”

Evans says the company is using some social media more these days than it used to.

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Spirit AeroSystems leases two buildings for temporary storage

UPDATED — Spirit AeroSystems has leased two warehouse spaces at the B1 Industrial Park on Rock Road to temporarily store materials.

The materials, including raw materials and overflow items used for manufacturing, have been in a building on Spirit property. That building was damaged in the recent tornado.

“Obviously, it’s been nice to have warehousing on site,” says spokesman Ken Evans.

Spirit has leased about 48,000 square feet at 2510 S. Eastmoor and 120,000 square feet at 2652 S. Eastmoor.

Bradley Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deals.

Evans says the leases will be “probably for at least six months, and then we’ll look at it after that.”

He says the company looked at several options for storing the material.

“This is the best that we thought we could do.”