The paper "The US Airline Industry - International Business Trade " is an outstanding example of a business case study. Eleven years after the twin towers were struck on 9/11, the United States Airline Industry is still coming to terms with the after-effects of that event. In the aftermath of the crashes and the resultant drop in airline usage, there has been a rash of mergers between airlines to cut costs. Other such cost-cutting measures have involved parking of larger aeroplanes and causing the older, more experienced therefore more expensive pilots to be furloughed.
This has led to a drop in airline industry standards because less experienced pilots are flying more sophisticated planes to the detriment of the passengers and the planes being utilised by many local airlines are second hand or of inferior workmanship. Nevertheless, strengths in the industry do persist. These include the fundamental fact that air travel is a growth industry. This is not only because of the increased population and needs to cover large distances fast, but also because there is an increased tendency to fly as opposed to other forms of transport.
The safety record is also quite good, with the public accepting this mode of travel as relatively safe as well as being an expedient way to cover large distances. This perception is true for both the larger as well as low-cost carrier airlines. According to Fraher (2011), there have been six airline accidents that have been fatal since 9/11. 418 people have died as a result of these accidents. However, after an examination of all six accidents, the NTSB found a pattern that showed that pilot or a mechanic error was instrumental in causing the crashes.
This is significant considering that the airline industry considers that one of its major strengths is the fact that their airline staff are highly trained and experienced (letter from US Airlines, 2011). Another strength listed in the letter is the ability to categorise the market in order to provide different amenity levels even on the same routes with commensurate price implications. This has also been criticised because since the Deregulation Act of 1978 the industry has been operating in an ad hoc manner, with many industry executives having close relationships with FAA officials.
This means that complaints against their airlines are not followed up. As a result, many airlines have substandard planes, service, and personnel training. This means that low-cost carriers are in some cases a dangerous proposition as can be illustrated by ValuJet that operated between 1993-1996. Their aeroplanes were second-hand, their crew training was minimal, and they outsourced maintenance to dubious entities. They made a large profit by going public the year after launch despite a rocky safety record, the oldest of planes and numerous complaints to the FAA that were ignored.
They only were only grounded permanently after killing 110 people by crashing into the Everglades in 1996 (Fraher, 2011) Thus we see that there are conflicting messages being received about the airline industry. On the one hand, the self-evaluation by the airlines gives a very positive picture of the future of aviation, while records from other researchers raise concerns as to the validity of these claims. This essay will seek to conduct a critical evaluation of the airline industry using theoretical and business frameworks.
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