Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Airline Industry's Strategy for Dealing with Hurricane Sandy


Hurricane Sandy and Airline Industry's Strategy



In the article “The Real Value of Strategic Planning” Sarah Kaplan and Eric D. Beinhocker emphasize the unpredictability involved in business and it’s impact on business strategy. I read this article, as I was airplane bound from San Francisco to Pittsburgh on the eve of Hurricane Sandy hitting New Jersey. I immediately began to wonder about the airlines’ strategy for the days to come.  Had the airlines effectively used strategic planning as an education tool to help create ready minds? Hurricanes and poor weather were not foreign to the airline industry, but Hurricane Sandy would be unique and it’s devastation unpredictable.

As Hurricane Sandy took its toll, I learned that over the course of four days, airlines had cancelled over 18,000 flights. Interestingly, the airlines operated differently than in previous years with weather uncertainties. According to the Wall Street Journal’s article “Sandy shuts down Northeast air travel”, in previous years airlines would have operated many of the cancelled flights. However, examination of their previous strategy of flying as many flights as possible despite weather conditions revealed that doing so stranded crews and passengers in the wrong locations. By cancelling more flights earlier, restarting the flights has proven to be much easier.

Discussion of the actions taken by the airline industry during Hurricane Sandy in their strategic planning process is essential for improving their approach to future volatile weather threats. Recovering from 18,000 flight cancellations is a daunting task and one where strategy is essential in order to recover losses as much as possible.

Do you think the airline industry's strategy for dealing with Hurricane Sandy was effective? What can they do better next time?

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/APcfc6c35ba33a4e49a2aadc44f30b956c.html?KEYWORDS=effect+of+Sandy+on+business

Image: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/1029/Hurricane-Sandy-what-to-do-if-you-re-on-one-of-the-9-000-canceled-flights

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