Emirates Airlines’ Entertainment Project Management

Company Overview

The Emirates Airline is an airline company based in Dubai and is fully owned by the Emirates Group (Plunkett 44). Emirates Group is a public company that is owned by the government of Dubai. The firm was founded in 1985 as a way of promoting local tourism and making the city of Dubai a regional business hub. Emirates Airline has experienced massive growth over the years to become one of the leading companies in the region.

According to Wilson (29), Emirates Airline is currently the leading airline company in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The firm currently employs over 56,725 employees across the globe and has a fleet size of 251 planes. It has 136 destinations across the world. It offers both cargo and passenger flight services both domestically and in the international market.

This company was chosen because of several factors that make it stand out among the rest. Emirates Airline is one of the most successful airline companies in the region. It is a highly innovative firm that has been keen on introducing new technologies in the aviation sector. It has experienced growth even at times when other airline companies are registering a decline in their passenger numbers.

However, it is also true that this firm has had several management issues over the recent past. The firm has been accused of violation of some of the fundamental rights of the employees. Recently, the pilots and other cabin crew members complained that they are overworked by the management of this firm (Abeyratne 67). These are allegations that may taint the image of this excellent firm. In this paper, the researcher will focus on this company to determine the strategies it has been using to achieve its current success and how it can deal with the issues that are affecting its employees.

Methodology

In this study, it was very important to collect primary data from the respondents to understand the internal operations of this firm and how they affect the operations of this firm. According to Tracy (22), when conducting research, it is important to identify the participants with the right information for the study.

The researcher sampled ten respondents to take part in this study. A stratified sampling technique was considered the most appropriate strategy to use because it was considered the most appropriate for this kind of research. In this strategy, the researcher identified respondents in three strata (categories). The three categories were top management, middle management, and junior employees.

As Staples (78) notes, for a firm to run smoothly, there must be a concerted effort between the three groups of people mentioned above. The top managers helped in identifying the strategies that the firm has been using to achieve the current success and the approaches it has been using to manage challenges. The mid-managers helped in determining whether the vision of the firm is effectively translated into specific objectives and aims that guide operations of this firm.

The junior employees were also needed to help in determining whether the management is actively engaging them when coming up with relevant policies, and how the relationship between top management and junior employees have been maintained. It is important to come up with proper questions when planning to conduct research. The following are the questions that were used in this study.

  1. Who is responsible for the initiation and execution of the project?
  2. How do you manage project life-cycle within the firm?
  3. Do you have effective employee-manager engagement strategies in implementing the project?
  4. What are some of the main risks that you faced when in this particular project?
  5. How did you address these challenges to ensure that they do not have negative consequences?

Project Overview

The Emirates Airline came up with a project that focused on creating unique and personalized entertainment for all its clients onboard its planes. The management realized that most of its travelers were coming from a diverse background and were speaking different languages. Coming up with a common form of entertainment for all of them was almost impossible. For that reason, an idea was developed to come up with small screens and a pair of headsets for every seat so that every passenger would select the form of entertainment desired without affecting the immediate neighbor.

Time, cost, and scope

This was a project that was expected to be completed within two months. The first month was meant to test the applicability of this technology and the second month involved rolling it out to all its fleets. The cost of the entire project was $ 2.8614 and it covered all the planes, starting with those that covered long distances to places like the Americas, Far East, and Africa.

Project manager

This was an important project that primarily focused on customer satisfaction. The project manager was the marketing director of the Emirates Airline. It was considered advisable for such a high ranking manager to lead this project to ensure that the needed perfection was achieved. However, the respondents noted that most of the responsibilities were delegated to the line manager responsible for flights because of the tight schedule of the marketing director.

Team selection process

The respondents stated that the team selection process was done by the marketing director. The team members selected to take part in these projects included air hostesses who often interact with the clients daily, pilots, mid-managers in the marketing and IT departments, and experts who were contracted to do the installation of the new equipment.

Stakeholder management

The project brought together some stakeholders who served in different capacities and hence their interests had to be effectively managed. The shareholders were keen to ensure that the project will not cost them much, but will earn them good income upon its completion. Clients wanted an improved entertainment system that came at no significant increase in air tickets. The top management wanted to ensure that this project would help promote the brand of this firm and make it more competitive in the global market. Employees wanted a system that would make employees less troublesome. The marketing manager and his team ensured that these needs were rationalized and achieved through this project.

Project planning

As mentioned above, the entire project took about 2 months to be completed. After getting the idea and accepting that it was appropriate, the marketing manager took one week to explain and convince the top management unit that this was a project that was worth investing into as a way of managing the stiff competition in the market. After convincing the top managers, the marketing director took three days to constitute his team of employees. The team took one week to identify and contract the experts to help in carrying out the project. The last one week and two days of the first month involved testing the concept using a few planes. In the first week of the second month, the team engaged the clients to determine their response towards the new concept. They overwhelmingly approved this new way of entertainment. The last three weeks involved rolling out the entire program in all the planes.

