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Healthrow Airports Sample Research Proposal



Background of the Research

            Heathrow serves as the primary hub of British Airways, the national airline and flag carrier of the United Kingdom (UK). Terminal 5 was the latest addition to Heathrow Airport, a move that perceived to elevate and empower the UK aviation industry. Terminal 5 was officially opened in a ceremony on 14 March 2008 which was led by Queen Elizabeth II and opened on 27 March 2008 for exclusive use of British Airways. The British Airways Authority (BAA) also turnover the operational control of Terminal 5 to Heathrow on that day as well.

            Apparently, the first ten days of operation proved to be lacking in efficiency and the quality of service is poor. On the first day, British Airways was forced to cancel 34 flights and suspend baggage check-in, and some 28, 000 bags failed to be delivered to the owners on the following days. There had been a total of 500 canceled flights since then. On 8 April 2008, British Airways was not able to operate its full schedule in Terminal 5.

            The purpose of the establishment of the T5 (Terminal 5, that is) to address and respond to the airport's congestion problems through massive automation. Nevertheless, the British Airways and the T5 fall short of the passenger's expectations. The fiasco at Heathrow resulted in £62 m for British Airways and British Airways Authority. In addition, the problems at T5 brought a surgence of customer bookings at rival carriers such as BMI and Virgin Atlantic Airways.   

Statement of the Problem

            What had happened calls for an immediate corrective actions on part of the British Airways. The calamitous opening of the T5 prompts the British Airways to make the necessary changes to strategic plans, especially now that Managing Director Mark Bullock had resigned. The operational readiness of the T5 was in question; whether British Airways had a good job mitigating the risks and having a comprehensive plan as well as efficient IT systems and processes, which contribute to the overall loss of revenue for British Airways.

The original plan was to provide access and runway capacity in the state-of-the-art T5. This was made possible by the operational support and leadership. As such, the operations readiness and testing blueprint emphasise that testing, providing trials, migration and staff training and familiarization was conducted. There are also well-developed and implemented passenger preparation processes, special services and disruption contingency processes and baggage handling processes.

Further, the strategic IT aim of the pan is to "have every four out of five passengers realize a check-in online, bring in their own boarding passes or use a self service kiosk.' British Airways set-up 96 service kiosks and baggage drop areas within the terminal for the purpose of enhancing customer experience and draw away from ordeals of congestion.    

How will the British Airways make the recent changes in the strategic plans profitable is the main question. Others will include: what are the changes implemented and what new strategic tools are employed. How the chaotic opening impact the overall strategic planning at British Airways will be answered as well.  

Objectives of the Study

            The main aim of this research is to evaluate the impact of the catastrophic opening of the T5 on the strategic plans of British Airways. The strategic tools that British Airways utilised are scenario planning, goals grid and the STP method. Scenario planning refers to the "what if" process that involves looking into the future, anticipating possible events, scenarios or changes, and analysing what will happen to the company as a result of those things happening, and planning to minimize any damage, and maximize opportunities. Goals, on the other hand, refer to the matrix of what do you want that you don't have? (Achieve); what do you want that you already have? (Preserve); what don't you have that you don't want? (Avoid) and what do you have now that you don't want? (Eliminate). The STP model divides the planning process into three parts: situation - evaluating and analysing the current situation and how it came about; target – involves defining goals and objectives for the future; and path – involved defining a map or path to achieve the goals or future state. Based on these strategic tools intended for the T5 operations, the strategic changes that British Airways implemented will be analysed.

Research Methodology

The study will explore the problem in an interpretative view, using exploratory research strategy because it aims to determine the present facts as well as facts that are not yet explored about the phenomenon. Exploratory research will enable the study to look at the problem in both descriptive and exploratory manner. It will look into the problem by exploring the views of different sets of respondents, as well as by exploring different literatures related with the study. Majority of the research, however, will be secondary data. The literature reviews to be presented in the second chapter of the study will represent the secondary data of the study. The secondary sources of data will come from online published articles.


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