Operating a successful airline requires a lot of risk taking, ingenuity, and flexible planning. It is an industry where you have to be extremely nimble and dynamic- expect to be put on your tows over and over again. Long term planning for a local airline is about 60 days, so you can expect to be making decisions with an inherent element of risk. You are an entrepreneur, and many of the decisions that you will routinely make will reflect that.
You want to be as close to your customers as possible. At no point will you ever want a third-party intermediary to come between you and your clients. No matter how good they are, they will never be a suitable substitute for personable, friendly service.
To ensure that the service that you are providing is projecting your brand image, make sure that your employees understand the mindset required for consistent service. Your customers will always respond better to friendly service as opposed to discounted rates. Better customer service should be something any business should strive for.
As a carrier, avoid heavily discounting your prices. In this field, discounted rates will kill your revenue, and it may even work against you by creating a negative brand image among consumers. Your reputation will make or break you, and tarnishing it is the last thing that you will want to do.
To project your brand, you must first personalize it so that your customers can identify it. This is especially true of any staff, such as flight attendants, who will be taking care of your passengers. Your staff will be the face of your business, and the image that they project will be noticed by your customers.
An example of this is the “Singapore Girl”, an icon of Singapore Airlines brand. This image is so strong, in fact, that Madame Tassaud’s Wax Museum in London now displays a “Singapore Girl”- the first commercial figure, ever.
Your staff must be rigorously trained in all levels of safety and service. Your staff should project a feeling of competence and safety. This, along with a few other factors, will establish your credibility.
Owning a fleet of newer aircraft will do more than simply establish your credibility: it will also lower your fuel costs. Seeing as how nearly 20% of the costs of running an airline comes from fuel, this will only serve to benefit you in the long run. You may also benefit from signing a fuel contract for a few years to avoid volatility in price.
With any luck, your airline should be thriving and profitable. The most important thing that you can do, after all of the success and the resulting increase in cash flow, is stay true to your roots and never forget where you came from. Even though you’re in the business of flying, you’ll always want to stay “grounded”.
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