The human resource department of any airline is the backbone of the organization. The employees in this department are responsible for multiple tasks. These tasks can range anywhere from hiring and firing employees to developing a training system for all airline pilots to go through. Working in the aviation industry has shown me many ways in which having a human resource department is vital to an organization’s success. The human resource department knows everything there is to know about how to find the right employees for the job and how to train them to be the best in their industry.
It is well-known that flying is a very dangerous and highly skilled career. Every pilot working for an airline is required to go through intense training before flying passengers around the world. Throughout this paper, you will read about how the human resource department functions in an airline and how they go about accomplishing their tasks. When you walk into an airline’s headquarters for an interview, the first people you usually talk to are the human resource employees. These are the individuals who are responsible for hiring new employees to work for the company.
Unlike other careers, flying for an airline requires many skills and patience to be successful. According to one of the human resource department employees of TNT Airlines, the job of the human resource department is one of the most difficult ones within the whole company. They have to choose among hundreds and hundreds of candidates for only a few positions. These are some of the most difficult decisions human resource personnel have to make on a daily basis (TNT Airlines). Every company in the airline industry has a group of individuals called the human resource department.
Although selecting the correct employees for the job is a big part of their job, researching and buying the best training aids is also a huge task for which they have to take responsibility. Along with hundreds of other professions, flying airplanes takes time, commitment, and practice. The best way for pilots to practice doing what they have to do in the real world is to use flight simulators. These items can range anywhere from a million dollars to ten million dollars. Flight simulators are a huge part of the budget for airlines, because the airlines all want their pilots to be trained by the best simulators in the world.
In an article by Continental Airlines, they said that they mandate their pilots to go through a recurrence course every six months to make sure the pilots did not forget the basic principles of handling the airplane. The human resource department of Continental is primarily responsible for obtaining this type of equipment for their pilots and making sure that each one of them follows the rules and regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration. When the human resource department receives a project of this magnitude, the first thing they have to do is research all of the possible simulators on the market.
Although there are hundreds of simulator companies in the aviation industry, there are only a few among the top that airlines prefer to use for such complex and costly equipment. After the human resource department decides which simulator they would like to order, they are responsible for getting the market value of the simulator and going to the manufacturing company to test it out. This is to ensure that the airline is receiving a simulator that is up to date with all the technology in the airplanes today.
Once the employees of Continental decide that this is the perfect simulator to purchase, the head of the human resource department writes up a contract to the simulator company containing the number of simulators they want and the price they are willing to spend. At the same time, other members of the human resource department for Continental are gathering all the information about the simulator so they can start to prepare their pilots to use this simulator. This is part of the reason why having a human resource department for your airline company is vital to being successful.
Another reason why a human resource department helps an airline succeed in the industry is because they are responsible for that airline’s operations. There are many different departments within the human resource department of an airline. One is for flight planning; another for changing gates at airports; and another one is for informing the pilots of severe weather areas and delays. An airline needs all three of these components to operate successfully. There are thousands and thousands of flights everyday, and these different departments all have their responsibilities.
According to the vice president of flight operations for Southwest Airlines, Chuck Magill, “Our company strives on teamwork from every department and when one falls, we all fall” (Southwest). The ability that Southwest Airlines has to work together every day is why they are and continue to be so successful in the industry. The employees working in the flight planning department of human resources are responsible for figuring out the best way for the pilots to get to their destinations. They look at the weather along the route of the flight and any known air traffic control delays along the route of flight.
Once they have figured out the most economical route for the pilot, they give the pilot all the information pertaining to the flight and file the flight plan. The next department within flight operations is the airport operators who are responsible for figuring out which gate the airplane is going to park at when it gets to its destination and if there needs to be a change in aircraft. The primary reason for a change in aircraft would be if the airline is scheduled to depart for a longer than usual trip and needs the extra fuel to get to its destination.
The final component of this department contains employees who call the Federal Aviation Administration’s Flight Service Station to get all of the important weather information for the airline. According to Southwest Airline’s Vice-President of Flight Operations, Chuck Magill, “Every department of flight operations needs to be on the ball or else we suffer, and our passengers suffer. ” (Southwest Airlines paragraph 4). Just like any other industry, there are requirements on keeping aviation equipment up to date and legal.
In the world of aviation, airplanes have required maintenance inspections and mandatory repairs that need to be done. The human resource department of an airline is solely responsible for hiring certified mechanics to work on the company’s aircraft whenever something needs to be done. According to an article about Chautauqua Airlines, they were fined up to $348,000. 00 because they did not comply with these regulations (Stoller paragraph 1). Every major airline has between 500 and 1000 mechanics that are on call every day if there happens to be a problem with any of the airplanes.
Airlines need to prioritize making sure that their airplanes and other equipment are maintained properly or else the Federal Aviation Administration will come down hard on their company. The human resource department employees responsible for keeping track on this information are working throughout the night to make sure that every airplane that takes off is airworthy for that flight. According to Stoller’s article on Chautauqua Airlines, “Chautauqua flew a Canadair Regional Jet more than 17,600 flights from November 2007 through January 2009 before the planes’ engines were inspected” (Stoller paragraph 5).
