The first quarter financial results released by the airlines reflected what most of us already knew — the current financial situation of the airline industry is challenging. Despite the redundant barrage of negative news regarding finances, there is tentative optimism that things will improve and — given the cyclical nature of the industry — it’s a matter of when. The decisions being made today could have a great effect on the industry as a whole — both positive and negative. It remains to be seen what exactly will be left in the wake of the downturn.
With the financial hardship of the airlines begetting capacity slashes and employee furloughs, it begs the question of whether or not qualified personnel are being retained. This is an important consideration for all different areas of ground support operations, but I want to speak specifically about the purchasing of GSE.
The murmur throughout the industry is that the control has been turned over to the financial thinkers. The primary focus is on cost. While that is an understandable — and obviously necessary — focus, what implications does that have for GSE on the ramp? Are the people planning and making the purchasing decisions qualified to understand the particulars of the operations on the ramp? Is there enough technical staff at the airlines to lend expertise? Or are the purchasing decisions primarily made on financial considerations?
The answer could result in a lot of equipment that isn’t fit for the operation and costs more in the long term due to decision-making personnel with insufficient technical knowledge and resources. Those long-term costs could include increased turnaround time, additional maintenance of equipment, worker injury and the list goes on.
A lack of understanding and a lack of money is indeed a dangerous combination and could lead to decisions that will affect the industry even as it recovers. It’s important to be making sound choices now, rather than truly paying the price later.
I would like to get your comments on this subject and many others. This editor’s note will mark the beginning of my blog on the Web site. Updated regularly, I will bring forth various issues that are being discussed in the industry. I will be joining our regular industry bloggers on the homepage of our site. Designed as another way to engage our audience, please take the time to visit the blog section of the Ground Support Worldwide homepage and lend your thoughts through comments.
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Thanks for reading,