Consultancy Report

  • Category:
  • Document type:
    Research Paper
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

Consultancy Report 23



The research report embodies the results for possible ways to enhance quality services to aviation customers and besides that, find a way of creating value to customers’ services by improving their prospects in the industry. In order to achieve these, the research raised a research question and a number of objectives. The formulation of a research question and objectives resulted from intensive research in customer services in the aviation industry as listed below.

Research question: How to deliver excellent quality ground services and to create value to aviation customers?

Research objectives:

The main objectives, which led to this project, are as listed below:

  1. To inspect the influence and effect of service quality delivery on customer satisfaction in the industry of aviation.

  2. To review procedures, work process, and give recommendations on changes for best practices.

  3. To provide safety, efficient, and on-time approach measures for aviation customers.

  4. To find out appropriate operating models and business strategies to simplify resources for work force provision.

  5. To generate a solution to a company using an executive plan followed by the operation staff.

Chapter 1: Introduction.

    1. Historical Background.

Ground handling operations in aviation describes the servicing of the aircraft in confined areas while still at a terminal point on the ground. Most of the ground handling services subcontract to airports, airlines, or even agents for ground handling. According to research, the statistics indicate that aviation industry outsource not less than fifty percent of the ground handling.

Equally well, SAP should generate a conducive environment for effective working of its employees. Research shows that, if the employees are working under an enabling environment, they will deliver quality services to the customers. As a result, creating a happy environment for both employees and customers using the airline. Consequently, quality services will result to customer satisfaction. Meeting customers’ satisfaction will result to customer loyalty to the company, creating positive long-term effects to the company’s operations.

One way of creating customer loyalty is by practising personal attention and providing quality services to them. SAP should pay attention to small concerns of the customers. The company should respond to customer’s specifications. This will enable customers to get the quality services they want.

The quality of services to aviation customers is an essential priority as it provides excellent quality services that generates customer satisfaction. In this view, grounding service quality and customer satisfaction provides a critical measure for the level of competitiveness in the aviation industry. The major challenge in aviation industry is the service quality. As such, it is an indicator of either success or failure of the business.

    1. Research Aims.

The aim of this research is to determine ways to deliver quality customer services in the aviation industry and besides that, create value in the services. The suggestions based in the evaluation of the services, the customer needs, and the analysis of the industry itself.

    1. Research Question and Objectives.

The main purpose of conducting this research is to determine how to achieve the research question and objectives in relation to SAP Ground Service LTD. additionally; the research presents a centre thinking from the competitive advantage as suggested by Michael E Porter (2004).

      1. Research Question.

How to deliver excellent quality ground services and to create value to aviation customers?

      1. Research Objectives.

The overall objectives of this project include:

  1. To inspect the influence and effect of service quality delivery on customer satisfaction in the industry of aviation.

  2. To review procedures, work process, and give recommendations on changes for best practices.

  3. To provide safety, efficient, and on-time approach measures for aviation customers.

  4. To find out appropriate operating models and business strategies to simplify resources for work force provision.

  5. To generate a solution to a company using an executive plan followed by the operation staff.

The report of this research will revolve around the objectives that will generate a background data analysis, results and findings. The next chapter after the introduction is the literature review, related to the research question and objectives. The coverage of literature review is essential as it provides the better understanding of the research conducted in this presentation and will generate a base for analysis and research conducted in this report. Explanation of research methodology will then follow and this will guide us on methods used in conducting research and indicate some limitations involved in the methods used. Consequently, the report proceeds ahead in explaining the data collection methods used and the analysis. Finally, the report provides a conclusion accompanied by recommendations proposed in the research. The list of appendices will contains a brief summary of further tools and information used in the research.

    1. Hypothesis.

If excellent quality ground services and practices apply at the airport terminals, then congestions in airports will reduce increasing efficiency and effectiveness in operation of airlines. As such, this will create customer satisfaction hence, increasing the competitive advantage.

    1. Structure of the Report.

This report has the following structure:

  • Chapter 2: Literature Review.

  • Chapter 3: Research Methodology.

  • Chapter 4: Data Collection and Analysis.

  • Chapter 5: Conclusion and Recommendations.

Chapter 2: Literature Review.

    1. Introduction

This report critically provides a clear assessment of how SAP Ground Services Ltd provides an excellent quality ground services in Hong Kong International Airport. This is in relation to this report’s research question and objectives. Consequently, the chapter arranges sections in a way to present findings on each individual objective of the research.

    1. Overview

Ground handling is a term used in aviation to describe the servicing of an aircraft while at a confined terminal point. In most cases, ground-handling services focus on speed, accuracy, and efficiency. These factors are essential as it helps minimize the turnaround time of the airplane. Consequently, airlines that have fewer resources at their destination in most cases subcontract the services of ground handling to other airlines.

This report focuses on how excellent quality ground services can help create value in aviation customers.

    1. Aviation Industry

The Aviation Industry has played an integral role in the global economy. This is through major economic forces such as tourism and aircraft manufacturing. Profitability in the market share and dominant competition has been the major trend facing the aviation industry as each airline wants to outsmart the other to gain much market share as explained by (Garefalakis, 2016). Regarding this argument, the airlines compete by providing quality services that meet customers’ expectations as suggested by (Hung et al, 2003). According to (Lewis, 1989), comprehensive measure of competitiveness in the aviation industry is achieved through quality service and satisfaction of customers’ expectations. Airline Company ensures successful operation through proper coordination between airlines and the ground handling companies collaborating with them.

      1. Service quality.

Different researchers have come up with the development of a number of conceptual models in service quality in the aviation industry. This service quality models are essential as they enable the management teams to counter emerging problems and hence, assist in launching better improvement to avoid the challenges.

Therefore, this will give assurance in enhanced effectiveness, profitability, and better performance index in general as suggested by (Deshmukh, 2005). Service perceived and expected service form two major aspects that define service quality. According to (Fitzsimmons, 2001), comparison between service perception and service expected gives clear identification of customer satisfaction.

      1. Customer Satisfaction

Satisfaction is the overall customer fulfillment in the product or service consumption as defined by (McDougall, 1996). Customers who are satisfied by the services provided will make an attempt of returning whilst those who are not satisfied will look for better services that meet there expectations elsewhere (Heskett et al, 1994).

