Case study - baggage blunders
Course:- Business Management
Length: 2000 Words
Reference No.:- EM13549807

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Baggage Blunders

Terminal 5, built by British Airways for 8.6 billion, is Heathrow Airport's newest state-of-the-art facility. Made of glass, concrete and steel, it's the largest freestanding building in the United Kingdom and has over 16 kilometers of belts for moving luggage. At the terminal's unveiling on March 15, 2008, Queen Elizabeth II called it "the 21st Century Gateway to Britain." Alas... the accolades (compliments) didn't last long! After two decades of planning and 100 million hours of labour, opening day didn't work out as planned. Endless lines and severe baggage handling delays led to numerous flight cancellations, stranding many irate passengers. Airport operators said the problems were triggered by glitches (malfunction) in the terminal's high-tech baggage handling system.

With its massive automation features, terminal 5 was planned to ease congestion at Heathrow and improve the flying experience for the 30,000,000 passengers expected to pass through it annually. With 96 self-service check-in kiosks, more than 90 check-in fast bag drops, 54 stranded check-in desks, and over 16 kilometers of suitcase moving belts that were supposed to be able to process 12,000 bags per hour, the facilities design didn't seem to support those goals.

Within the first few hours of the terminal operation problems developed. Baggage workers, presumably understaffed, were unable to clear incoming luggage fast enough. Many arriving passengers had to wait more than an hour to get their bags. There were problems for the departing passengers, as well, as many tried to in vain (unsuccessful) to check in for their flight. Flights were allowed to leave with empty cargo holds. At one point that first day, the airlines had no choice but to check-in only those with no luggage. And it didn't help matters that the moving built system jammed at one point. Lesser problems also became apparent: a few broken escalators, some hand dryers that didn't work, a gate that wouldn't function at the new underground station and inexperienced ticket sellers who didn't know the fares between Heathrow and various stations on the Piccadilly line. By the end of the first full day of operation, Britairt'S Department of Transportation, released a statement -- calling for British Airways and airport operator BAA to "work hard to resolve these issues and limit disruptiarii fo passengers."

Anyone might he tempted to think that all these could have been prevented if British Airways had only tested the system. But thorough runs of all systems "from toilets to check-in and seating" took place six months before opening, including four full-scale test run using 16,000 volunteers.

Assignment tasks:

1. Describe any strategic management theory and critically analyse which of these theories is applied at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport for immediate corrective actions.

2. Discuss the foundation of strategic capability and the concepts of competitive advantage then critically determine which of these concepts can be applied prior to the operation of Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport.

3. Analytically evaluate which important role of Benchmarking can be applied in the situation of the case.

Write the response in 2200 words, 

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