British Airways plc (BA)
British Airways (BA)
British Airways plc (BA) is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom. Its headquarters is located in Waterside close to its major hub at London Heathrow Airport and based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations is the largest airline in the UK.
Its other hub is the London Gatwick Airport. British Airways has terminated all straight overseas flights from UK airports with the exception of Heathrow, Gatwick and London City Airport. BA’s UK passengers originating at non-London airports would have to connect through London or make use of different airlines with direct services.
The British Airways Group was formed on 1 September 1974. Since privatisation in 1987, BA has continued to grow as a competitor in the market. BA has been labelled the world’s first airline to take part in the scheme to reduce green house gas emissions (2002) and allow its passengers to print online boarding passes (2004) (British Airways 2008)
British Airways is a founding member of the One world airline alliance along with four other airlines – Cathay Pacific, Qantas, American Airlines, and the now obsolete Canadian Airlines. The alliance has ever since developed to become the third leading airline alliance, with only SkyTeam and Star Alliance being larger.
First step from the consumer side is to seek information about the flight. From the company side this means that somebody has put together an IT system that integrates the web-based applications with the internal booking system of the company.
When the customer has decided which flight to buy he can pay with the credit card from the internet. This is made possible by the interactions of the IT systems of the airline company and the banks managing the transaction. At this point there comes a time gap in the process. After some days the customer goes to the airport either by private car, or shuttle service.
The customer goes to the monitors to check out which check in desk to use. Of course there must be an informative system for this purpose. At the check in desk traveller puts the luggage onto the scale and the employee checks out the documents, prints the boarding pass and the barcode tag for the luggage. This is made possible by the help of a lot of different people from the airline and from the airport. Luggage is then transported to a sorting area where specialized employees load the baggage on small trucks to be driven to the proper plane where the baggages are finally loaded.
After check-in, the customer goes through the security control. The security personnel check the hand-baggage, the person and the documents of the traveller. After the security check the passengers go to the gate where the employees check the boarding passes and lead passengers to a bus that takes them to the actual plane.
After getting off the bus, the stairs are already in place in front of the plane’s door. People get on the plane while the last baggages are being loaded. The passengers enter the plane and the crew welcomes them and helps them find their place.
While people seat down, the pilot communicates with the control tower and when the control tower gives permission to take off, the pilot drives the plane to the runway, alert the flight assistants and takes off. After takeoff the monitors are turned on and start to display information about the flight. During the flight, the flight assistants start the movie and the music so the passenger can easily enjoy. The lights may be turned off according to the time of the day.
On the backstage, the IT and radio systems of the plane work for creating a connection to the Earth in order to transmit the actual voice but also to connect to the credit card circuit. Approaching the destination, the pilot gets information from the control tower about the weather, the estimated time of landing and the connecting flights. When the control tower gives permission to land, pilot turns on the fasten seat belts signal, turns off the monitors and starts approaching the airport. After parking the plane, a mobile stair and bus come to take the passengers to the airport, the baggage are transferred. After the plane landing, the stairs are placed and ready, the travellers leave the plane. Flight attendants and pilots biding passengers farewell, always smiling nicely and being polite, which also leaves an impression on the flight experience of the customer. After left the plane, the plane is being cleaned, refilled and checked if anything was forgotten by the travelers and if so, reported and returned to the owner shortly. Security procedures take place. The plane is refilled with gas and maintenance work by engineers takes place. The plane is being prepared for its next flight.
Before and after the flight people have to go through a lot of procedures and to move across many locations. Passengers are guided to the place of receiving the luggage, later to the luggage check and lastly to the meeting room. British airways can also provide a taxi or limousine booking before the flight as an additional service.
• British Airways has become the first airline to trial self-service biometric boarding gates on international flights out of the USA.
• British Airways has begun an exclusive trial that will transform airport experience of customers by improving the boarding process and reducing the amount of time it takes to board an aircraft.
• New technology, created by Vision-Box, will create a smoother journey, as there will be no need to present their passport or boarding pass at the gate – only at check in and security. Instead travellers will simply look into a camera before boarding, wait for biometric data to be verified, and then walk onto the aircraft.
• The biometric gates use high definition camera technology, and allow customers to pass through by recognising their unique facial features. The gates have been installed on three stands at Los Angeles Airport and British Airways is the only airline with the advanced technology to offer purely biometric boarding to its customers.
Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, once said: “Our customers want the ability to simplify and speed up their journeys through the airport, so we’re investing in the most advanced technology that will enable us to streamline our boarding process and further improve our punctuality”
Due to lack of competition British Airways did not follow any of the quality measures since its inception till 1987. The senior management believed that to be a world class organisation they have to use strategies and processes that must create vision and must inspire the employees and gain their commitment and this would only be possible by the implementation of TQM.
British Airways managed to launch their TQM programme in September 1988 and the benefits of the programme were visible by the end of 1999. The management carried out various workshops like LEANER TO FITTER; PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST ETC. British Airways carries out market research with its customers every month in order to improve their services.In doing so they conducted a diagnostic survey, which laid emphasis on the problems and issues faced by the staff. The broader perspective of the survey looked at the customer and supply chain. Hence, there were seven areas of improvement and British Airways when through a cultural change to adopt TQM. Despite the economic downturn, BA’S future looks promising. BA’s 2008 annual report makes BA the “world’s most responsible airline”
With the help of market research companies measure the service quality or customer satisfaction. These programs help in managing service provision and relationship building initiatives. Hence, providing customers with the service that will help ensure their continued patronage. British Airways is the one of the appropriate examples of the service delivery process. Services of British Airways can be viewed with following explanation.
British Airways contact centre. Colleagues are given proper training to provide the right product to the choice of the customers and giving them information of the services that they get flying with British Airways.
Online booking being the best mode of reservation, but some people still have problems booking over the internet. It has been observed that most online bookers are young or above average educated people. British Airways helps in training staff at regular intervals to deal with situations like these.
British Airways focuses on long term relationship with customers. On cancellations of the flights passengers are given refreshments and meals. In case of long delays the passengers are given hotel accommodation and transport facilities from the airport to the accommodation and arrangements for refreshments are also made. Passengers can claim refund on connecting flights in case of delayed carriers.
• Safe keeping:
According to a research British Airways spend more than 100 million pounds each year on security measures as at British Airways security and safety of customers is of highest priority. It has a team of trained security auditors who helps in security checking worldwide. BA does criminal and background checks of ground and flying staff. BA has a lot of covert security in place for their customer’s safety.
British Airways also helps in providing mobility assistance at the airport and in-flight for the disable passengers .BA flights longer than five hours have additional facilities on wheelchair toilets etc. BA provides escorts to and from the aircraft for the deaf and blind. Certified Assistance dogs are provided free of charge. More facilities like seat preferences, food preferences etc are given to all passengers.
British Airways accepts all the major credit cards as mode of payment for the tickets.
British Airways comes up as an innovative new global leader in the industry of aviation and attaining a sustainable position in the market. However they have to keep being innovative in developing new services in order to use the competitive advantage productively. The operations and marketing strategies of British Airways is creating serious challenges to the worldwide carriers. On the other hand, British Airways has also the possibility to enhance the associations with the worldwide alliances in order to compete in the market. In order to significantly compete in the international market, it would be important for the management of British Airways to examine the formation of a long haul, reduced cost form of subsidiary make capable the group to strive again other form of low cost carriers without endangering the British best carrier brand appearance being thinned by the inexpensive no adventures airline.
All Answers ltd, ‘ British Airways should focus on their quality standards.’ (Lawteacher.net, September 2018)
accessed 27 September 2018
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