LONDON—British Airways has begun its long-awaited global PR review by inviting agencies to pitch for the airline's Middle East and Asia-Pacific assignments.

The move is understood to be the first step in a process that is expected to see British Airways review PR duties in Europe and Africa next year. 

The review has been anticipated for months, following the airline's last global pitch three years ago. That process saw BA part ways with one-year incumbent FleishmanHillard and eventually appoint three firms to its worldwide roster, which covers 58 markets and is estimated at approximately £1.8m in fees.

Grayling currently oversees Europe and Asia-Pacific, with Merope in charge of Africa. In the Middle East and Central Asia, Action Global leads the business, a relationship that stretches back more than 40 years.

The roster does not cover BA's activity in the UK and US.

British Airways PR manager Jeremy Singer told the Holmes Report that an outcome on the Middle East and Asia-Pacific review was expected by January.

"We carry out regular reviews of our external suppliers, based on business needs and in line with our business planning process, to ensure we have the right level of support in place," said Singer.

Singer added that all of the incumbent agencies are involved in the review. It is further understood that a handful of global networks have been invited to pitch for Middle East and Asia-Pacific.