The quality of services offered by the airline is an indicator that gives a reflection on perception of customers on the service. On the other hand, product and quality of service, price, and personal factors are perceptions that determine satisfaction as described by (Zeithaml, 2001).

Customer satisfaction is a key factor in airline service operations due to benefits articulated to the organizations (Runaweera, 2003). The benefit of customer satisfaction on airline organizations ensures profitable and successful operation of the company as suggested by (Metters, 2003). Additionally, if customer satisfaction is well accomplished, the customers who enjoyed the service will tell others about the quality of services enjoyed hence acting as a formal advertisement for an organization increasing its marketability scale (Halstead 1992). Customer satisfaction has the benefit of reducing the costs on managing service failures due to limited cases of reported complaints as suggested by (Fornell, 1996).

    1. SAP Ground Services Ltd (SAP).

Every airline has a ground handling company. As such, Hong Kong International Airport receives its ground handling services from SAP, which is one of the best ground handling company in the world. SAP provides a variety of services to the Hong Kong International Airport. As such, they include base and line maintenance, cabin services, supply and store services, ground equipment support, and catering.

      1. Base and Line Maintenance.

Aircrafts require frequent performance of base and line maintenance, which help in evaluating aircraft system checks. SAP Ground Service Ltd does this by critically evaluating time-consuming tasks for instance structural work, prevention of corrosion, interior refurbishment, and replacement of main components to avoid defects. The base and line maintenance is essential to any aircraft as it ensures safety and correct functioning of the aircraft during the flight. Consequently, SAP Ground Service sets essential criteria to carry out quality base and line maintenance to satisfy the passenger expectations of safe and on-time flight operation within their specified areas of destinations.

SAP offers quality base and line maintenance in Hong Kong International Airport and this helps in solving challenges of flight delays, technical problems that are not well known, and deferred maintenance repairs. By doing so, the quality service provision by the company impacts positively on customer satisfaction by ensuring a safe flight and besides safety, the customer desire of on-time departure and destination is also accomplished. In this context, the report achieves our first objective of the impact of quality service on customer satisfaction. Concerning the first objective, SAP Company offers quality ground services on base and line maintenance, which impact on customer satisfaction by providing safe and on-time flights.

      1. Cabin Services.

SAP Ground Service Ltd treats all customers as equals when offering its cabin services. The customers are welcomed on board with warmth and sincerity, as such; this makes them feel valued and appreciated. According to (Callahan, 2012), the outstanding services offered to customers by SAP are crucial to Hong Kong International Airport as it helps in branding the image of the company and its airline reputation and survival. Sap does cabin services by offering an extra meal, sitting customers together to avoid splitting at the check-in, adding a personal touch to customers. These services create an enabling atmosphere that motivates, encourages, and provide best services to the airline customers. The cabin crew at SAP uses an executive plan of quality cabin services and this helps to provide a solution of reputable company image. The customers using Hong Kong International Airport will again wish to use the airline due to good hospitality offered by the cabin crew.

      1. Supply and Storage Services.

SAP Ground Services Ltd provides warehousing services under security strict and clean conducive environment at the Hong Kong International Airport factory buildings. The area of service is convenient to its customers. Additionally, the charge levied on the goods is also friendly and reasonable. Hong Kong International Airport is one of the world’s top aviation industry that offers reliable and effective air cargo services with highest standards of security and safety. The quality of supply and storage services of SAP at HKIA has enabled the airline to gain international recognition by winning several awards such as cargo airport of the year.

      1. Ground equipment support.

These are support equipment mostly found at the confined terminals of the airport to offer services to aircraft before flight as suggested by (Kolody, 2014). The ground operations support aircraft while still on the ground. Basing on this service provision, SAP offers mobility of aircraft, ground power operations, and loading of passengers and cargo. SAP Ground Services Ltd performs ground service under great scrutiny of its experienced staff to avoid employee injuries. SAP maintains safety by ensuring safe practices on work and attentiveness while carrying out duties. This practices guarantee employee safety.

SAP Ground Services Ltd ensures customer satisfaction by maintaining practices such as safety of the passengers and cargo, innovation to provide effective and convenient services to its customers, positive communication to add personal touch to customers, proper resource management to avoid additional costs on customers, and teamwork to provide efficiency and delegate the strength and weakness of each member. According to (Ranaweera, 2003), in every market field, there is competition always. According to (Yates, 1978) concerning this argument, SAP is enduring a very stiff competition from its competitors and therefore, the company has to come up with new strategies to counter the problem. The competition has reduced company’s market share affecting profit margin negatively. For SAP to increase initial profitability, maintain existing customers, and attracting new potential customers, the company has to add value in its customer satisfaction by enhancing areas like service quality, employee deployment, and appropriate utilization of resources.

    1. C & C Consulting Service Limited(C & C).

C & C Consulting Service Limited offers field services by providing quality and reliable research information. C & C use latest technological tools in collecting the available data in the field. In this juncture, the company provides accurate, reliable, and quality information to airlines and ground handling companies such as SAP. Besides the collection of data, the company also does the analysis of the data collected, which helps companies define their place in the market. The analysis of the collected data also enables the companies to improve on their products to increase market demand.

C & C has over twenty-five years of Market Research with viable experience in data collection and is trusted with a wide range of customers in Hong Kong including ground handling services companies and airlines. As suggested by (Wong, 2015), the company has over two hundred clients in twenty countries globally. The services offered by the company range from surveys on simple pen and paper to customize online surveys. C & C uses quality data tracking tools, which enable efficient packaging of data, storage of data, and monitoring of data. The company formulates critical issues in aviation by articulating comprehensive measures to generate solutions. In this case, the company ensures efficiency and security of information by ensuring automatic storage of data; facilitate quicker data access, and packaging. Definitely, this helps SAP incorporate its ground handling services more efficiently in order to satisfy the needs of the customers on board of the airline. The procedures used by C & C Company in collecting data, and the workforce incorporated by the experienced staff in storing and facilitating quick data access with minimal human interventions provides the best service operation to airline SAP. Besides efficient and reliable data service provision, it will be needless if the company does not offer security to the collected data. The world we living today is full of malware and cyber insecurities. Therefore, it is the responsibility of C & C Company Ltd to offer best security practices on the data collected and stored. This argument helps the report on achieving the second objective of this research.

