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Aet Case Essay

4308 words - 18 pages

1 Comparing internally consistent HR at the Airport Express Train (AET), Oslo, Norway and Southwest Airlines (SA), Dallas, U.S.A. Bård Kuvaas and Anders Dysvik, BI Norwegian School of Management

This case study provides a comparison between internally consistent HR in two very different organizations with respect to size (small versus large), age (new versus old), ownership (an independent company reporting to the Norwegian Trading and Business Commerce versus listed), competitive strategy (cost leadership and customer service versus differentiation and customer service), and national context and labor laws (Norway versus the U.S.A.). The main similarity, besides that they both operate in ...view middle of the document...

Despite that, they produced outstanding results in ontime performance, baggage handling, and Customer satisfaction. Our Customers rate Southwest service levels, arguably, higher than ever. And, we remain among the top low-cost producers of major airlines, and America’s preferred Low Fare airline. Our Employees are the best and the reason Southwest continues to outperform our competitors.” Clearly, the CEO of SA believes that their remarkable success comes from their employees, and how they are selected, trained, managed, and taken care of, as we will explain in this case study. SA is a widely debated and cited success story. When first we approached The Airport Express Train (AET), we thought it was just another company trying to benchmark “the SA way”. Trying to imitate a success company, however, may be a risky venture, as evidenced by the problems Delta experienced when implementing Leadership 7.5 in 1994 – an effort to reduce Delta’s costs per available seat mile to match SA’s 7.5 cents (Wright & Snell, 2005). However, after having interviewed Kari Skybak, the Director of HR at the AET, we learned that they did not know much about SA. Rather, her own inspiration with respect to HR at the AET derives from how Janne Carlsson, the former CEO of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) who transformed the company in the early eighties by creating a businessmen airline with exceptional customer service and punctuality. In 1982, SAS was the most punctual airline in Europe and for the year 1983 SAS was awarded the title "Airline of

2 the Year" by Air Transport World 2 . Another inspiration, in particular with respect to the importance of nice and clean trains, is from Walt Disney’s emphasis on quality and keeping their facilities clean and customer-friendly to the largest extent possible. The AET 3 is member of an International niche of approximately 40 Air Rail Links who have the dedicated task to bring flight passengers to and from major airports. The major airport served by AET is Oslo Airport – Gardermoen, carrying more than 18.1 million passengers in 2009. In 2008, AET had approximately 300 employees (100 conductors, 120 train stewardesses and 20 customer consultants) and served a total of 5.7 million passengers. It currently has 16 trains and 217 departures each 24 hours. The AET has 10 minutes departures between the airport and Central Oslo, a distance of 47 kilometers, and 20 minutes departures through the city into the heavily populated suburbs close to the airport. Recently, AET extended its line by another 20 kilometers westwards to the city of Drammen. The AET is a young company established in 1998 with the goal of achieving a total public transportation share for airline passengers of more than 50 per cent. Getting people to leave their cars behind and change their travel habits drastically required a solution that was better than anything else available with respect to short travel times and comfort, reliability...

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