The Effects of Individual Dimensions of Airline Service Quality: Findings from Australian Domestic Air Passengers

By Park, Jin-Woo; Robertson, Rodger et al. | Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, August 2006 | Go to article overview

The Effects of Individual Dimensions of Airline Service Quality: Findings from Australian Domestic Air Passengers


Park, Jin-Woo, Robertson, Rodger, Wu, Cheng-Lung, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management


This article investigates how in-flight service, reservation and ticketing, airport service, reliability, employee service, flight availability, passenger satisfaction, pricing (value), and airline image determine passengers' future behavioural intentions. For this testing, structural equation modelling was applied to data collected from Australian domestic air passengers. It was found that there were significant relationships between the variables, except in four paths. In-flight service and employee service were found as significant drivers of passenger satisfaction, which was directly related to pricing (value), airline image, and passengers' future behavioural intentions.

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Delivering high quality service to passengers is important so that airlines can survive and strengthen their competitiveness. Service quality conditions influence an airline's competitive advantage, and with this comes market share, and ultimately profitability (Morash & Ozment, 1994). Since service quality is an important factor for airlines, research related to service quality and customer satisfaction in the airline industry has been growing. A number of researchers have applied service quality theories and methods in airline setting. Yet, where service quality has been examined in the air transport context, most airline service studies have focused on the effect of airline service quality at the aggregate construct level. Although examining the effect of individual dimensions of service attributes has potentially great utility for airline managers (Patterson & Spreng, 1997), the effect of individual dimensions of airline service quality has not been fully investigated in previous airline service studies.

More recently, research related to corporate image, value, and consumer behaviour in the field of service marketing has progressed. There is some evidence that corporate image and value are important factors in the overall evaluation of the service and the company. Several researchers have attempted to understand the relationship that exists between corporate image, value, and consumer behaviour in various service industries (Andreassen & Lindestad, 1998; Bloemer, Ruyter, & Pascal, 1998; Nguyen & LeBlanc, 1998). However, an understanding of the roles of airline image and value as determinants of passenger behaviour and evaluation of the airline service is lacking.

This study proposes and tests a conceptual framework of the relationships between airline service quality, passenger satisfaction, airline image, value, and passengers' future behavioural intentions. In particular, previous airline service studies have often ignored the effects of individual dimensions of airline service quality; if anything, they have only focused on the effect of the five service dimensions of the SERVQUAL (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1988) as airline service dimensions. The SERVQUAL's five dimensions and 22item scales are difficult to apply to airlines because the SERVQUAL instrument does not address other important aspects of airline service, such as in-flight meals, seating comfort, seat space and leg room. Against this background, this article derives airline service dimensions by adapting the SERVQUAL scale to the specific context of aviation and investigates the effects derived dimensions of airline service quality by developing a structural equation model.

The article provides and initial review of literature related to service quality, customer satisfaction, corporate image, and value. The research methodology is then discussed and results from the data analysis are presented. Final discussion of the implications of the study concludes the article.

Theoretical Background

Service quality is a consumer's overall impression of the relative inferiority/superiority of the organisation and its services (Bitner & Hubbert, 1994). The research on the importance of service quality revealed that delivering high quality in the service industries produces cost savings, better profits, and market share. …

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