THE AVIATION INDUSTRY
The aviation industry of any nation acts as a contributor to its economic growth, helps in globalisation and creating an international image. It is the best in terms of the fastest, safest and convenient mode of travel. Even though it is an expensive one, it is expanding its markets across the middle-class who are ready to spent money on leisure trips. Thus it is truly stated that aviation forms a vital core infrastructure area without which a country economy is handicapped. The civil aviation industry of world has expanded its wings by letting in private organisations. Privatisation in the domestic and the international circuit can help in foreseeing the future of the aviation industry at a mark up rise, and gaining international recognition. It started eight years back with Open Sky Policy allowing charter flights to operate in domestic market. Today in the year 2000 we saw the code sharing agreement between Air India and Virgin Atlantic Airlines for the DEL- LON sector. During the last nine months there has been fare wars, value added services, alliances etc. Suddenly there seems some action in the Aviation Industry, where Virgin has acted as a lubricator. There are many other airlines, in bid of competition increasing their capacities or increase their flights for the same route.
In the early 80s, when Virgin Atlantic was created, by Richard Branson was a go getting, sweater wearing entrepreneur and head of the successful Virgin Group, probably best known for Virgin Records. By the early 1980s, Virgin Records was one of the top six record companies in the world. Then, in 1984, Richard got a phone call out of the blue suggesting a jumbo jet passenger service between London and New York. Branson like the idea, much to the horror of his fellow directors who thought him crazy. Undeterred, Richard announced to the world that Virgin Atlantic Airways would begin operating
within three months! An aircraft was found, staff were hired, licences granted and, thanks in no small part to Richard's infectious enthusiasm, on 22 June 1984 an aircraft packed with friends and the media set off for Newark, New York - and a phenomenon was born! Since then, Virgin Atlantic has become the second largest long-haul international airline operating services out of London's Heathrow and Gatwick Airports to 21 destinations all over the world - from Shanghai to the Caribbean and the US. In December 1999, Richard signed an agreement to sell a 49% stake of Virgin Atlantic to Singapore Airlines to form a unique global partnership - the deal valuing Virgin Atlantic at a minimum of £1.225bn. At the same time the combined sales of the different Virgin holding companies was around £3bn. It turned out that 1999 was an eventful year for Richard and was topped off by being awarded a knighthood for his services to entrepreneurship.
Being in the service sector it is important for Virgin Atlantic to study its marketing mix as it works as an efficient tool, while building up marketing plans. It comprises of the seven P's which are as follows.
This P talks about the product as a whole, as what is consumed by the end consumer. Virgin Atlantic has segmented its flight into three levels
1. Upper Class.
2. Premium Economy Class
3. Economy class
All the three classes have state of art features, which are combined with the highest quality services. Making the experience of a passenger a memorable one.
1. Upper Class
Virgin Upper Class delivers a first class style with more amenities, space comfort and entertainment at a business class fare. This is marketed as a first class service at a business class fare and therefore competes with other carriers' business class product. It was launched by airline in 1984 and is now the holder of every major award in the travel industry. The services include:
First Class reclining sleeper seat with between 80 inches seat pitch and...
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Kotler.P, "Marketing Management", Prentice Hall of India, 1999
Payne, A., "The Essence of Services Marketing", Prentice Hall of India, 1996.
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Bernhardt, Kinnear, "Cases in Marketing Management", Butterworth Heinemann, 1997.
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