PEST Analysis: The Indian Airline Industry
A PEST analysis is an analysis of the external macro-environment that affects all firms. P.E.S.T. is an acronym for the Political, Economic, Social, and Technological factors of the external macro-environment. Such external factors usually are beyond the firm's control and sometimes present themselves as threats. For this reason, some say that "pest" is an appropriate term for these factors. Let us look at the PEST analysis of the Indian aviation sector:
In India, one can never over-look the political factors which influence each and every industry existing in the country. Like it or not, the political interference has to be present everywhere. Given below are a few of the political factors with respect to the airline industry:
oThe airline industry is very susceptible to changes in the political environment as it has a great bearing on the travel habits of its customers. An unstable political environment causes uncertainty in the minds of the air travellers, regarding travelling to a particular country. oOverall India’s recent political environment has been largely unstable due to international events & continued tension with Pakistan. oThe recent Gujarat riots & the government’s inability to control the situation have also led to an increase in the instability of the political arena. oThe most significant political event however has been September 11. The events occurring on September had special significance for the airline industry since airplanes were involved. The immediate results were a huge drop in air traffic due to safety & security concerns of the people. oInternational airlines are greatly affected by trade relations that their country has with others. Unless governments of the two countries trade with each other, there could be restrictions of flying into particular area leading to a loss of potential air traffic (e.g. Pakistan & India) oAnother aspect is that in countries with high corruption levels like India, bribes have to be paid for every permit & license required. Therefore constant liasoning with the minister & other government official is necessary.
The state owned airlines suffer the maximum from this problem. These airlines have to make several special considerations with respect to selection of routes, free seats to ministers, etc which a privately owned airline need not do. The state owned airlines also suffers from archaic laws applying only to them such as the retirement age of the pursers & hostesses, the labour regulations which make the management less flexible in taking decision due to the presence of a strong union, & the heavy control &interference of the government. This affects the quality of the service delivery & therefore these airlines shave to think of innovative service marketing ideas to circumvent their problems & compete with the private operators.
Business cycles have a wide reaching impact on the airline industry. During recession, airline is considered a luxury & therefore spending on air travel is cut which leads to reduce prices. During prosperity phase people indulge themselves in travel & prices increase.
After the September 11 incidents, the world economy plunged into global recession due to the depressed sentiment of consumers. In India, even a company like Citibank was forced to cut costs to increase profits for which even the top level managers were given first class railway tickets instead of plane tickets. The loss of income for airlines led to higher operational costs not only due to low demand but also due to higher insurance costs, which increased after the WTC bombing. This prompted the industry to lay off employees, which further fuelled the recession as spending decreased due to the rise in unemployment.
Even the SARS outbreak in the Far East was a major cause for slump in the airline industry. Even the Indian carriers like Air...