The aviation industry in Australia has observed a significant growth in the recent time. The share of aviation in freight transport is increasing rapidly because of the sustainable growth in high-value, time-sensitive parcel traffic. The new transport hubs are increasingly being developed in the recent vicinity of airports. After a long time, the aviation sector brings essential as well as critical services to the rural and remote areas across Australian regions and states. The aviation sector underpins Australian business as well as tourism and it is has been reported that the annual revenue of the industry reached $1.3 billion, which contributes nearly $12.3 billion to country’s overall GDP (Melbourneairport.com.au 2017). The aviation industry in Australia has five significant aspects such as domestic commercial aviation, international commercial aviation, generation aviation, air-freight transport as well as aviation support infrastructure. As put forward by Wong and Brooks (2015), the significant growth in passenger as well as cargo movement by air in the Asia-Pacific could fuel the Aviation sector’s ongoing requirement for handling as well as ground crew members. Nevertheless, attraction and retention are difficult and need a significant commitment to raise the skills levels as well as build the career paths. The below mentioned graph provides an illustration of the Aviation Workforce from 2006-2020 (Chen and Chen 2012).
Issues found in the labor field of Aviation industry
The aviation Workforce Skill Study has identified a large range of issues related to Australia’s aviation planning environment.
The aviation industry is in the need for a broad approach to aviation workforce planning and development, which should be sustained by streamlined policy as well as regulation. Even though, the present cost challenges faced by individuals as well as business are well managed, the industry is in the need for the industry to investment more in its present and future workforce with public and private funding mechanism. The industry faces other challenges such as the issue related with the safety and regulatory reforms. On the other side, the implementation of present regulatory reforms into the industry operation persistently raised the concern with several industry stakeholders who question the key cost and benefit ratio of the reforms for the sector with the potential flow of the less budget. As mentioned by Zou et al. (2014), the aviation industry in Australia identified the need for larger centralization as well as coordination in workforce planning across the sector.
Furthermore, while focusing on labor workforce of the sector, it is observed that industry has a chronic deficiency of Flight Instructor and Flight Examiners for both aero planes and helicopters. However, hence O’Connor and Fuellhart (2012) also commented that this sort of shortage are also observed in other western nations with the addition of fierce competition for specialist skills sets. The issues are also found in the aviation maintenance, as majority of sector stakeholders as well as training provider operating in the Aviation Maintenance sector described a deficiency of shortage of aircraft maintenance engineering trainers.
The most recent data available figures from the aviation safety Authority demonstrate that the aviation industry employed just under 55000 workers in 2013 (Ison, Merkert and Mulley 2014). This scenario includes non-technical administration position and the less number of voluntary and unpaid workers. Even though the questionnaire is compulsory, annual return rate is less than 100%; thereby, the figure could be underestimated (Jiang and Zhang 2016). This particular issue regarding the underestimation is given weight by the aviation workforce figure. In addition to this, a significant variation has been found in the share of employee expenditure between airline, which remains consistent with the variation observed in other regions. This involves the three “tiers” of airline emerging. It is also identified that Australian airlines generally have share of employee expenditure across all sort of airlines compared to other similar airline in other nations.
Conventionally, the domestic as well as regional airline makes the large investment on their workforce as the percentage of their overall expenditure. As put forward by Bourne (2016), the domestic and regional airlines do not have much access to the same economies of scale afforded to broad airlines that usually runs larger aircraft. Furthermore, it has also been reported that the proportion of aviation workers aged under 25 and over 50 is lower compared to the average figures across all nations (Terrill 2016). The lower proportion of young worker could be contributed to the time, expense as well as minimum age required to gain aviation-related to qualification. It has been estimated that continuation of this growing trend could pose significant challenges to the business, especially about the succession planning as well as workforce up-skilling.
From a broad perspective, the overall proportion of aviation workers born outside of Australia remains slightly higher compared to the remaining working population, which is 28.8% compared with 27.7 percent across all aviation sectors (David 2013). Among these overseas-born workers, the proportion of workers based in English-Speaking nations is slightly greater than the aviation industry than the observed aggregated industries. Nevertheless, the scenario is little different in aircraft manufacturing as well as maintenance sector, where 34.5% of worker were born outside of Australia (Borenstein and Rose 2014).
After acquiring the lease for Melbourne Airports, Australian Pacific Airports have observed increase in the arrivals of travelers. As put forward by Safaei, Banjevicand and Jardine (2011), this trend is going to continue into future. After the renovation of Australian Pacific Airport, billions of dollars privately funded investments in the capital expenditure have supported the growth in passenger. In addition, during the last four years alone, investors have been pleased to sustain more than $1.8 billion in new and upgraded infrastructure. According to Hedden (2012) at a time when the organizations in the public sector are challenged in meeting all of the demands on it for new infrastructure spending, the private investment delivers the significant dividends for Victorian National Economy. The overall revenue of the organization around $642 million, and the operating profits was around $470 million (Melbourneairport.com.au 2017). Melbourne Airport currently services 28 passenger and 16 freight airlines and there are nearly 165,000 aircrafts movement as well as 20 million domestic and international passengers per annum. Some of these developments leads to an increased improvement in the security arrangements at airports. In addition, Wong and Brooks (2015) also mentioned that growing arrangements in Melbourne Airports could put Australia in the top three nations.
