It was a critical time for Alaska Airlines, and they never encountered such a challenge and crisis in the company's existence. Flight 261 had crashed killing 88 people on board; while the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was reporting that the potential cause of the crash was due to a lack of regular airplane maintenance. Most detrimental to the airline was the media published a letter from 64 Alaska Airlines mechanics. The letter disclosed insider information regarding a base maintenance manager’s inappropriate activities of contradicting federal aviation regulations, leading to dangerous operations. This letter also built more evidence that it was Alaska Airlines’ negligence that resulted in the tragedy. In addition to the maintenance crew, the pilots posted a message on the union’s website complaining about the “misconduct” of Alaska Airlines. It was apparent that pilots, a integral assets for an airline company, did not trust corporate management.
Alaska Airlines had been run for 70 years and had climbed in status during the 1990s, if the company could not promptly and appropriately handle this crisis, its reputation could be destroyed. It was time to test Alaska Airline’s capability of handling crisis management, management system and labor relations. Alaska Airline, a veteran in the industry, would have to deal with the public scrutiny as they sorted through the government investigation to determine the exact cause of the crash.
In the transportation industry, unions are common which made handling this crisis more difficult. The difficulty is due to every move or conversation the airlines make are out for the public to view and criticize. "Airing the dirty laundry" of Alaska Airlines was an extremely embarrassing situation . Management could not support the criticisms for fear of completely destroying their reputation. However, those criticizing the company were employees and knew firsthand what was happening. In the end, the company has...
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