The Airline Industry
The airline industry is one imperative industry at the public policy level and to economies that benefit from its services, making the globe appear as a spider web linking continents, countries and even small towns together, playing a massive and crucial position in transportation methods throughout generations. Is rivalry and competition amidst airlines enough to ensure that travelers do not pay a large amount of fares? Can an unregulated airline industry be profitable? Is air travel safe? These questions in several amalgamations have been the cornerstone of debates about the airline industry since its initiation back in a much simpler time in 1914 where passengers paid only $5.00 to take America’s first commercial plane, an eighteen-mile run of St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat line, however in this time of age technological advances, merges of airline industries and numerous alterations impacted the industry as a whole and while economic regulation and accordance accommodated constancy for both travelers and the industry, deregulation transformed all (Morrison & Vinston 1995).
An original and new fare structure was created; passengers now confronted a capriciously vast amount of fares and travel restrictions, and the offerings were modified in a repetitive manner. In the last fifteen years the airline industry’s revenues conspicuously fluctuated. Several carriers entered the airline industry that either succeeded in the competitive field such as Emirates and Qatar airlines or declared bankruptcy like Eastern, Pan Am and midway which were liquidated. As economical and financial pressures mounted, many carriers were startled and started cutting costs by skimping on maintenance and employing inexperienced pilots and by this spectacle fears have arisen that air safety regulations are being irrupted (Morrison & Vinston 1995).
Technology has evolved and altered the airline industry into a safer, better and more convenient industry. The first airplane was field tested on 17th December 1902, by Wilbur and Orville Wright. The airplane being austere and simple did not have any safety regulations available at that time, although over the past years an unquestionably large amount of airplane accidents occurred that aviators came to the realization that the main cause of aircraft failure was that there wasn’t a double engine support on both ends of the plane itself. After an improvement in technology and research, the solution was to apply and implement the idea of a double engine airplane in every well renounced air industry; hence the number of aircraft collisions was substantially reduced. One of the quintessential impacts of modern age technology on aviation are how timings and interfaces of communications between airports are meticulous and precise, controller pilot communications being a pure example of technological advances each plane has an attached communication radio that allows the pilot to communicate with different controllers around the globe (Conrad 2010).
These communications aren’t only used in midair they are also used to communicate with the airport’s tower to clear the airstrip and allow the plane to takeoff (Conrad 2010). The booking process in the airline industry that existed decades ago was tiring and tedious. Travelers are forever thankful to these industries that created user friendly and easy to exploit websites which have the procedure for booking an airline ticket rather effortless. There are also other additional options on the website such as reserving hotel rooms and renting cars all in favor of technology. The common traveler has the choice of various destinations and timings of his or her flights. Technology has changed the airline industry and improved it in several ways making it more user friendly and accessible to the passenger allowing him to make the most of his travelling experience.
Dubai National Air Travel Agency (DNATA) is a ground handling, cargo and travel services giant, which was established in 1959. The initial trading began from a small shop in Bur Dubai Souk with only five staff in ground handling operation services. By formation of specialist cargo division in 1973, the company had a large expansion and development in cargo business. The first travel office in Deira has been launched in 1979 under name DNATA Travel Services. Eventually in 1981 DNATA, moved into a new airline centre which was the biggest ticketing operation in the world during that time (DNATA.com, 2013). In 1985, it merged with Emirates Airline under Emirates Group Investment Cooperation which is currently owned by the Government of Dubai. It has been declared as fourth largest combined air service provider in the world (John, 2013).
Today ground handling operations, cargo, flight catering and travel management are DNATA’s perpetual services across 39 countries and 74 airports through 23,000 employees in corporate, retail and leisure, regional business, regional business, e-commerce and governmental travel business sectors (Imtiaz, 2013).
Ground Handling Operation
This operation is being handled by DNATA in 19 airports of eight countries included UK, Australia, and Singapore, among others through acquiring local company’s partnership in each of these countries (TheEmiratesGroup.com, 2012). As an example, DNATA has acquired Plane Handling Ltd in 2009 to provide ground handling operation in UK airports (DNATA.com, 2013).
They possess modern facilities to cater to customers’ needs and an advanced computer processing system. “A decade after opening its ground-breaking 150,000 square meters Dubai Cargo Village operation [in 2002], DNATA held 110 ground handling agreements with various carriers” (DNATA.com). Nowadays they handle more than 1.7 million tons of cargo annually over three continents.
In 2010 by obtaining Alpha Flight Group (in-flight catering business) in Singapore, its flight catering operations has boomed to 11 countries. Recently the company obtained Wings In-flight Services to operate flight catering operation in Cape Town and Johannesburg (DNATA.com).
DNATA is offering several products under travel management which include air tickets for more than 100 airlines such as Air France, Gulf Air, Lufthansa, etc., hotel booking services, holiday and government packages, car hiring together with international driving license and even providing travel insurance, in which some insurance companies are limited to UAE alone. Of late DNATA acquired the Travel Republic travel agency, the biggest privately owned travel agency in UK (Imtiaz, 2013).
DNATA has immensely progressed in the area of technological advancement. DNATA’s business system and computer software can largely be classified into Point-of-sales and ancillary systems. Point-of-sales systems would include software such as DFO, Travel Republic – which has been a strong factor in their international growth, KDS – which is a partnered Online Hosted Solution and self booking tool used mainly by High Revenue Generating or HRG customers such as Microsoft, Oracle etc. Other POS systems Vibe B2C which is the software currently active on dnatatravel.com and DMC system or Destination Management Company System which mainly deals with the Gulf Ventures Sector of the company. The ancillary systems include ProTAS which is the first system a transaction reaches. It holds several documents numbers and stamp numbers, which would require to be posted by on a daily basis into the Internal Database. Other ancillary systems are e-Travel – which acts as a system for certain regions, Tridion – which assists in the content published by the company such as newsletters, promotions for events (Imtiaz 2013)
An initial as well currently used Point-of-Sales business system is DFO – which is does not have a literal abbreviation but was originally known as DNATA Front Office. DFO began using ‘Galileo’ (now known as Travelport) system, wherein the staff where required to remember specific cryptic command to generate a travel booking. ‘Sabre’ and ‘Amadeus’ currently allow users to choose the airline, hotel, car service and other utilities and miscellaneous service, as required by a simple click of the mouse. DFO holds copious features, some of which include creating a customer profile, online ticketing, queue management, and corporate travel policy and expense tracking, among others. This system also provides a great number of advantages to DNATA such as meeting market peculiarities, optimized product booking flows, multiple product sources, quick Return on Investment (ROI) – which truly distinguish the kind of service provided and the travel technology development in the industry (Imtiaz 2013).