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Organization and risk management in airlines

Organization

In both the airlines, organizational chart was more or less similar. Flight safety office was the in charge for the safety process where they are presented under the department of corporate safety department. The president was the main person who is also called Chief Executive officer (CEO) where vice president of corporate safety reports directly to CEO. In the Corporate safety department, there are number of employees and departments working which includes, fleet safety (Aircraft maintenance, and engineering), environmental safety (hazardous materials), emergency, planning and operations, regulatory compliance and quality assurance and employee health and safety. However, in Jet Airways, Engineering department was the place where fleet safety function was takes place. In addition, within the in-flight service department, cabin safety was generally the responsible.

In Cabin Safety department of the Employee Health and Safety office, ramp safety was located. However for the Air India, both cabin safety and ground safety function are taken care by the Flight safety office. In addition this department also handles the regulatory compliance matter. But in the case of Jet Airways, there is a separate department for regulatory compliance and assurance of quality, where their main responsible is to maintain the safety audits and also ensures whether all the regulatory requirements are complied with procedures and corporate policies.

In Air India, function related to safety were typically assigned to different individual which means each individual assigned different work, where as in Jet Airways, a group of people are assigned to perform a single function. Thus, in both airlines, organization level slightly varied but more clear and logic the way private airlines handles the function than the public.

Staffing of flight safety

Both the airlines differ in their flight safety, as they made use of part time, full time and also even the flight crew volunteers. Private airlines and public airline both had full time staffing to take care of the flight safety; however the number was more as reported by the managers. Further the public airlines utilize the staff apart from the risk management to other resources such as documenting the details of the passengers.

Resources allocation to risk management

The public airlines do not utilize much resource on risk management procedures in terms of software to manage the risk, sophisticated analytical tools and other training programs. Awareness of such procedure was less among the managers, and they felt that the managers already recruited have been certified or attended training program, hence allocating resources would waste the organization money. In contrast, private airlines allocate sufficient resources as they felt that attracting customer is more important. They felt that training the staff by sending the various training program will enhance the customer directly. Hence they allocate much resource on the sophisticated analytical tools, software to manage the risk, resources for the procedures and policies such as appointing internal and external audit committee etc. But the results provided the employees were not supportive to the answers reported by the manager in the private airline industry as they reported non-allocation of sufficient resources for the training program.

Staff background who handles the risk management procedures and training requirement

In both the airlines it is compulsory to have certification to enter into the department at least the certificate in safety management. It was found that private airline staffs have attended the training program on safety related topics minimum of 1-2 week of short course. However from the managers, it was not able to obtain the specific topic on the specific program or course title or number of staff attended each year, as this will be useful to correlate with the overall impact on safety management practices followed in the organization. The employees who are employed under the safety department should have completed some kind of degree on flight safety.

Public airline employees also attended some kind of seminars, workshops and events sponsored by the international airport authority on free of cost. The course was emphasized on how to use the analytical tools, risk identification, monitor and also evaluation.

Staff training was initiated much better in private airlines than public. Although public airlines train their staff that ended up during the new recruitment training process and they are not provided training again to refresh the process. In addition, as interviewed managers from public airline reported that managers who are in-charge of risk management procedures do not have any certificates

Further managers were asked about the additional training required to enhance the skill. Private airlines identified their lacking areas such as statistical analysis and risk assessment. However range of areas was identified by the public airlines such as report preparation and communication, relation between quality and safety, audit database and analysis, air traffic control procedures, flight data recorder analysis and incident investigation. However both the airlines reported human factor analysis and statistical analysis as the main required area, which needs training.

Procedures adopted to implement the risk management

There are different procedures followed to implement the risk management. In the Private airlines there are both internal and external audit committees to monitor the progress of risk management. In private airlines Chief executive officer and executive team monitor the progress while in the public airlines stakeholders are responsible. Both the organization have risk management standards, guidelines of central agencies, directives and guidelines, legislation, audit reports and private sector risk management. Private airline depends on the international standards and standard reports as reported by the managers. In the case of public airline, they follow the procedures that have been emphasized by the private sector risk management practitioners.

