The Status of Quality Management in the Airline Industry


Koller, Karl   (1997, ASQ)   Koller & Partner, Mutschellen, Switzerland

Annual Quality Congress, Orlando, FL    Vol. 51    No. 0
QICID: 10654    May 1997    pp. 1032-1040
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Article Abstract

A survey and case studies of airline companies examined the implementation of quality management. Of 291 worldwide recipients of the survey, 56 responded. These included 44 passenger/cargo companies, 7 cargo-only companies, and 5 passenger-only companies. Results indicate that 32 have quality programs. Their most important quality improvement factors were seen as top management commitment, customer satisfaction, and common vision. The most challenging factors were top-down commitment, corporate culture changes, and common vision. Most important reasons for setting up quality programs were strategic issues, cost control or reduction, customer retention, and quality initiatives of competitors. In one-third of the companies, the staff initiated the quality program on its own; the other two-thirds combined staff efforts with consultant activities. Few airlines made extensive use of quality tools like Pareto charts and cause-effect diagrams, and most companies did not measure quality costs. Of companies with quality programs, ratings of very satisfied or satisfied were given by 63% to goals; by 38% to education and training; and by 44% to management involvement. Combining the survey data with information from six case studies of European and North American airlines revealed these problem areas: poor vision-mission-goals structure; dissatisfaction with training; inadequate commitment and involvement of top management; and insufficient employee empowerment.


Case study,Quality management (QM),Quality improvement (QI),Implementation

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