module specification

CA6005 - Commercial Challenges for Aviation (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Commercial Challenges for Aviation
Module level Honours (06)
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%   Report (2000 words)
Coursework 25%   Case study report (2000 words)
Unseen Examination 50%   Exam (2 hours)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

The module is designed to allow the student to explore the commercial management challenges of airlines and airports in the context of global competition.  Airlines and airports are part of a complex aviation system and there are numerous issues that affect their profitability which provide issues for management attention.

Module aims

The module aims to introduce the students to the commercial management challenges of the aviation business and topical issues in the aviation industry that have commercial implications. The role of managing a service business and the development of new products for the future will be explored in the global setting of aviation management.  The vital issues of cost control and prudent financial management are also a vital aspect of commercial airline management and will be assessed in the module.


The management challenges of airlines and airports globally
Airline and airport profitability globally
Leadership challenges for airlines and airports globally
Customer focus challenges for airlines and airports globally
Strategic business models for aviation
Strategic positions for airlines and airports – how to find and defend a niche

Strategic management positions e.g. alliances versus standing alone
The role of strategic development e.g. mergers and acquisitions
The role of business plans e.g. managing the profit targets

Commercial challenges for airlines and airports 
Growth and development – the constraints for airline / airport developments in a global setting.
Air cargo – the significant contribution of air cargo to airline and airport revenues

Financial aspects of the industry including :
Role of finance in the aviation indutrsy
Airline and Airport cost classification
Time value of money
Airline and Airport financial statements and analysis
Airline and airport capital budgeting
Airline capital structure and cost of capital
Working capital and current asset management
Fuel heding and risk
Buy vs lease decision making
Aviation industry valuation

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 lecture/seminar.

Within this module there is a heavy emphasis on case studies and DVD’s within the lectures so as to emphasize the impact of aircraft accidents and emergencies / emergency scenarios and security issues. This is done with a view to learning from past operational problems and analysing the impact of operational decisions. Most of the emphasis therefore will be on teaching via lectures and case studies although  The teaching and learning techniques employed on the module may consist of the following also;

  • Presentations by guest speakers
  • Panel discussions and debates
  • Films / DVD’s
  • Scenario based activities

Within the module there is significant opportunity to participate in proactive learning activities via the use of 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 background s 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.

If unavailable on weblearn the lecturer 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

  1. Critically assess the contemporary commercial challenges for airline or airport management from the perspective of leadership and global competition in different country settings.
  2. Critically evaluate the management challenges resulting from product and service innovations for airlines and airports in a global setting.
  3. Critically assess the corporate planning process for airlines and airports for long term profitability.
  4. Critically evaluate the business planning cycle for short term profit targets for airlines and airports.
  5. Critically appraise financial statements such as balance sheets, financial ratios, etc. and evaluate how theses statements and ratios are used in evaluating the financial health of a company.
  6. Critical evaluation of financial plans and long-term business viability via the identification of various sources of finance.

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed by 3 elements as follows:
a. Case study report (2000 words)
b. Report (2000 words)
c. Exam (2 hours)


Recommended texts :  Commercial challenges
Clark, P. (2010)Stormy Skies, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot
Eaton, J. (2001)Globalization and Human Resource Management in the Airline Industry, Ashgate, Aldershot
Graham, A. (2008) Managing Airports an International Perspective, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford
Hoppe, E. (2011) Ethical Issues in Aviation, Ashgate Publishing
Janic, M. (2007)The Sustainability of Air Transportation, Ashgate Publishing
Lawton, T. (2010) Strategic Management in Aviation, Ashgate Publishing
Lawrence, P. (2008) Deep stall , Ashgate Publishing
Lumpé, M. (2008)Leadership and Organization in the Aviation Industry, Ashgate Publishing
Pilarski, A. (2007) Why Can't We Make Money in Aviation? Ashgate Publishing
Rhoades, D. (2008)Evolution of International Aviation ,  Ashgate Publishing
Taneja, N. (2008) Flying Ahead of the Airplane, Ashgate Publishing
Taneja , N. (2010)Looking Beyond the Runway, Ashgate Publishing
Taneja, N.(2002) Driving Airline Business Strategies through Emerging Technology, Ashgate Publishing
Williams, G. (1994) The Airline Industry and the Impact of Deregulation ,Ashgate Publishing

Core text : Financial management
Morrell, S. (2009) Airline Finance, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot
Background reading:
Graham, A. (2008) Managing Airports an International Perspective, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford
Lawrence, P. (2008) Deep stall, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot
Pilarski, A. (2007) Why Can't We Make Money in Aviation?,  Ashgate Publishing
Rhoades, D. (2008) Evolution of International Aviation ,  Ashgate Publishing , Aldershot
Vasigh,B. (2010)  Foundations of Airline Finance, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot

There are a range of e journals of management generally and the aviation industry to access via the online library facilities for this module.  For example – The Journal of Air Transport Management , Aviation Management and Education, Airline Business, Airport Business, Flight International etc.   There are also industry data bases to access which provide current industry information on the aviation sector.