Identification of risk by the organization

In private airlines, systematic and comprehensive identification of its in association with objectives and aims of the organization has been carried out. In terms sources of risk, managers reported that reputation risk, alliance risk and environmental risk as a strategic risk. In the case of operational risk they first considered financial, risk from the working such as outsourcing and private sector partnership and liability risk of public. Further technological, natural hazard risk such as vermin, floods, bushfires, earthquakes, climatic condition and security risk in terms of computer breaches, premises are given less importance. The public airlines, political risk and opportunity risk has been considered as an important strategic objective. In the case of operational risk human risk is utmost important as they involved in the employees strike, key personnel loss. Further public liability risks, project risk, compliance risk, risk arising from pilot project are some of the other operational risk as reported by the manager of public sector.

Further risk are indentified in terms its area, what, how, and why and the source. But the public airlines analyzed the risk in terms of the why, while private airlines analyzed the risk in all means as mentioned above. Further the organization also maintains a risk register/ database that record the nature, existing control, vulnerability to internal and external factors, risk taking initial, consequence and likelihood and existing control.

Roles and responsibility of the flight safety officer

Flight safety data

Flight safety data was maintained in the form of department reports by private airlines such reports of air safety, safety hotline, hazard identification, confidential human factor, technical logs of aircrafts, flight data of aircrafts, and reports of ground damage. Further the sources of information are obtained from the flight crew of the informal report, flight crew feedbacks, assessment of internal evaluation, safety assessment of line operations, magazines and safety bulletins, e-news and internet, and consolidated information.

The process of “lifecycle” incident and its report

Department staffs and Safety officer’s relationship

Tools to measure safety issues and application of analysis

The managers were asked about the safety data management and analysis system used in their respective airlines. Both the airlines have safety report management system which generate as even audit reports, CSRs and ASR. This system helps to support the process of safety event investigation, corrective actions recording which are allocated to the particular person, finally the information also tracked such as sending message automatically. Further trend analysis also provided by this software. Further this software helps to group pre-defined categories by assigning event at each level and additionally the software helped to filter irrelevant information and gather only relevant information. This risk assessment allows the managers to identify the areas that need to be focused.

The managers were asked whether the analyzed report are exchanged or communicated among the staff or other co-employees or with other airlines. Both the airlines reported that they brief the analysis report to the senior management and board safety committee. However, less on the training courses conducted for the employees, briefing to flight crew and company safety magazines. The frequency of briefing also ranged from bi-weekly in private airlines and every six months in public airlines. Further the managers were also questioned about the measurement of overall safety level but both the airlines failed to answer this perhaps due to the lack of statistical knowledge to compile all the safety levels.

Further human factor analysis tools, data mining tools, risk analysis tools are used. However, sophisticated tools to analyze the data / events were with the private airlines. Public airlines do not spend the money on getting sophisticated tools as they consider that as waste of money and still use excel to analyze the data.

Risk evaluation and treatment

Airline managers were asked about the responsibility for risk analysis, testing and treating. Public airline risks are analyzed in terms of financial impact and reputation impact. In private airlines, risks are analyzed in terms of achievement of objectives, reputation impact, and consequence and finally as financial impact. Further the risk are assessed using qualitative methods such as high, moderate and low risk in public airlines, while in private airlines risk are analyzed more quantitative analysis methods such as precisely measuring the risk. For example - ‘an event which will happen at least once a year with an impact of greater than $200k’. Further risk management reviews are analyzed over next 1-2 years in both the sectors. Risk are reviewed every week in private while every month in public airlines.

Thus, above section highlighted the different views of managers and employees in terms of risk identification, management, evaluation with respective to safety management tools availability and training of staff to monitor and assess the safety. The results provided the overall view of both public and private airlines risk management process.

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