Aviation Strategy (ECM40SE)
(50% of Module Mark)
The assignment is an important part of this module’s assessment scheme. It counts 50% towards the overall mark. You are required to read carefully the case study provided. To prepare your assignment and on the top of the information provided, you should also read the slides provided in class, and a couple of additional reference materials, as well.
Assignments are individual pieces of work that should reflect your own opinions. You should therefore restrain from getting outside assistance or copying and pasting material from the internet or other sources in order to construct your arguments. Assignments are checked for plagiarism as part of the submission process!
Formed in 1997, Star Alliance was the first global airline network or constellation. Its aim was to shift the airline industry away from a network of loose bilateral agreements between individual airlines to a more comprehensive network of multilateral agreements between members. A wave of deregulation in the industry in the 1970s and 1980s, which opened free travel between countries, led to the creation of three major global constellations: Star Alliance, Oneworld, and SkyTeam. These global networks conferred many benefits on their members, such as cost sharing, loyalty program management, and increased flight load. However, in early 2020, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had devastating effects on the airline industry. The focus of airline alliances thus shifted from greater connectivity between members to survival in the new global landscape. Would this strategy help airlines survive the COVID-19 crisis? Was group-based competition needed to thrive during a pandemic? What would be then, the correct strategy for the future? Their main concern was whether or not the powerful frameworks they created would be able to help member airlines survive this crisis and regain their pre-pandemic financial stability.
Read carefully the case study provided entitled “Star Alliance in 2020”. Assume you are in November 2020 and have just been hired as an aviation consultant, to advice Star Alliance’s Board of Directors on a suitable strategy for the next 5 years (2021 – 2025).
Prepare a report with your own views, addressing the following key points:
Strategic analysis – Perform:
A careful assessment of the current strategic positioning of the Star Alliance, identifying the various opportunities, threats, strengths and weaknesses ahead. Draw your own conclusions.
What are the main drivers of its success? Justify.
Identify the main critical success factors (CSFs)of the Star Alliance and explain how to best leverage those to achieve a better competitive position in the future.
Strategic choices and reflections – Propose:
Two alternative strategies for the future, highlighting the various pros, cons, risks and expected outcomes for each option. Explain your thoughts.
Recommend your preferred option, highlighting the key points and justify why such option should be taken.
Plan of action for implementation – Assume your recommended strategy has been approved. Prepare a brief and simple 5-year strategic plan of action (from 2021 to 2025) containing a:
clear mission and vision
Set your targets/objectives
Define your priorities
Organize your actions by focus-areas
Propose a small number of initiatives with deadlines
Define some key performance indicators (KPIs)
Justify your choices.
This case is suitable for an advanced graduate-level strategy course. The learning objectives for this case include understanding the role of alliances in a global, regulated airline industry, learning the fundamental economics of airlines, learning how a network of alliances, or constellations, can be managed, reflecting and exploring how alliances can respond to severe industry shocks.
The marking criteria for this assignment follows the scheme below:
Strategic analysis (Key Point 1)
Strategic choices and reflections (Key Point 2)
Recommended Plan of Action (Key Point 3)
Report organization, clarity, spelling, presentation, punctuation, page numbers, references, etc.
Submission and Deadlines
Assignments plus cover sheets must be electronically submitted into Moodle’s EAU portal, in accordance with the deadlines and rules setup for this effect.
In terms of effort, I expect a maximum of a 2,500-word written report (6 to 7 pages). The 2,500-word report includes headings and the body text. References, annexes, tables, charts and other additional elements should be counted in addition to that.
Penalties can be applied for those exceeding the 2,500-word limit!
The assignment should be written in a business report style format, rather than following a typical academic essay format. I expect to find, above all, evidence of sound management and good strategic thinking. Your recommendations should be based on sound/logical business arguments as well as knowledge of the contents taught in class. I also expect to find evidence on the use of references or bibliography. Because this module is focused on management practices, I expect students to use tables, charts, diagrams and other visual elements to support their views and analyses, since this is common practice in all business environments.
Writing the Assignment
The assignment should follow a certain structure, containing, at least, five important parts:
Addressing the Key Points
References or Bibliography
Most professional business reports also include an executive summary at the very beginning highlighting the main points in the report. However, since this assignment is quite small (2,500 words), such part should be skipped. At the very end, if necessary, annexes can be added. Tables, diagrams, figures and charts should be combined with the main text when necessary. Do not forget to properly reference your sources!
Good luck with your assignment!