Due to the extreme dangers of overflying an airplane without being checked by mechanics, the employees working during that time were fired by the airline. The human resource department is currently undergoing investigation by the airline to see how and why this happened. This is part of the reason why airlines need to have a human resource department with sufficient employees because if they don’t this type of disaster could happen on a regular basis. Figuring out where to base an airline is a huge task that the human resource department must do.
The successful airlines are usually the ones with bases in big cities like Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Experimenting and testing out facilities is a huge part of this job as well. The human resource department of an airline has a division called the flight operation division, which is responsible for this type of job. When trying to figure out a convenient and economical base for an airline, many things need to go into consideration. The first thing that needs to be considered is the type of city and demographics of customers there.
You do not want your base to be a place where nobody has any interest in going or has no major businesses around. An example of this was when Gold Aviation, a small charter company decided to base its operations in Destin, FL. They were successful at first, but after a few years of not making a profit, the human resource department and the board of directors realized that there base was not in a good spot. They then repositioned to Orlando, FL where they are now among the top charter companies in all of Florida.
The next thing that a company needs to look at when trying to find a base are the prices of parking airplanes there and the price of fuel around your base. According to Business Aviation, a magazine, the average price of Jet A fuel in the United States is approximately $4. 86 (Business Aviation paragraph 3). A company must be able to afford to pay the high fuel prices at its base in order to operate successfully. Although a charter company can fly somewhere else and get a lower price on fuel, the time, fuel, and aircraft operations may make it too expensive.
The next item a company needs to consider when finding a base is how they are going to get all their crew members around when it comes time to fly. Some airlines may not fly to your base because it’s not on their schedule; for others, it may be too expensive. The human resource department of a new company needs to do some research on finding cheap and easy ways to get its pilots and other crew members to where they need to go. Although this type of job takes a lot of time and effort, it pays off at the end when your company is among the top in its industry.
Along with hiring pilot and flight operation managers and other aviation type crew members, there are also times when the human resource department needs to look outside of flying and into accounting, baggage handling, and other ground based operations. Finding the right number and type of employees for these positions can sometimes be more difficult than finding a pilot. The employees who work in the baggage department are the ones responsible for making sure that every customer gets his or her luggage on time and at the correct destination.
From personal experience, I can tell you that bags don’t always make it to where they are supposed to go. According to Continental Airlines, when looking for a baggage handler, they look for three important characteristics. The first one being that the individual can handle heavy bags and get them from one terminal to another in the shortest possible time. This is to ensure that the luggage makes it from one connecting flight to another. The next thing we look at is how the individual handles stressful situations.
An example of this would be if an airplane is running late and you know passengers have less than 15 minutes until their next flight. Can the individual get the customers’ luggage from their current airplane to the next without causing any problems? The final and most important characteristic they look at for baggage handlers is can we trust them to do their duties correctly and do them well. All of these things play into how Continental Airlines decides who they hire for baggage handlers.
Although they are not the ones flying the airplane, their job is still just as important as the pilot’s job or anyone else who works in the aviation industry. In the aviation industry, accidents can sometimes come at the most unexpected time. The human resource department is responsible for hiring an individual or group of individuals who are primarily responsible for training the pilots about accident prevention. According to Assaad Farah, “Research findings on the past two decades in aviation indicate that over 70 percent of aircraft accidents and incidents are directly linked to human error. (Farah paragraph 1) Over the past few decades, the Federal Aviation Administration has been trying to find new ways of training pilots to reduce the amount of pilot error in accidents. Some of the ideas that have come up in conversation have been new regulatory laws saying that pilots need to have a minimum number of training hours every 6 months. This is to ensure that they are always prepared for anything that might come about on a regular commercial flight. The human resource department of certain airlines has been trying to find new and advanced simulator technology over the past decade to help with this problem.
According to Farah’s article, “Crew resource management involves a wide range of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, such as communication, situational awareness, problem solving, aeronautical decision making, and teamwork…” (Farah paragraph 4). In Farah’s article on accident prevention, a study showed that the implementation of crew resource management (CRM) decreased the number of accidents tremendously over the next few years. The Federal Aviation Administration has implemented some new regulations pertaining to crew resource management.
One of the new regulations put into place was due to a recent aircraft accident up in Buffalo. A small commuter aircraft was heading into Buffalo on a snowy and icy night and crashed on the approach to the airport because of pilot error. After the National Transportation Safety Board completed their investigation, they blamed the accident on pilot error and lack of training. The Federal Aviation Administration came down hard on the airlines and forced the human resource departments to buy better and more up to date simulators so they could simulate what happened in this story.
The pilots flying the aircraft, according to the FAA, had not received the proper training for these types of conditions. The human resource department of the airlines is now required to force their pilots to take a retraining course every six months to ensure that this type of problem does not happen again. As you can tell, the human resource department is a key component of an airline. Without employees who can make the decision to hire and fire the correct people or choose to finance a certain project, a company has no chance to be successful.
Every employee in the human resource department has a job and the better they do it, the more successful their firm will be. Especially in the airlines, a company needs a group of dedicated individuals to make the correct decisions regarding flight plans, routes, and weather delays. Without every division that exists in the human resource department of an airline, there would be major chaos every day. In today’s world of business, having a human resource department allows your firm to make decisions and investments that others can’t because of their lack of HR employees.