Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The fallacy of delay meetings

When airline schedules do not go according to plan, we often see airline managers seeking answers to the wrong questions. They gather reams of unreliable data on delays to justify poor operational performance and discuss the issues during the regular delay meetings where much of precious management time is wasted on analysis of insignificant problems that could be resolved locally at operational level. They often include unrelated problems, solutions, goals, interests, and concerns. So, a meeting called to discuss delays and other operational disruptions may become discussion about staff absenteeism, a dysfunctional computer unit, scheduling oversights, software errors, passenger compensation, or similar problems that could be fixed locally. It is hard to understand why management attention is not focused more on problems that matter most, like true origins of most costly delays and other disruptions that spread wide across the airline. It looks like as the reluctance to view the problems through more powerful lenses gives the decision makers a false feeling of protection provided by the lack of information and performance measurement. Airlines deserve and can do better than this.