Chapter 3: Methodology.

The necessity of conducting this research was to be able to answer the research question and achieve the set objectives. In this chapter, the report provides a brief summary of the work carried out by revisiting major issues and aspects addressed earlier in the report. The chapter discusses the philosophies used, strategy, research design, survey sample, as well as the implementation used.

    1. Philosophies used.

      1. Quantitative Research Design.

The research involved a quantitative analysis of data, which incorporated a few open-ended questions from the sources to gather variety of thoughts as suggested by (Rahman, 2015). The rest embodied a variety of closed questions, rated and ranked accordingly. The aim of this approach was to avoid complications in survey (Moore, 2006).

The research distributed 200 questionnaires at the point of sale and 100-email invitation to online customers. After a specified time span of two weeks, the response from the online survey was 15% while in two weeks period of filling the form, there were 120 responses receiving an estimate of 58%.

      1. Qualitative Research.

Qualitative research was conducted through interviews intending to find out more about satisfaction of the customers from the services offered by the airline (Jidegren, 2015). The interviews conducted from different customers and company officials were more efficient as it allowed to give the direction of conversation hence exploring constrains in the research. Conversely, interviews were time-consuming thus not giving effectiveness in disperse information coverage. Another drawback of the interviews was coverage of limited themes due to lack of scope. C & C research team conducted four interviews with the management of SAP Ground Services Ltd covering the research question theme. This provided information about the internal environment of the company and gave insight about how it operates to offer quality services to the customers.

      1. Multiple Method Research Design.

The main aim of our research was to gather detailed information to achieve the target on answering the research question. As such, C &C conducted experimental and observational research methods at the same time. The team selected three members of the research team to experiment customer service at Hong Kong International Airport. After the service from the airline, two members gave positive testimonials on the quality and effective customer service offered by the ground service handling company (Portney, 2015). They testified that the flight was safe and on time with observations on decent and friendly hospitality from the staff members. The remaining member gave unsatisfied opinion about the customer service. The airline did not meet his expectation in the price of the flight as compared to the quality of the services offered. He also observed hypocritical behavior from the staff members of the airline who pretended to be casual and friendly just to please the customers. By description, this method of research was the most difficult due to expenses incurred. Additionally, it also consumed much time in the field and drain scalable amount of resources as suggested by (Campbell, 2015). However, multiple research captures detailed information as the method uses more than one method at the same time.

      1. Mixed method research design.

The research involved qualitative and quantitative aspects where it used semi structured interviews and group interviews as explained by (Leedy, 2016). The survey data structured interviews and questionnaires from content analysis where customers who filled the questionnaires gave open-ended responses on the quality of the service offered at the airline. The research team analyzed the data then drew conclusions.

In this research, the mixed method research design is suitable as compared to other methods as suggested by (Palinkas, 2015). This is because it has both aspects of qualitative and quantitative research conducted simultaneously. Interviews allow personal interaction with the customers. The researcher can take on direction of the conversation and responses from the customers on the quality of the services offered exploring on various constrains on the research question and objectives. The questionnaire on the other hand will give the respondent enough time to give critical answers. Other research methods may fail to accomplish this fact. Therefore, mixed research design gives accurate feedback since it has both qualitative and quantitative aspects.

    1. Strategy

C & C looked for an overall strategy before conducting the survey of data collection. The company looked at the ways different variables of structuring data before it indulged in data collection. The company came up with a strategic plan on which data to enumerate and which one was to sample as suggested by (DePoy, 2016). The company finally used the strategy that reflected the budget and the expertise available. The strategy validating the methods of collecting the data incorporated stakeholders’ participation. The stakeholders are the people who have detailed information of the topic under research as it is under their field of specialization. C& C used a continued mechanism for data feedback from the sources. This ensured consistence of data quality and origin. Therefore, the approach ensured persistent focus on the question under research. The methods used in the collection and analysis of data were designed according to the form of satisfaction expected to be derived.

    1. Research Design and Survey.

The nature of the research carried out by C &C was of exploratory design. The research engrossed mostly on analysis of the internal operation of ground handling services of the company and its environment. This helped in giving clear evaluation of strategic alternatives of the company in ensuring quality services to its customers. The research used the method of case study as explained by (Vogt, 2016). Case study approach is effective in giving detailed information on the process used in achieving the purpose of the research. Therefore, it is essential since the research question mostly relies on the purpose of the research.

The methods of research design used in the survey included qualitative research method, qualitative research method, multiple research method, and mixed research method. The purpose of using all these methods of research design was to gather as much detailed information as possible to give credibility to the final analysis of the research.

C & C conducted Qualitative research through interview with the staff members, management body, and customers of SAP Ground Services Ltd in Hong Kong International Airport. C & C proceeded ahead to conduct quantitative research through questionnaires, which were administered through online platform to the company’s customers. After the customers had completed in filling the questionnaires, they submitted through online and the copies were printed.

The focus of quantitative analysis was to get more information from customers’ opinions about their satisfaction from the company’s services.

    1. Implementation.

C & C used a conceptual framework as suggested by (Jidegren, 2015) to map use of mixed method of research design in dimensions of qualitative and quantitative research. The method reviewed on data collected through questionnaires where 230 respondents filled up the questionnaires and the 208 responds submitted were used in the implementation of the research. C & C analyzed the results and presented to the company.

The survey used mixed methods whereby, quantitative methods of research measured implementation of the outcomes while qualitative method of research to give the understanding of the processes used in collecting data.

C & C implemented Qualitative research because the method is appropriate for giving descriptive details on how the customers and staff members engaged with C & C in providing information about customer satisfaction at the airline. However, the satisfaction of the customers varies with experience on the service quality delivered so the company captured their experiences by words for implementation.

The major part of the research focused on customer satisfaction and the methods used to improve customer satisfaction used in implementation. Major research focused on quality service delivery aimed its focus at implementation stage.

Chapter 4: Data collection and analysis.

