While decisions about whether or not airline mergers are an existential necessity are still in the air, it's time to take a deeper look at their shadow side, to understand how they touch the lives of employees and passengers, and what is their impact on cost and service quality.
By definition, a megamerger creates one corporation that may maintain control over a large percentage of market share within its industry. This occurs through the acquisition, merger and consolidation. The big four megamergers (American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United) now control 85 percent of the market, compared with 55 percent ten years ago. Having fewer competing airlines means that there is now less pressure to improve customer service or worry about losing passengers who often have no better travel alternatives. What they are still not measuring and accounting for are losses caused by increased inefficiencies and passenger dissatisfaction.
- Which of the following codes was used to describe the cause of delay: 14 (Oversales, booking errors), 66 (Late cabin crew boarding or departure procedures), 67 (Cabin crew shortage), 68 (Cabin crew error or special request)?
- For how long was the flight delayed? How long did it take passengers to reach their destination? How long did it take Doctor Dao to get to the place he needed to be and was he accompanied by his luggage? How long did it take him to heal his wounds?
- Is there an IATA code for passenger experience and emotional scars they may wear for life?
- What caused the sudden assignment of deadhead crew from the partner airline?
- How much will it all cost the airline in refunds, compensations, and future revenue loss?
- How many passengers on other routes experienced long delays and cancellations and what are the real causes of losses in costs, revenue, and reputation?
- Do high load factors of over 80% cause more harm from disruption losses than benefits from increased revenue? What are the most critical routes?
- How much does high aircraft utilisation contribute to disruptions and what are the related losses?
- How much does adding more routes at congested airports really cost the airline?
- How many passengers lost connections and how much did it cost the airline?
- What are the losses caused by outsourced service providers and partners and can they be recovered?
- Do surveys about passenger satisfaction include disrupted passengers?
- Can employees cope with a surge in disruptions and how does this reflect on their attitude towards disrupted passengers?
- What needs to be done to make a better balance between profit and quality?