The Case of Planet Air Travel

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TheCase of Planet Air Travel

Changeoccurs in all aspects of an organization. This change may affect theentire organization or part of the organization. Change in anorganization may range from employing a new employee to merging withanother organization. In the rapidly changing business environment,change in business organizations is inevitable. In some cases, changeis critical for the survival of a business organization due tochanges in technology, consumer preferences, legal environment orcompetition. Change process is not necessarily a complicated process(Anderson, 2010). In fact, majority of organizational changes occurswith minimum commotion. Nonetheless, resistance to change by someemployees or a group of employees is a common phenomenon. This is themost important aspect of organizational change management. Theability of an organization to effectively manage change is determinedby several factors, mainly the management styles and how theeffectiveness of flow of information. A management team seeking toimplement radical organizational change should adopt a changeinitiative that is supported by an efficient communication structure(Lorenzi and Riley, 2010, By, 2005).

Thecase of planet air travel

Internaland external drivers of change

Planetair travel is a commercial airline based in the United Kingdom. Theairline specializes in long haul flights to different destinations indifferent parts of the world. Previously, planet air travel was apublic owned company. Five years ago, the company shares were floatedin the stock market. The floating of shares attracted a lot ofattention from both individuals and cooperate organizations. Although this happened five years ago, it has had a direct impact onthe organization management. The changes in ownership led to changesin the human resources management strategies in the organization. Forexample, the terms of conditions of all employees was revised. Forexample, pilots and members of the cabin crew were given a thirtypercent salary increase while the support staff and ground crew gottwenty five percent. As a result, workers in the airline were paidrelatively more that workers in other airlines despite them workingfor reduced hours.

Unfortunately,the airline industry is highly susceptible to turbulence in theeconomy. A slowdown in the economy has a huge impact on the airlineindustry. Therefore, the global financial crisis that negativelyaffected the global economies in the late 2000s had huge impacts onthe airline industry. Due to the financial crisis, many economies inthe world experienced reduced disposable income and businessactivities. As a result, the demand for travel services, mainly firstclass and business class travel reduced significantly (Oprea, 2010,Kotz, 2015). As a result, planet air travel reported a thirty millionpound loss. Within three months, the company reported a loss of tenmillion pounds. This was as a direct impact of the economic slowdownthat resulted from the global financial crisis. However, there arespecific factors, other than the reduced demand for travel servicesthat are directly or indirectly related to the financial crisis thathad an impact on planet air travel profitability. This includesunstable global fuel prices, changes in taxation and related laws andthe general increase in commodities (Dobruszekes, 2009).Additionally, the financial stability of the airline was negativelyaffected by intense competition in the air transport industry. Theairline was competing with other airlines for both customers andworkers. There are other factors in the modern airline industry thatdirectly impacted on profitability of planet air travel. Thisincludes increased demand for airlines to adopt environmentallyfriendly technologies and modernization of their services.

Changesfacing the airline

Theseinternal and external factors forced the management of the airline tocall for a board meeting to review the business situation and proposea business model to deal with the challenges facing the airline. Thiswould propose a strategic plan that would promote the competitivenessof planet air travel. In the board meeting m a twofold strategy wasproposed where planet air travel was to merge with Air Nimble whichconcentrated on the European market, and join the Proxima Alliancewhich is an alliance of the leading airlines in the world. In themerger, planet air travel would retain the brand name due to itsstrong brand power and thus increase its fleet size and routenetwork. Additionally, the airline will be able to venture into bothshort haul and long haul markets as a result of the expanded businessenvironment. However, the proposed changes in the business modelwill be supported by numerous structural and functional changes inthe airline. This includes restructuring to increase efficiency andreduce cost of operation. For example, the salary structure was tobe harmonized with Air Nimble structure and the number of workersreduced by ten percent. On the other hand, in order to join theglobal alliance, the airline needed to restructure its operations andcustomer services to global standards.

Employees’reactions to proposed change

Themanagement of planet air travel was faced with an enormous task ofimplementing change in the organization. Due to poor communication ofthe strategy to the workers, there were mixed reactions from theworkers. The workers in the airline got information about the planthrough hearsay and other sources, rather than formal communicationfrom the management. The management called an immediate meeting withthe workers union to discuss the proposed strategy, which wasreceived both positively and negatively. While union received some ofthe proposals with positively and approved them while some proposalswere rejected fiercely. The unions approved the merger and joiningthe alliance which would bring about multiple benefits to theorganization but objected with rage a proposal to change the termsand conditions of employment which will reduce the number of workersand lower their pay. As a result, the workers representatives did notreach an agreement with the management. The employee, through theirrepresentatives expressed displeasure with the decision by themanagement to change the terms of employment without consultations.The management made plans to alter the terms of employment, whichincluded termination of employment contracts and changes in salarieswithout considering its impacts on the financial wellbeing and livesof the employees. This had a direct impact on the employees’morale. This could have had negative impacts on the implementation ofthe plan and the future of the organization.