C& C. carried out the data collection method using mixed research method analysis by using both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection. Quantitative research involved questionnaires as explained by (Thomson, 2014). SAP Ground Services Ltd has a secure database that contained the emails of the customers obtained in their online services when they place orders. C & C prepared 230 questionnaires. The company printed the questionnaires and distributed them to customers and some officials working in the airline in different department to fill. C & C sent some of the questionnaires to customers through their mails found in SAP database through the orders they place, while other questionnaires sent to customers in different destinations. After successful filling of the questionnaires, the company received a response of 208 whereby, only nine of the questionnaires considered invalid.

C& C again proceeded by carrying out qualitative analysis, which involved interviews with the customers and other stakeholders in the airline. This research involved the method of semi structured with the main aim of getting enough detailed about the quality services of the company. Semi-structured interviews were more convenient in collecting accurate data as it involved in choosing the direction of the conversation. In this research, C& C chose to use semi-structured type of interview. This is because it provides an opportunity in getting the required information. The company conducted three interviews with the officials of the airline covering themes appropriate to the research question. The interview gave the intuition of the operations in the company. Furthermore, it provided a clear understanding of how the company uses different strategies in attracting customers. After the collection of data, C& C performed the analysis.

The interviews added credibility in accuracy of the data collected. This was through avoiding biasness due to personal contact with the people. C& C had already done a prior research about the airline services therefore, knowing the direction of the interview. This ensured the suitability of the interviewer in conducting the process.

Despite high credibility to accurate data collected, C& C experienced some drawbacks in the process of the survey. The research was only limited to a small customer base hence giving a restricted estimate of information. Therefore, the rate of the survey was at a low rate coverage. This provides limited accurate data as some customers’ lack the chance to express their grievances. Some of the officials hesitated providing detailed financial information hence, making it difficult to determine the company’s market competence. Consequently, C& C experienced a problem of limited time to carry out enough survey. Additionally, the resources for conducting research were also limited.

From the data collected through questionnaires and interviews, C & C collected one hundred and fifty six comments from the customers. Whereby planning received a high number of comments 59, base maintenance received 53 comments, towing received 14 comments, cabin services received 12 comments, ground support equipment also received 12 comments, cabin services received four, and lastly line maintenance received two comments.

After the collection of data, C& C. analyzed the data collected from Hong Kong International Airport’s database record of customers’ satisfactions, and identified the following findings on various services offered in base and line maintenance, cabin services, ground and support equipment, supply and store, staff, and finally made the overall rating as explained by (Gelman, 2014).


Base and Line Maintenance


Customer order handling

Service quality

On-time position

Defect handling

Cabin services

On-time positioning

Cleanliness quality

Quality ground optimization

Ground support equipment

Equipment positioning

Equipment availability

Supply and store

Delivery of parts

Management of store




Safety awareness



Overall rating

The above table shows the findings of customer satisfaction in various ground services delivered by SAP.

Further findings showed that, approximately two hundred and fifty flights take place in a month. However, the findings demonstrated that in a day the peak hour that recorded the highest flight number was between 0800 to 1159 hrs.

C & C carried out the analysis of cost breakdown by providing a consultancy period of six months to SAP Ground Services Ltd. The prices in the chart below calculate approximated person-hours as shown in the Gantt chart of this project as suggested by (Thomson, 2014).

Project Stage

Estimated Man-Hours

Initiate Stage of the project

240 man-hours

HK$1,000 / man-hour


Questionnaire Design

320 man-hours

HK$1,000 / man-hour


Execute Questionnaire

320 man-hours

HK$1,000 / man-hour


Data Collection & Analysis

320 man-hours

HK$1,000 / man-hour


Final Stage of the project

240 man-hours

HK$1,000 / man-hour


Additional man-hour

HK$1,000 / man-hour or part thereof

    1. Timescale (Gantt chart).

This project provides a timescale as a basis for development of the project and discussion (Maylor, 2001). This lays a foundation for modification and customization of the project in a later stage. The reference is from Appendix B for more details of the timescale.

    1. Milestone

The milestone below shows the significance of the date of delivery for this project according to (Maylor, 2001).

Consultancy Report

    1. Resources

The people who contributed largely in this project include Ms. Winnie Wong who is the head of service quality. She joined C & C in the year 2010. She had vast experience of twenty years in aviation industry. She has skilled knowledge on customer expectations and requirements in the industry of aviation.

Other personnel are Ms. Connie Lam who worked in C & C since 2009 to date. She has worked in several departments of ground handling companies including standard and performance department and commercial department over a period of eighteen years in Hong Kong. She has a better understanding in formulating new policy regulations, best practices promotion, service delivery, and innovation.

Mr. Leo Chan joined C& C in the year 2008. He had earlier on worked in an IT company that supported airport information system in software. He has vast knowledge and experience in aviation system programs and information technology in airport management. Consequently, he also has experience in ground handling services in airlines.

Beside the mentioned experts, a team of management will also take part in clerical and data analysis for research management. The participation of the team in the project will enable SAP to use the methodologies, industry experience, and best practices in the industry to focus on the analysis.

  1. Conclusion and Recommendations

    1. Conclusion

Dedicated profession teams with full responsibility for cabin services deliver quality service. As such, it is their area of specialization and due to viable knowledge on adverse operations in the cabin; they have adequate experience in the field. Experience leads to better workability. Basing on this conclusion, dedicated profession teams will increase efficiency for operations taking place in the cabin.

The project research has revealed that, focus on peak hours at the airline’s operations will improve time performance at the work. On focusing at the peak hour managers will recruit part-time staff members, which will help reduce on workload and definitely lead to best time performance during the peak hours.

Customer satisfaction is one of the most essential factor in the operation of any company. It contributes much in company’s market competence. Essentially, failure to meet customers’ expectations, then the company stands a risk of losing market value, as the customers will look for substitute service offer with better quality. However, according to data analyzed in this research, the customers who have experienced problems in their flights by losing their belongings, poor personal touch at the airlines, delays on on-time arrival, and low customer service quality will soon take a sigh of relief. According to the results of research conducted by C& C Company Ltd, there is a high level of competitiveness in the aviation industry. This competitiveness ensures quality service provision to the customers. Customers tend to be very selective in the effectiveness of the quality service offered to them. Therefore, for aviation airlines to attract new customers and maintain the existing ones, they offer best quality services that meet their satisfaction. When the company meets customer expectations, profitability increases and the company’s level of competitiveness on the market also increase.