Problems, impact, and how they were managed

The project did not encounter any problems in its implementation stage. The issue that was witnessed in cases where some of the clients did not understand how to operate the system. However, this issue was addressed easily by the flight attendants hence it did not have any significant impact.

Risks and how they were managed

The respondents stated that the main risk that was encountered was the identification of the proper companies that offered the kind of entertainment needed for this project. The firm had to ensure that the gadgets installed do not pose any threat to the normal operations of the planes. This risk was addressed when the company shared its concerns with Sony Corporation that promised to deliver products with exact specifications required.

The success of the project

This project was a huge success to this firm and it not only helps in promoting its brand regionally but also earning it a slot as one of the top airline companies in the world. Many clients were thrilled by the services of this firm as they considered it a deliberate attempt by the firm to offer them what they need in the best way possible. Other airlines quickly followed this trend as it was seen to be very appropriate in meeting the needs of travelers, especially those who travel for long distances.

Lessons learned from previous projects

The respondents stated that one of the main reasons why this project was a massive success was that this firm took into consideration lessons learned from previous projects. It made it easy to plan for the finances, organize the project members, and coordinate the activities of this firm. It also helped in avoiding common mistakes that always affect the ability of a firm to achieve success.

Project life cycle & project life span

According to Betz (53), when undertaking a given project, the issue of the project life cycle is of great importance. The project manager and his team knew that this was a project that would last for every, only needing some adjustments from time to time.

The lifespan of the project was estimated to be after every three years. By the end of the third year, it was decided that it would be considered that the life cycle of the project has come to an end, making it necessary to replace all the gadgets with new ones. Within three months, necessary repairs and some replacements would be done to expand the lifespan of the project. It is important to note that the respondents stated that there is a form of dissatisfaction among the employees who feel that they are overworked when implementing these strategies.

Analysis

The overview of the project conducted in the section above reveals that the project was a success. According to Tracy (83), some ways can be used to determine whether a given project was successful or not. One of these ways is to determine if achieves the desired financial consequences. This project was completed within the budget that was set. It did not significantly exceed the set budget. The returns that it had were impressive.

From this project, the firm was able to earn a loyal customer base that was thrilled to use its newly installed services. Betz (65) says that another determinant of the success of a project is the time it takes before it is overhauled. Projects which have failed to meet the set objectives are often called off after a short time to reduce their financial constraints on the firm. In this particular project, this firm has been keen to invest more in it in terms of time and resources. It has successfully passed the test of time. The only issue of concern that will need to be addressed by the top management is the complaints from the employees who feel that the management is overworking them when implementing the strategies.

The primary source of this success was the market research that was done by the marketing department of the Emirates Airline. This was not just an idea that popped up and then got implemented without a clear guideline. It was a well-thought project that was based on a study conducted for three months. The management realized that its travelers would be bored for the better part of the journey because of a lack of proper entertainment. This was a need that had to be addressed. Having identified the need, the biggest problem was how to ensure that people sitting close to one another would be provided with a custom-made entertainment system

After a consultative forum with the relevant stakeholders, this idea came up. As such, the firm knew what it was doing and was fully aware of what to expect from the project. According to Tracy (113), many firms are currently using a project-based approach to implementing important strategies (Staples 95). This approach makes it easy to plan for the implementations in terms of resources and time. It also enables the firm to compare the costs used to implement it and the returns made from it. This is the approach that Emirates Airline is currently using to undertake important projects.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Project management is one of the critical tasks that firms have to deal with in the current business environment. In this discussion, it is clear that Emirates Airline achieved great success in its entertainment project that targeted its travelers. This strategy earned this firm popularity among local and international travelers. To ensure that this firm achieves continued growth, the following recommendations should be considered.

  • The management should redefine the work schedule of its employees to eliminate the complaint of being overworked.
  • The firm should ensure that it keeps up with technology to enhance the success of this project.
  • The firm should invest more in other customer-focused entertainment platforms.

Works Cited

Abeyratne, Richard. Competition and Investment in Air Transport: Legal and Economic Issues. New York: Springer, 2016. Print.

Betz, Fredrick. Creating and Managing a Technology Economy. Hoboken: World Scientific, 2010. Print.

Plunkett, Jack. Plunkett’s Transportation, Supply Chain & Logistics Industry Almanac 2009: The Only Comprehensive Guide to the Business of Transportation, Supply Chain and Logistics Management. Houston: Plunkett Research Ltd, 2009. Print.

Staples, Leo. Project Management: A Technician Guide. Research Triangle Park: International Society of Automation, 2010. Print.

Tracy, John. Pmbok Guide: Edition Five 200-Question Sample Pm Exam. New York: Cengage, 2013. Print.

Wilson, Graeme. Emirates – the Airline of the Future. London: Media Prima, 2007. Print.