Themanagement of planet air travel was faced with a case of widespreademployee resistance to change. Usually, when an organizationimplement changes, individuals are likely to feel threatened, andthus resist change. This is mainly because they are used to thestatus quo, but the impacts of the change are uncertain. Thevagueness and ambiguity of change, relative to the comfort of thestatus quo is the main reason why employees resist change (Kuipers,2014). Nonetheless, adequate preparation through effectivecommunication and participation of all stakeholders reducesincidences of employee resistance. This did not happen in the case ofplanet air travel. The employees did not receive adequate informationfrom the management. This resulted into anxiety and fear of what waslikely to happen. While some employees feared losing their jobs,others feared increased responsibilities as well as performanceexpectations. The merger proposed by planet air travel managementinvolved a shift in balance of power as well as organizationalculture which had a direct impact on how human relations. Usually,organizational changes are resisted by individual employees or asmall group of employees. However, there are incidences where changeis resisted by majority of the employees. This was the case facingplanet air travel. As a result, the management realized that theservices of an expert were essential in the implementation of thestrategic plan.

Recommendedmanagement plan

Effectivecommunication has a huge impact on how employees in an organizationperceive change in an organization. Therefore, the first thing theexpert will realize in the planet air travel case is impropercommunication by the management. The employees of the airline wereunaware of the challenges facing the organization. Additionally, theywere not involved in the formulation of the turnaround plan or madeaware of the plan, despite them being directly affected by it. Toavoid the resistance, the management should have communicated to theemployees through their representatives or the line managers. Thiscould have adequately prepared the employees since they would beaware of the challenges facing the organization and possiblestrategic steps (Hayes, 2014).

There are several reasons why management in an organization can makea deliberate decision not to communicate to the employees aboutchallenges facing the organization or planned changes. The mostimportant reason is the management and leadership style adopted bythe organization. For example, some management has the perceptionthat employees are self centered and untrustworthy and thus do notcare about the future of the organization. Other reasons may includefear of negative feedback, to avoid conflict, lack of communicationstructures and organization culture that foes not promote employeesparticipation in decision making (Coram and Burnes, 2001).

Tocorrect the situation, the expert should begin by creating acommunication channel through which information can be able to flowbetween the workers and the management. This would ensure that allthe employees have adequate information on the challenges facing theorganization. For example, the employees need to know that themassive losses threaten the existence of the airline and thus theirjob. This would enable the workers through their representatives orline managers to give their views and feedbacks. Based on thefeedbacks, the expert would assist the management to analyze thefeedbacks and develop a workable solution. For example, the expertwould discuss the different aspects of the twofold strategy with theworkers representatives to reach an agreement. This may include analternative to immediate job cuts and salary reduction.

However,this compromise by the management can be compensated with otheraspects of the collective bargaining agreement between the airlinesand the workers representatives. This includes employees proposingideas on how they can improve the performance of the organization. Topromote this, employees will be rewarded for positive contribution toorganizational improvement. Key aspects of the agreement can beprofessional progress of the employees. For planet air travel toeffectively compete in the increasingly competitive global airlineindustry, both cabin crew and ground crew should be able to meet theneeds of the dynamic market and diverse customers. The employees needto upgrade their skills and knowledge through training to meet thedemands. On the other hand, the expert can propose effective methodsof appraisal and good performance recognition. This appraisal can bethe basis for biannual rewards or promotion to encourage competitionand excellence.

Thereare several ways through which the management can determine theeffectiveness of the expert intervention. Rather than employees beingopposed to change, they would be enthusiastic about decisions by themanagement that are aimed at improving the performance of theairline. The employees would give positive input and play an activerole in the implementation of the strategic plan. However, someemployees may be unhappy with changes in the workplaces andorganizational structures. This will have less significant comparedto resistance from all employees. It is also important for the expertto assist employees in coping with change in the workplace. Some ofthe employees will need to undergo the five stages of coping withchange, which has an impact on performance. These stages includedenial, defense, discarding, adaptation and internalization (Simpson,2011). The plan by the expert will ensure that planet air travel isable to successfully implement the turnaround strategic plan.


Changein an organization is inevitable. Change can affect the allorganization, individual employees, group of employees, departmentsor the industry. Due to the dynamic nature of business environment,in which modern organizations are operating, managing change is animportant management process. Planet air travel is faced withnumerous challenges which have resulted into massive losses. However,due to poor communication, there is massive resistance to change.This makes the implementation of the turnaround plan impossible.Through the services of an expert, the airline can identify thecommunication gaps in the organization. This will enable the planeteffective manage change.


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Simpson,N. 2001. ChangeManagement.London: Sage.

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