Aviation Management Theory Comparative Review Research Proposal

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Aviation Management Theory

Comparative Review:

One of the defining features of aviation management is the need to navigate both uncertainty and a wide range of uncontrollable variables. With weather, mechanical issues and flight delays all bearing a direct impact on decision-making and, simultaneously, wide variances in underlying cost, quality control demands and customer service matters impacting daily functionality, aviation management is a highly complex undertaking. It is for this reason that the management theories invoked for administration in this context should ideally encompass said uncertainty and variability. This underscores the assessment here of both the Contingency Theory and the Systems Theory of Management. Each of these carries a number of characteristics that are relevant to the endeavor of aviation management and are therefore likely to figure into the research proposed here.


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In a comparative discussion on the two modes of management, we find that there are crossover purposes that apply with relevance to the aviation field. According to the Wells & Young (1986) text, there are particular sectors of an airport that will be charged with management in a Systems Theory capacity. But even as such sectors as the Air Traffic Control Systems Command Center (ATCSCC) adhere to the integrative coordination demands implied by the Systems Theory, they must simultaneously remain equipped with Contingency Management capabilities. Indeed, Wells & Young report that the ATCSCC is "responsible for the operation of four distinct but integrated functions: Central Flow Control Function (CFCF), Central Altitude Reservations Function (CARF), Airport Reservation Position, and the Air Traffic Service Contingency Command Post (ATSCCP)." (Wells & Young, p. 509)

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Aviation Management Theory Comparative Review: One of Assignment

Here, the Systems Theory emerges as having particular relevance because it calls for the incorporation and simultaneously administration of several distinct but interdependent aspects of an airport's operation. Indeed, more bureaucratic models in which duties are divided between departments and personnel teams could not be effectively maintained in a context with so many moving parts. And yet, we find that contingency planning must inherently be a part of all approaches to aviation management, and is therefore incorporated as part of the Systems Management Theory in the present discussion. The inevitability of change and uncertainty in the aviation industry means that part of the integrative strategy implied by the Systems Theory must necessarily include proper planning for changes in vessel availability, scheduling, customer demand, fuel pricing and a host of other variables impacting operations.

These characteristics make the Contingency Theory a valuable mode of administration independent from the Systems Theory as well. Here, our research notes that Contingency Management is important as a way of planning for the uncertainty that is a part of this particular business. As Flouris (2006) notes, "the use of contingency plans and scenario analysis is . . . discussed as a tool of strategy formulation in turbulent environments." (Flouris, p. xviii)


This denotes that Contingency Planning is a valuable way to draw alternative plans and responses to often fast-shifting operational demands. However, the recommendation here is for an emphasis on the integrative properties of Systems Management with an elevation of the role played by the Air Traffic Service Contingency Command Post as a way of contending with the uncertainty principle.

Works Cited:

Batteau, a. (2000). The Anthropology of Aviation and Flight Safety. Human Organization, 60(3), 201-16.

Civil Aviation Sectorial Activities Program. (2002). Restructuring of Civil Aviation: Consequences for Management and Personnel. International Labour Review, 141(1/2), 196-205.

Deal, W. (2005, January). Aviation Insights: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Millions of People. The Technology Teacher, 65(1), p. 2005.

Department of Homeland Security. (2009, April 28). General Aviation - Identifying and Vetting Passengers and Crew. Retrieved from DHS.GOV: http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1240515540198.shtm

Drakes, S. (July, 2005). Fly Safe: An Aviation Investigator Sets Some Ground Rules. Black Enterprise, 35(12), p. 64.

Federal Aviation Administration. (2010, September 10). Fact Sheet - Pilot Fatique. Retrieved from FAA.GOV: http://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=11857

Federal Aviation Administration. (2012, January). Aviation Safety - Safety Management Systems. Retrieved from FAA.GOV: http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/sms/

Flouris, T. (2006). Designing and Executing Strategy in Aviation Management. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing.

Flouris, T., et al. (2009). Recent Developments in the Aviation Insurance Industry. Risk Management and Insurance Review, 12(2), 227-39.

Gourley, S. (2012, January). Army Aviation Update. Army, 62(1), pp. 24-6.

Jackson, C., & Early, L. (2006, June). Prevalence of Fatigue Among Commercial Pilots. doi:10.1093/occmed/kql021

Kaps, R. (2000). Fiscal Aspects of Aviation Management. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Karber, P. (2002). Re-constructing Global Aviation in an Era of the Civil Aircraft as a Weapon of Destruction. Journal of Law and Public Policy, 25(2), 781-95.

Wells, a.T. & Young, S. (1986). Airport Planning and Management (2nd ed.). Blue

Ridge Summit, PA: Tab.

Persuasive Review:


One of the conditions that is often overlooked due to the general complexity of simply managing the operational demands of an airport or airline is that of the customer experience. Often, when we fly, we make calculated decisions regarding cost and experience. As the Quality Management Theory considered here denotes, these decisions will typically demand that we as flyers assess the desire to pay for a quality-driven experience vs. The desire to fly at a controlled financial rate. This same dilemma is first imposed upon the administration of an aviation firm, which must employ the Quality Management Theory in order to choose the best balance between these priorities.


The article by Suzuki (2000) delineates the purpose of the Quality Management approach, indicating that for every airline, there is a complex process of consideration that will ultimately determine such factors as in-flight entertainment, food and beverage, creature comforts, luggage parameters and flight-scheduling including control over stopovers and delays. In these conditions and elsewhere, the airline must decide what level of quality to provide the customer with consideration of the cost realities imposed by the selected level. As Suzuki notes, "given that a trade-off pattern exists between service quality and price in the airline industry, an important policy question arises: What is the best (profit maximizing) mix (or combination) of service quality and price (i.e. positioning in the airline industry?" (Suzuki, p. 44)

This is a dilemma which carries an increasingly burdensome set of questions for airline managers as factors such as heightened security demands and ever-increasing fuel costs continue to foist the heavier costs of flying on the consumer. The result has been that for a great many flyers, there is a sense that anything short of spending top dollar will result in a less-than-stellar quality experience. Quite to the point, evidence suggests that quality control has suffered throughout the airline industry as a consequence of the security and fuel conditions cited here above. Indeed, Murray (2008) reports that "according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, flight delays for commercial airlines have increased every year since 2003. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that more than 27% of flights failed to arrive on time in the first six months of 2007. Four years ago, the figure was only 17%. In June 2007, more than 30% of airplanes were late by an average of 62 minutes." (Murray, p. 1) This denotes that for most flyers, the prioritization of cost control has outweighed the prioritization of quality control.


In many ways, the circumstances described here above capture the difficulty facing the airline industry. While the economy and consumers are ill-prepared to sustain the heightened costs of travel, neither can the airlines do so. Therefore, Quality Management Theory has precipitated and incremental reduction in the quality of the flying experience largely in favor of cost effectiveness. As per recommendations, it seems that the environment is prime for successes similar to that achieved by Southwest Airlines, which has succeeded in producing a low-cost, no-frills experience that is nonetheless outfitted with various degrees of quality control. Here, we can see that a balance is required between cutting costs and establishing a name brand synonymous with affordable… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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