The results of the study conducted in this research can provide a clear guideline to aviation industry management with data on service quality. The results from analysis of the information as carried out by C & C shows that, to meet customer satisfaction, there must be a higher quality service. As quality service satisfies customers, the expectations of customers exceed their satisfaction hence increasing perceived quality service level. This indicates that, airlines should only offer the services that they are capable to deliver. The analysis of this research shows that, the main benefits driven from customer satisfaction include increased profitability, increased market share, and increased level of competitiveness in the market.

The statistics from the data collected from the SAP database showed that, there is an increase in customer base in the aviation industry. This is due to emerging trends of in tourism and other factors such as sports. The aviation industry has to come up with new ways of handling customers in order to coup up with the emerging population in the industry. For instance, the airline should introduce frequent flights to different destinations. However, another challenge is the satisfaction of customers from diverse backgrounds. These customers have different expectations of satisfaction due to difference in cultural beliefs and religion. The aviation industry therefore, needs to come up with suitable satisfaction quality services to meet this trend.

Regarding data collection, the research, encountered a number of limitations that downsized the level of accuracy. The research covered a limited number of respondents thus giving insufficient results. In order to correct on this, a more elaborate method reaches a large respondent base. This will further confirm significant rate of accuracy. Some of the respondents in filling the questionnaires and conducting the interview were customers on board for a flight. Others were airline officials on duty. The atmosphere for responding to the interview or filling the questionnaire was not conducive as the customers were concentrating on their flights and could not give clear responses. On the other hand, the officials on duty were under pressure to serve the customers on-board. This affected the clarity of the responses. In future survey, should conduct the research conducive environment whereby, the respondents will not be under pressure in order to give detailed feedback.

    1. Recommendations

How to deliver excellent quality ground services and to create value to aviation customers?

To answer the research question, the report has recommendations on how quality ground handling services can add value to customers in the aviation industry. The recommendations discussed below will contribute to answering the research question.

For HKIA to have effective flight programs, C & C as the research company should employ the practice of designing and developing customer satisfaction survey. This will provide reliable data for the company to know the level of satisfaction customers drive from the airline’s services. If the survey indicates a low level of customer satisfaction, the company will find appropriate means to use in order to deliver quality services to meet customers’ expectations. Having customer satisfaction survey is essential for the company to identify whether the services it delivers to customers meet their satisfaction or not.

Equally well, the company should seek ways to find corrective actions or find the defective areas in internal operation of the company and do improvement. This will help the company determine, which areas in the operation of the company that were not delivering quality services. By doing so, the stakeholders in internal operation will then find corrective actions to correct the defect. Definitely, if the defects are corrected, the quality of services will undeniably rise.

Cabin services create a clear overview of the service quality of the airline. It is at the cabin whereby the staff holds personal contact with the customers. The company should therefore re-train service cabin staff to equip them will appropriate skills about the services they offer to customers. Proper training of the staff will enable the staff to have capability of better performance on their duties. This will generate an environment for quality service delivery.

SAP should re-organize the pattern of the shifts in the working hours. This will enable better adjustment to accommodate the workload in the company operation. Some operations at certain shifts may not be convenient leading to workload that will result to delays. To avoid the problem, re-organizing the shift pattern will lead to better performance hence avoiding delays. Additionally, SAP should also ensure that, it distributes workload evenly to all members of staff. This is to avoid the problem of overloading some staff members while others go on having less work. Overloading of a staff member will lead to low quality service delivery due to exhaustion. To avoid the problem, SAP should distribute work evenly for all staff members.

Effective operation in the airline results from duty allocation. SAP should therefore recommend the creation of duty controller post to assist managers regulate operations efficiently. Duty controller will enable easy planning and scheduling of work force. The staff members will know where to work on a particular shift. This will facilitate easy workflow resulting to quality output. Additionally, duty controller will assist managers to monitor the movement of flights at stipulated time. Monitoring of flight movement help reduce inappropriateness.

In most cases during the peak hours, there is excessive workload. The managers should therefore use the duty controller to determine the peak hours and recruit part-time staff to work in the cabin. The importance of recruiting part-time staff is to aid reduces workload, which essentially avoids delays. Furthermore, the managers should identify a team that delivers quality performance at particular time during ground service and offer bonuses. Bonuses help in motivating the members of staff. Motivation will lead to competence amongst the staff members as each staff works hard to earn the bonus. This will lead to quality output satisfying the customers’ expectations.

Service quality in the operation of airlines provides customer satisfaction. As competition in the airline industry intensifies, airline industries also increases the quality of services offered to their customers. Airlines should come up with new incentives such as adding personal touch to their customers, offering water and free quality food to on-board customers, and frequent flyer programs by sending customers quality. This will help increase customer loyalty to the company as suggested by (Miller, 1993). Additionally if the company welcomes the idea of sending customers quarterly, it will help reduce customer traffic at the airline because of frequent flights.

In order for a company to increase its competence in the market, it should offer quality services to its customers to guarantee their satisfaction. If the customers receive well satisfaction from their service provider, they will continue maintaining their loyalty with the company. This will increase market competence of the company thus yielding substantial profits. It contributes much in company’s market competence. Essentially, if the company fails to satisfy its customers, the company stands a risk of losing market value, as the customers will look for substitute service from other providers who offer better quality.

Quality ground services provided by ground handling companies such as SAP should effect efficiency and convenience in order to meet customers’ expectation. The ground handling companies should ensure proper maintenance and repair of the aircraft while at confined terminal points on the ground. This will ensure customer safety during the flight. Safety of the customers is the top priority quality service. Most of the customers prefer safety as life is more precious to everyone. The ground handling companies should therefore, ensure proper repair to ensure customer safety.

Besides safety, the ground handling service provider should also complete their repair on time so the aircraft leaves board on time. Delays may make customers miss out targets on their destinations. Therefore, the repair should work on time to give the customers chances of on-time arrivals.

There is an increase in the number of customers in the aviation industry. This is due to emerging trends in tourism and sports people want to explore the world while other wants to spend their leisure in watching live games. The aviation industry should find a way by coming up with new ways of handling customers in order to coup up with the emerging population in the industry. To solve this challenge, the industry should provide frequent flights in order to satisfy the customers’ desire of reaching their destinations. The industry should also employ more staff that are competent and use appropriate technologies to provide efficiency of service deliverance.

