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An investigation of potential brand inconsistencies within airline strategic alliances

By Konstantinos Kalligiannis

Abstract

The globalisation and deregulation in the air transport industry has resulted in a rapid and massive increase in competition. As a consequence, major airlines around the world have responded by forming strategic global alliances in order to be able to compete effectively on a global basis. Airline brand managers of the airlines participating in these alliances now have the additional responsibility to undertake a task that would have seemed almost impossible a few years before; to promote under a single global brand, very distinctive airline brands. This is further complicated with the subdivision of brand responsibility between increasing numbers of individual airline brand managers with varying degrees of autonomy. Although there have been many studies in identifying different forms of impact that airline alliances have on their members, none of them was in terms of branding. This research investigates the impacts of the individual airline brands of airlines that participate in the global alliances and their alliance brands. In order to achieve this aim, the alliances’ and airlinemembers’ branding was initially analysed to identify branding consistencies within each global alliance. The second step was to carry out a survey of the airlines’ marketing departments to identify the airlines’ points of view on the issue. Finally, a survey of passengers identifies their perspective. By comparing the airlines’ points of view on their alliance branding (alliance branding strategy) with their websites’ marketing (branding strategy implementation) and the passengers’ point of view (branding outcome), shortfalls in the alliance branding processes are identified. Moreover, the SERVQUAL model is modified and applied for the airline passenger survey and by carrying out a factor analysis of the survey results, it is identified that the original five dimensions that the items included in the model are designed to correlate with each other are not applicable in the airline industry, but instead the same items are better correlated into four new factors. The key findings of this research are that airline passengers have different service quality expectations among the airlines participating in the same alliances and that their expectations are influenced by the airline that they fly with most regularly. This results in high quality airlines being negatively affected by their lower quality alliance partners

Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk:1826/4062
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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