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Birmingham International Airport’s Operations Management Case Study


Introduction

Birmingham International Airport, which is currently known as Birmingham airport, is situated east of Birmingham city centre in England. The airport serves both domestic and international flights mainly to the Middle East, Europe, North America and Asia. Ranked the 7th busiest in the United Kingdom, the airport has been a base for several famous airlines in Europe, such as Thomson Airways, Ryanair, Flybe, and Monarch. Moreover, Birmingham has been one of the most favourite airports for many passengers in Europe as evidenced in its performance in 2013, when it managed to hit a record of 9.6 million passengers (Feigh, 25). This may be attributed to the role played by operations manager and director at Birmingham Airport.

Key Functions of Operations Management at the Airport

There are various kinds of operations that are handled by operations management in order to provide quality products and services to customers. Some of the key functions of operations managers at the airport include coordinating and controlling terminal operations, controlling arrivals and departure of flights, and managing the day-to-day running of the airport as well as the performance of employees and service contractors.

Moreover, an operations manager liaises with other organisations and government to achieve a common goal in air transport. Finally, the manager prepares reports on monthly operations in the industry including training and development of supervisory staff (Feigh and Pritchett 26)

In controlling and coordinating the airport’s terminal operations, subordinate employees are given particular objectives and goals to accomplish. They undergo effective training in order to enable them to perform well in their respective areas of work. Big airline industries have a high number of employees to enhance service delivery to a large number of customers, unlike smaller airlines that have few and manageable crews.

Another role involves the management of arrival and departure process of flights at the airport terminal, which is achieved through the day-to-day planning process. When certain unfavourable circumstances arise, change in operation planning is effected in order to determine the best way to handle issues and monitor progress. In order to manage day-to-day activities, operations managers should fully understand the technicalities of various positions involved. Some of the positions include central control coordinator, terminal departure supervisor, ramp patrol supervisor, and ramp planning supervisor (Feigh et al. 169). Indeed, through experience and knowledge, the operations manager is able to know the responsibilities of each position and manage every task involved.

In managing the daily performance of staff members and service contractors, operations managers monitor and assess day-to-day activities of subordinate employees as well as the facility maintenance department. Facility maintenance supervisor ensures that any task on the ground is completed and resolved on time in order to facilitate the safety of flights. On a daily basis, each employee’s role is monitored effectively in order to gauge progress and avoid cases of poor customer service (“Guidebook for Airport Irregular Operations (IROPS) Contingency Planning” 189).

It is also worth noting that operations managers liaise with organisations and government agencies to aid in the development of communities and infrastructures. An effective communication network with the government is important for both the airline industry and the country, for it enables the airline industry to make plans and decisions to achieve a clear operational process for the public. It also involves various organisations that work hand-in-hand to ensure effective community policies in various regions.

Operations management plays a key role in monitoring flight data in order to make various changes, such as various direct flights that are about to depart or arrive, ensure that flight activities of all aeroplanes are adhered to, ensure that flights are carefully designated to proper parking spaces, make any changes to different routes of aeroplanes in cases of emergency and ensure that all movements of aircraft at the ground are smooth and efficient.

The person in charge of the process is the on-duty ramp supervisor who publishes all the required information for flights. This information includes the time of departure and arrival of flights, time for operation, flights destination airports, and other operational activities that involve coordinating flight movements. This information is fed into central operational software where it is released to the public for convenience.

Responsibilities of Operations Director at the Airport

The operations directors are basically concerned with short-term and medium-term operational planning and day-to-day operations in an organisation. Managers come up with teams that oversee the planning of new infrastructures, such as people, systems and car parks. These teams effect company’s long-term vision through careful study of the accomplishments and long-term projections (Feigh and Pritchett 48). They also provide leadership and coordination for various organisations and companies that work on the sites of construction. Operations directors occasionally visit project sites to ensure the smooth running of events and also provide advice on how to handle various activities well.

Importantly, organisations must seek approval from operations directors on new undertakings concerning a given project. They have operational planning meetings on an annual basis to discuss the future prospects of a company. Finally, operations directors invite various managers to annual meetings to deliberate on major issues concerning new undertakings of a company.

Challenges faced by Operation Director at the Airport

Due to delay or diversion of flights, operations directors are forced to constantly come into disagreements with customers. In some situations, customers are forced to initiate a legal suit against airports, thus affecting profitability and damaging the reputation of the sued organisation. Other than that, flights may be diverted to different destinations due to unfavourable weather conditions that lead to increased expenses in the airport (Berry and Pace 1412). Major incidences concerning security threat, such as bomb threats, pose a challenge to management of the airport. All in all, the operations director works hand-in-hand with the operations manager to coordinate and manage all the activities that take place in the airports.

Relationship between Day-to-Day Tasks and Long-term Issues at Airport

In order to achieve long-term goals of the airline industry, Richard has to successfully manage and ensure that daily activities are planned adequately. This would ensure that the goals and vision of the company are met through hard work and commitment to the industry’s objectives (Feigh 259).

Through weekly communication with various operations managers, Richard ensures efficient planning and coordination of various activities within and outside the airport. Here, he is able to monitor and assess different situations in the company. He also works hand-in-hand with organisations in order to enhance strategic planning and implementation of long-term goals. Nevertheless, organisations and government agencies provide available resources that the company requires to develop infrastructure, especially considering that the airport serves many travellers who benefit the government either directly or indirectly.

Conclusion

As discussed above, Birmingham International Airport has been successful due to proper management by its operations manager and operations director despite operating in a competitive environment. Clear definition of roles for these two positions enhances coordination and communication at the airport, including the smooth flow of travellers and airlines. Finally, as evidenced by the case study involving Richard, planning, and communication are essential for the success of an airport.

Works Cited

Berry, Katherine, and John J. Pace. “Examining the Actors and Functions of an Airline Operations Center.” Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting 55.1(2011): 1412-1416. Print.

Feigh, Karen M. “Incorporating multiple patterns of activity into the design of cognitive work support systems.” Cognition, Technology & Work 13.4 (2011): 259-279. Print.

Feigh, Karen M., and Amy R. Pritchett. “Modelling work for cognitive work support system design in operational control centers.” Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making 4.1 (2010): 1-26. Print.

Feigh, Karen, Army Pritchett, Julie Jacko and Tina Denq. “Contextual control modes during an airline rescheduling task.” Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making 1.2 (2007): 169-185. Print.

Guidebook for Airport Irregular Operations (IROPS) Contingency Planning. Washington DC: Transportation Research Board, 2012. Print.

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