Regarding data collection, the research, encountered a number of limitations that reduce the accuracy. The research covered a limited number of respondents thus giving insufficient results. In order to correct on this, researchers should reach out to a large more respondents. This will further confirm significant rate of accuracy. Some respondents who filled the questionnaires and responded to interview were customers on board for a flight. Others were airline officials on duty. The environment for responding to the interview or filling the questionnaire was not conducive as the customers were concentrating on their flights and could not give clear responses. On the other hand, the officials on duty were under pressure to serve the customers on-board. This affected the clarity of the responses. In future, survey should take place under conducive environment whereby, the respondents will not be under pressure in order to give detailed feedback.

The research company should use appropriate methods of research to give accurate results. The accuracy of results matters as the senior management uses the final data on determining how to fix the areas that have faults. In case of a fault in a given sector of the industry, the management will fix it to in order to improve service quality.


Anderson, E., Fornell, C., & Lehman, D.R (1994). “Customer satisfaction, Market share, and Profitability: Findings from Sweden”, Journal of marketing, 53-66.

Bazeley, P. and Jackson, K. eds., 2013. Qualitative data analysis with NVivo. Sage Publications Limited.

Burns, H.D., Mitchell, M.A., McMillian, J.H., Farner, B.R., Harper, S.A., Peralta, S.F., Lowrey, N.M., Ross, H.R. and Juarez, A., 2015. Replacement of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-225 Solvent for Cleaning and Verification Sampling of NASA Propulsion Oxygen Systems Hardware, Ground Support Equipment, and Associated Test Systems.

Callahan, K.S., Laib, T.M., Mitchell, B.J. and Sanford, W.C., The Boeing Company, 2012. Simplified cabin services system for an aircraft. U.S. Patent 8,166,506.

Campbell, D.T. and Stanley, J.C., 2015. Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Ravenio Books.

Canal, E., Arnold, C.R. and Walley, P., Thales Avionics, Inc., 2015. Aircraft crew user interface for an aircraft entertainment system. U.S. Patent 8,984,421.

Chouaïd, C., Crequit, P., Borget, I. and Vergnenegre, A., 2015. Economic evaluation of first-line and maintenance treatments for advanced non-small cell lung cancer: a systematic review. ClinicoEconomics and outcomes research: CEOR, 7, p.9.

DePoy, E. and Gitlin, L.N., 2015. Introduction to research: Understanding and applying multiple strategies. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Fitzsimmons, J. A., & Fitzsimmons M. J. (2001). Service Management: Operations, strategy, and information technology, 3rd edition, Irwin McGraw-Hill, New York, New York.

De Rycke, M., Belva, F., Goossens, V., Moutou, C., SenGupta, S.B., Traeger-Synodinos, J. and Coonen, E., 2015. ESHRE PGD Consortium data collection XIII: cycles from January to December 2010 with pregnancy follow-up to October 2011. Human Reproduction, 30(8), pp.1763-1789.

Ferris, G.R., Arthur, M.M., Berkson, H.M., Kaplan, D.M., HarrellCook, G., & Frink, D.W. (1998). “Towards a social context theory of the human resource management-organizational effectiveness relationship”, Human Resource Management Review, 8(3), 235-64

Garefalakis, A., Mantalis, G., Lemonakis, C. and Vassakis, K., 2016. Determinants of Profitability in Aviation Industry of Europe and America. International Journal of Supply Chain Management, 5(2), pp.131-137.

Gelman, A., Carlin, J.B., Stern, H.S. and Rubin, D.B., 2014. Bayesian data analysis (Vol. 2). Boca Raton, FL, USA: Chapman & Hall/CRC.

Hung, Y. H., Huang, M.L., & Chen, K.S. (2003), Service quality evaluation by service quality performance matrix. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, Volume 14 Issue 1, Page 79-89

Heskett, J.L., Jones, T.O., Loveman, G.W., Sasser, W.E. Jr., & Schlesinger, L.A. (1994). “Putting the service profit chain to work”, Harvard Business Review, March/April, pp. 105-11.

Heskett, J. L., Sasser, W.E. Jr., & Schlesinger L.A. (1997). The Service Profit Chain, the Free Press, New York, New York.

Hilemon, C.G., Nelson, T.E., Skeirik, R.D., Hayzen, A.J. and Horn, D.M., COMPUTATIONAL SYSTEMS, INC., 2016. Adaptive And State Driven Data Collection. U.S. Patent 20,160,048,110.

Ibrahim, Y., Scown, S.L., Mehlhaff, M.G. and Regan, C.C., The Boeing Company, 2016. Passenger services system for an aircraft. U.S. Patent 9,245,443.

Jidegren, M. and Gupta, T., 2015. Quality control of a diagnostic tool through qualitative and quantitative measurement assessment of field testing.

Kolody, M.R., Curran, J.P. and Calle, L.M., 2014. Qualification of Coatings for Launch Facilities and Ground Support Equipment Through the NASA Corrosion Technology Laboratory.

Leadingham, D.W., Hansen, R.L. and Johnson, D.R., Illinois Tool Works Inc., 2013. Multi-voltage power supply for a universal airplane ground support equipment cart. U.S. Patent 8,405,249.

Lew, D., Baranowski, J. and Min, R., 2013. TSAT Student Flight Processor and Ground Support Equipment. In Proceedings of the 2013 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference.

Lewis, S., 2015. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Health promotion practice, p.1524839915580941.

Lewis, B.R., & Mitchell, V.W. (1990). Defining and measuring the quality of customer service. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 8(6), 11-17

Liu, X.Y., Zhu, Y., Kong, L., Liu, C., Gu, Y., Vasilakos, A.V. and Wu, M.Y., 2015. CDC: Compressive data collection for wireless sensor networks. IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, 26(8), pp.2188-2197.

Metters, R., King-Metters, K., & Pullman, M., (2003). Successful Service Operations management, South-Western, Mason, Ohio

Lewis, B.R. (1989). Quality in Service Sector – A review. International Journal of Brand Marketing, Volume 7 Issue 5, Page 4-12

Lu, L.Y. and Yang, Y.B., 1997. Dynamic response of equipment in structures with sliding support. Earthquake engineering & structural dynamics, 26(1), pp.61-77.

