In everyday life there is bound to be a crisis at any time on any day. But what is a crisis? A crisis can be defined as a time of trouble, difficulty or danger. In order to curb and control a crisis, crisis management teams are created. This paper shall discuss the purpose of a Crisis Management Team (CMT) in the event of a crisis on or in an airline.
Once an airline sets up a crisis management team, it is their job to identify the threats that the airline is most likely to encounter. The team, using modern technology, identifies threats such as natural, confrontational, or organized threats and even mechanical or technological difficulties. They will then use this information to prevent the threat or manage it if it occurs under their watch. To control these crises, the team must set up a crisis management plan relevant to the crisis that occurs at that time. Each crisis has its own plan but the same general layout. That is, detection, preparation and prevention, containment and damage control, recovery and learning from the crisis. The main reasons for setting up these plans are to ensure control of the situation without panic and continuity of the airline functions without hiccups. The general plan is usually in network form such that work and information is distributed and shared with in a hierarchy. This communication is usually through communication channels connecting two separate branches/units in the network/hierarchy.
Given the randomness of a crisis, the CMT organizes training sessions regularly in order to ensure that the whole airline staff, members of the team included, are fully trained and are at par with the required criteria. For this first aid is given priority as a necessary skill that should be known by all employees. Also public relations is emphasized such that the employees are able to deal with the customers in a better and more efficient manner.
When a crisis is detected and prevention is unavoidable, the CMT is on it no sooner than it occurs. Their main job and most important after a crisis cannot be stopped is to control, contain and maintain the situation. They ensure safety and wellbeing of customers and employees but furthermore the financial and reputational safety of the company and its survival. They control information in and mostly out of the crisis zone and ensure quick resolve of the situation to limit negative publicity of the airline. Once the situation/threat has been handled, it is still up to the crisis management team to handle the post crisis situation. Even after crisis, their job is to ensure the smooth operation of the airline while simultaneously planning on how to recover from damage, both financial and reputational. Here, the public relations team comes in to persuade the general public and stake holders that the airline is still in safe for travel and business. Also they set up a continuity plan that determines the financial, technological and human resources necessary for continuity. During this time, decision makers use past experiences and adopt a learning orientation to the situation to develop new routines, behaviors and priorities that will change the airline for the better. That is to say, prevent future crises from occurring.
Thus, it is quite clear to see that without a crisis management team, an airline or any other organization for that matter is clearly in jeopardy. This team is the survival line of the airline in times of crisis and other than maintaining a crisis, it can prevent it from reoccurring by taking its current plan and updating it with relevant skills in order to avoid repetition of the same.