module specification

CA4004 - Introduction to the Aviation System (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Introduction to the Aviation System
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 25%   Individual Essay on the nature of the aviation system
Group Presentation 25%   Individual presentation on the aviation system
Coursework 50%   Case study (2500 words)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Wednesday Morning

Module summary

The module aims to introduce the students to the idea that aviation sector can best be understood as a system as so many parts of the industry are inter-dependant on each other and all stakeholders have an important role in the delivery of quality services.

Module aims

The module aims to provide the student with a fundamental appreciation of how the sector is currently structured and how to assess the performance of airlines and airports from their characteristics of operation and type of business model. An integral aim of this module is to provide the student with an understanding of the operational problems that exist within the aviation system and management techniques employed to resolve them.


Aviation and the systems overview of the commercial passenger scheduled  industry 
Historical perspectives – the formative period for commercial aviation , growth period , Jet age to current 21st century
Global perspective on airline operations – North America, Europe, Africa, Far East and Middle East
Air transportation associations and bodies – introduction to ICAO , IATA ,CAA and their role in the development of safety and security and standard practices (Chicago Convention)
ICAO annexes to the Convention – how they can be understood in developing the safety and security framework
The airline and airport industry structures – types of airlines and airports/ statistics / characteristics
Airline operational procedures – the aircraft turnaround
Airport facilities to support the efficient operation of airlines
Airline and airport certification and post holders 
Industry agreements – route approval process including bi-laterals / freedoms
Airline management and organisation – levels of management, organisation
Airlines and airports – how operational productivity and efficiency is measured e.g. punctuality and regularity
IATA WATS data statistics – industry data for understanding the industry productivity and efficiency
Air cargo introduction – structure , challenges , opportunities
Typical airline and airport training requirements or international operations
Service level agreements for ground handlers and airlines and airports
Characteristics of low cost airline operations
Characteristics of network full service operations
Characteristics and features of the leisure / charter sector 
Features of the large hub airports versus regional airports
Development of the alliances as a response to airline de-regulation
Introduction to dangerous goods training and supervision

Learning and teaching

The formal delivery of the teaching and learning will be based on three contact hours per week. The contact hours will be formed of a three hour work shop involving lecture/seminar periods.

The teaching and learning techniques employed on the module will consist of the following: formal lectures, guest lectures, case studies, panel discussions and debates, film/DVDs, scenario-based activities (simulations).

Within the module there is significant opportunity to participate in proactive learning activities via the use of the Virtual Learning Environment (Weblearn) facilities which promote inter-active discussions between both peers and lecturers and enables learners to share resources and access links to external journal articles, websites and other sources.

Discussion and debate are actively encouraged both within the classroom context and via Weblearn. Students participating in this degree come from a variety of backgrounds and often have a wealth of industry experience upon which to draw. It is useful to access this via proactive and inter-active classroom management. Students have a responsibility to prepare for forthcoming lectures so as to ensure that they fully understand the concepts discussed and, so as they can participate fully in debates and discussions. This can be done via accessing the module specifications on-line or via Weblearn, and ascertaining the forthcoming weeks lecture content.

Tutors will provide an indication of forthcoming lecture content at the end of each preceding lecture. The student should then research articles and textbooks as appropriate around these themes so as to contribute fully to discussions and inter-active Question and Answer sessions within the lecture.

Opportunities for reflective learning will be available throughout the module as students are given the opportunity to consider their approach to tasks and discussions whilst simultaneously having the opportunity to reflect upon informal feedback that may be given from lecturers on ideas and concepts spoken of in class and, on assessments submitted.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to;

  • Discuss the importance of co-operation between major stake-holders in the aviation system and how they inter-relate to ensure that there is a seamless service.
  • Describe the key associations and bodies that provide the framework for the aviation system to agree standards and practices globally.
  • Differentiate the types of airline and airport operations and how they are characterised and have evolved over time reflecting the demands of the sector.
  • Demonstrate the underlying management issues that allow passenger airlines and airports to cooperate internationally within the appropriate standards and operate to defined timetables. 
  • Discuss the role of air cargo operations in supporting airlines and airports internationally.
  • Describe the features of the airline/airport interface which are at the heart of the aviation system.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to enable students to demonstrate how they are making sense of the aviation system concepts the module introduces and how they recognise and explain their application in aviation environment.  

The module will be assessed using three elements including 2 pieces of coursework and an individual presentation:
• An essay on the nature of the aviation system.
• An individual presentation on the nature of the aviation system.
• Case study on the development of the types of airline and airport operations globally.


Core texts:
Graham, A.  (2008) Managing Airports. Butterworth – Heineman
Rhodes, D. (2010) The Evolution of International Aviation. Ashgate.
Wells, A. (2010) Air transportation – A management perspective. Wadsworth

Other background texts:
Belobaba, P. (2009)The Global Airline Industry. Wiley-Blackwell
Bruce, P. (2011) Understanding Decision Making Processes in Airline Operations Control. Ashgate
Cheng-Lung, W. (2010) Airline Operations and Delay Management. Ashgate
Doganis, R. (2009)  R. Flying off Course. Routledge
Massoud,B. (2010) Airline operations and Scheduling. Ashgate
Oster, C. (2007) Managing the Skies. Ashgate
Wensveen,J. (2007) Air Transportation, A Management Perspective. Ashgate

Journal of Aviation Management
Journal of ICAO