Manohar S. Pawer (2004), Data Collection Methods and Strategy, Data Collecting Methods and Experiences: A Guide for Social Researchers, US, New Dawn Press

Maylor, H., 2001. Beyond the Gantt chart:: Project management moving on. European Management Journal, 19(1), pp.92-100.

Michael E. Porter (2004), Competitive Advantage: The Core Concepts, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, New York, The Free Press

Nick Moore (2006) Design and plan the study: How to do research, 3rd edition
, London:Facet Publishing

Nick Moore (2006) Analysing quantitative data: How to do research, 3rd edition London: Facet Publishing

Norman J. Ashford, H.P. Martin Stanton, Clifton A. Moore, Pierre Coutu, John R. Beasley (2013), Airport Peaks and Airline Scheduling: Airport Operations, 3rd Edition, United States: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Paul D. Leedy, Jeanne Ellis Ormrod (2016) Mixed-Methods Designs, Practical Research Planning and Design, UK, Pearson

Palinkas, L.A., Horwitz, S.M., Green, C.A., Wisdom, J.P., Duan, N. and Hoagwood, K., 2015. Purposeful sampling for qualitative data collection and analysis in mixed method implementation research. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 42(5), pp.533-544.

Portney, L.G. and Watkins, M.P., 2015. Foundations of clinical research: applications to practice. FA Davis.

Rahman, M.S., 2015. The contribution made by qualitative research to TESOL. International Journal of English Language Teaching, 3(2), pp.1-14.

Renaweera C., & Prabhu J. (2003). “on the relative of customer satisfaction and trust as determinants of customer’s word of mouth”. Journal of targeting measurements and analysis for marketing. 82-98.

Rubin, A. and Babbie, E.R., 2016. Empowerment Series: Research Methods for Social Work. Cengage Learning.

Seth, N., & Deshmukh, S.G. (2005). Service quality models: a review. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 22(9), 913-949.

Twisk, J.W., 2013. Applied longitudinal data analysis for epidemiology: a practical guide. Cambridge University Press.

Thomson, R.E. and Emery, W.J., 2014. Data analysis methods in physical oceanography. Newnes.

Tony Tyler (2015) [Online], IATA STRATEGIC PARTNER SPECIAL, Available: [15 December 2015]

Van den Bergh, J., Belien, J., De Boeck, L. and Demeulemeester, E., 2013, July. A rolling horizon framework for an aircraft line maintenance problem. In EURO-INFORMS-Rome 2013 (p. 11).

W. Paul Vogt,Dianne C. Gardner,Lynne M. Haeffele (2012), When to use Research Design, When to Use What Research Design, USA, The Guilford Press

Wong, S. and Brooks, N., 2015. Evolving risk-based security: A review of current issues and emerging trends impacting security screening in the aviation industry. Journal of Air Transport Management, 48, pp.60-64.

Yates, W.E., Akesson, N.B. and Bayer, D.E., 1978. Drift of glyphosate sprays applied with aerial and ground equipment. Weed Science, pp.597-604.

Zeithaml, V. A & Bitner, M.J (2001). Services marketing. Integrating customer focus across the firms. Boston. Tara McGnaw Hill.


Appendix A

Our airlines and airport ground-handling customers in Hong Kong are –

  1. Cathay Pacific Airways

  2. Cathay Dragon Airlines

  3. Hong Kong Airlines

  4. Hong Kong Express

  5. Hong Kong Airport Services Limited

  6. Jardine Aviation Services Group

  7. Universal Weather and Aviation

  8. BellaWings Jet Limited

  9. Hong Kong Jets

Appendix B

Consultancy Report 1

Reflective report:

This project has achieved the desired expectations on determining quality services to meet customers’ expectations. The report reflects on the quality services expected from the ground handling company in order to satisfy and create value to customers of the airline. Customers are very selective in the kind of services that they want on-board. It is therefore the duty of the staff team to deliver expected services accordingly to quench the thirst of their expectations. However, the project had its own challenges and drawbacks.

C & C reported speculations on how it was difficult to convince some of the customers and company officials to give truthful information about the company’s services. Some of the company officials considered confidentiality of sensitive data about the company’s operation. It was hard to convince them to reveal the information. Additionally, time factor was also a challenge. Conversely, it offered a very rewarding experience in field studies. It provided an outstanding chance to apply all the knowledge gained in the entire period in the class to real world practice. This provided an opportunity to exercise the theories learnt in class to real world application.

It was a good experience to exhaust the knowledge in the field of research. This contributed to personal experience and it creates confidence and self-trust of the ability to conduct future research. The research put the time management expertise on a practical test. This part was more challenging and technical. It was not easy to organize the work and use the specified period to accomplish the research mission. It was also challenging to find a host company for the research. It was difficult to convince them to allow the research work on their company as they feared for information confidentiality, but using the skills for negotiation, the senior staff of Hong Kong International Airport allowed us to carry out the research. It was also difficult to exercise the skill of interaction, as some people in the field were not interactive. You could talk to someone and the person just looks at you and leaves without a response. It was difficult to maintain professionalism throughout the project. It somehow took long but since the company emphasized to adhere to terms, conditions, and policies, we had to obey the policies and maintained the practice in order to cooperate with the company for its trust. The part of conducting the data analysis was the most interesting part of the project. This ensured learning some knowledge in the practice while still in the field of practical. It was interesting to learn how to formulate some methods to do the analysis. Additionally, the research provided an opportunity to interact with different people. This led to meeting new friends.

I gained vast knowledge on how different factors of internal business environment can affect its operation. The project has enabled me to learn how to develop analytical and research skills. In general, it was a very brilliant opportunity to get to learn how the outside world of business operates.

Conclusion report

This research reports that, the aviation industry plays a major role in economic development. Economic forces such as tourism and aircraft manufacturing relies on aviation industry. Therefore, the mentioned forces create an interface for latent economic powerhouse. Quite often, every market has competition. The best way to effect competence in the market is by offering quality services to the customers. The aviation industry therefore, has lately experienced the highest level of competition possible. The airlines in the industry try to outsmart each other by providing quality services to attract more customers. More customers are attracted if their expectations are satisfied from the services they receive. Concerning this argument, each airline creates strategic tools for effective competition. For instance in HKIA, SAP comes up with strategies such as increasing positive personal touch, offering quality food, ensuring on-time arrival, maintaining quality repair services to aircrafts to ensure customer safety. These services influence a positive effect on the satisfaction of the customers using the airlines. Ultimately, this increases the company’s competence resulting to high profitability.

Airlines operations mostly rely on ground handling service provider. The quality of services offered by a ground handling company determines the reputation of the company in the market. If the service provider offers low quality services, the airline reputation on the market will be poor. Ground handling service provider for our case SAP should provide quality services to win the customer loyalty. If customers are not satisfied with the quality of service they receive then they will have a low responsive demand on the company’s services. Quite often, the company’s competence on market will lower.

SAP carries out complex operations in Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). Some tasks require heavy machinery to carry out operations on repair and maintenance during the turnaround time at confined terminal. Equally well, flexibility in service delivery is what plays major role in maximizing efficiency. Concerning this point, the workers should have crucial adaptability skills to ensure effectiveness to offer quality services.

Safety operations at the airport are mutual responsibilities of both ground handling company and the airline. The aviation regulations do not allow other unauthorized parties to take part during airport ground handling operations. These regulations enable safety measures for airport operations. Additionally, the cooperation between the airline company and the ground service provider necessitates quality work delivery.

Ground handling service provider only carries out their operations while the aircraft is in a confined terminal on the ground. Their services do not go beyond this scope. This enables the company to concentrate on their specialized services, which yields quality service delivery to the customers. High quality service delivery leads to customer satisfaction, which is the expectation of customers.

As we can see, customer satisfaction from the quality services offered by SAP in HKIA develops a foundation for success in the company’s operation. The satisfaction that the customers derive from HKIA results to loyalty with the company. Hence, they make repeated purchase. Some of them share their personal experiences with other people branding the company’s reputation due to the quality services it offers.

Equally well, not all the customers get satisfied with the services no matter how best the company may try to please them. Such customers will go out talking negative about the company. The company needs to respond well to the challenge to restore its reputation to the public.

Quite often, quality service and the satisfaction of customers’ expectations is a comprehensive measure of competitiveness in the aviation industry. Instantly, this makes it possible to point out that, the airline should have a proper coordination with ground handling service provider to ensure successful quality service delivery.

The extent of customer satisfaction is determined through personal interaction of the company and the customers’ complaints. The company can handle this through meetings with the customers to listen to their grievances about the quality of services they receive from the company. This enables the company to determine its qualitative significance of the kind of services they offer on the market.

When customers are not satisfied with the quality of services delivered to them, the company’s operation will be doomed to failure. For this reason, organizations should deliver quality services to embrace the customers’ impression. This will lead to increased purchases hence more profitability. Most companies face the challenge of fully securing customers’ satisfaction. As such, the reason behind this argument result from substitute services of the same quality from other companies. They may even go ahead to avenge by exercising price wars. This might have a great influence on disloyal customers.

More often, companies are not aware of the degree of satisfaction customers derive from the services they deliver. Consequently, it is also difficult to measure the degree of dissatisfaction customers derive from the services they receive. Some customers could share out while others go silent. It is the responsibility of the business to determine how well their customers are satisfied. This is determined through timely and consistent process to determine if customers are satisfied or not.

In future, organizations are required to come up with accurate and reliable procedures to determine the level of satisfaction customers derive from their services, they should not just rely on assumptions that, when the services they offer are of highest quality, then the customers are satisfied with those services. Some customers are selective and categorical. Therefore, it becomes difficult in determining their level of satisfaction. Only a more appropriate and technical procedure can be used to determine the level of satisfaction for such customers.

Organizations are also supposed to change and deliver services differently. They are not supposed to stick on the old ways of doing things. As time changes, new ways of doing things also have to change through innovation. Through this approach, innovative corporate satisfaction of customers takes root with new strategies. The customers therefore, find new ways of satisfaction. This will increase the company’s competence level on the market hence increasing profitability.

Individual expectation is a variable that highly takes its toll on the level of satisfaction a customer can derive from a service delivered. Failure to meet individual expectation leads to customer dissatisfaction. Conversely, if the expectations of the customer are met then the customer is considered satisfied with the service. The organization therefore has the responsibility to deliver quality services that meet expectations of the customers

Researchers use conceptual models to determine service quality offered by airlines. The models are important in a way that, they enable the airline company to determine emerging problems in the kind of services they offer. For that reason, they get the opportunity to launch better improvement to avoid the reoccurrence of the problem in future. This way, the service quality continues to prosper.

Avoidance of problem reoccurrence improves effectiveness of service quality. Consequently, if the service quality is effective, it is with no doubt to make a conclusion that, the company will have a better scale of performance on the market, which will lead to higher profitability. In this juncture, the comparison between perceived and expected service indicates the level of customer satisfaction.

This report reveals that, service quality impacts on customer satisfaction. The critical analysis on quality service provided by SAP Ground Services Ltd in Hong Kong International Airport enables the airline to attract new customers and maintain the existing ones. The report further indicates that, customers are very evaluative. They create attitudes towards service quality from the provider. The service quality they receive has to correspond with their anticipations. Definitely, if the service provider meets customers’ anticipations, then the customers are satisfied with the services.

In conclusion, about customer satisfaction, it is the duty of the company to delegate employees with different responsibilities and specification. For example, employees should deliver services under different specifications under value, design, and support. Such that, if an employee is delivering service under a given category, it is easy to tell, which employee falls under a particular category of customers. This approach ensures quality service delivery to targeted class of customers.

Using the qualitative research, quantitative research, multiple research, and mixed research method design in conducting the research allows for flexibility in obtaining the required data. The effectiveness of the research company C & C contributed to the success of the project. Furthermore, the process was transparent and the procedure that the company used in carrying out the analysis of data was free of bias. This resulted to comprehensive conclusion in the final analysis of the research.

The collection of data however, had its own challenges. C & C experienced a problem of timelessness, as the time specified to complete the research was limited. This opted out some details, as there was no enough time to exhaust on the research. Consequently, some of the people in the field were not honest with the responses they gave. Some customers and the company’s officials neglected to submit the questionnaires. Additionally, the company did not have sufficient tools to conduct the research.