There are some significant reasons behind the growing development of Melbourne Airport such as customer service, technology, quality service monitoring. The organization strengthened its service commitment with six customer service indicators increasing throughout the year. It has been observed that Melbourne Airport has become the first airport in the world to acquire accreditation to International Customer Service (Melbourneairport.com.au 2017). The six indicator of Melbourne are ambience, cleaning, crowing, information and way –finding and courtesy. In addition to this, technology plays a significant role in providing effective customer service across Australian Pacific Airports.
In addition to all these, in stakeholder and community engagement, Melbourne plays another significant role. For example, in each year, a comprehensive as well as in –depth audit conducted by Melbourne indicates that with the key stakeholders, Melbourne Stakeholders achieve almost 95% and 92.5% for quality relationship and communication respectively (O’Connor and Fuellhart 2012). The organization continues to work with the government business, the key stakeholders and the community. In addition to this, the company has been able to have the significant gains as it has formed a strong and sustaining relationship with the government. More specifically, both Melbourne and Launceston continue work with different levels of Government to enhance planning operation and service. For instance, Melbourne continues to work with Victorian State Government on enhancing tax service. Conversely, to gain support from the government, the organization has a significant stake in corporate social responsibility. For instance, Melbourne Airport contributed to Victoria government’s review of the metropolitan schemes.
It is further observed that Australian Pacific Airport sustains particular number of communities and industry organizations to further develop as well as enhance the economic and social growth of the regions where it runs the operation. To strengthen its social image in the community, Melbourne has formed the partnership with volunteers where it supports the “healthy Habitates” conversation programs at the heart of the city (Melbourneairport.com.au.2017). The organization also continues to support Melbourne tourism industry leadership programs, which focuses on strengthening the succession management with the tourism sector. At the same time, it also provides practical learning opportunities for the industry leaders.
All these initiatives make it clear that Australian Pacific Airport has developed a significant brand image in the market due to its strong environmental initiatives. Moreover, the challenges it faced in term of labor workforce did not create further significant challenge as it has growing workforce, which shapes the gaps in the workforce. As put forward by Ruhanen, Mclennan and Moyle (2013), frequent infrastructure development also enables Melbourne Airport to hold the growing workforce. However, it has been reported that the organization lacks skilled workforce, which certainly affects the customer service and the productivity. Hence, Jiang and Zhang (2016) also mentioned that compared to the investment made on workforce development, the organization did not observe the positive gains on return on investment.
Interpretation of the findings
The first hand information gathered from the investigative interview helps to learn that currently, due to supportive environment in the aviation industry, Melbourne Airport has observed a significant market position in Australian Aviation sector. Due to some significant business initiatives, the organization has moved to a matrix structure, which resulted in four different business elements such as Aviation, Property, Parking and Ground Transport (Terrill 2016). Moreover, in spite of the challenges in the workforce, the organization gained a tremendous momentum. The frequent investment in the infrastructure helps the organization to grow the capacity of freight and aircrafts. Once the capacity is larger, the opportunity for gaining return on investment is also larger. However, first-hand information collected from the interview, the analysis made in the part 1, and part 2 indicates that organization has been able to hold such growing market as it effectively deals with the external environment. For example, Melbourne continued working with Victoria State government, industries bodies as well as regional landowners to enhance pest, plant and animal control, on the largest ever collaborative environmental project.
As it is learnt in the interview that the business has moved to a matrix structure, in the above-mentioned analysis, it is also found that APAC has also put a significant emphasis on key growth markets. This is considered as the initiative of focus shifted from being “China ready” to “China Friendly” (Chen and Chen 2012). This initiative included additional mandarin conversation staff appointed as aspect of the volunteer Customer Care Program. Public announcements in Mandarin at Melbourne’s international departures have international screening point to offer real time updates. The growing strength of the organization enables the firm to remain committed to provide responsible airport operation that protects and improves the environments and communities in which they run.
Development of the organizational structure has also been possible because it has developed a sustainable relationship with the government. The company persistently works with the key government departments and business stakeholders that certainly stabilize the growth of the firm. The organization will continue to work with the government to improve the security across its operation. The organizational expansion has also sustainable because the company has made a large investment in technology; the technology adopted by APAC continues to enhance travelers’ experience with staff-service check-in and automated bag-drop facilities adopted in Melbourne. The above-mentioned discussion helps to learn that organization. The current scenario of the aviation industry in Australia indicates that if the Melbourne Airport maintains such strong relationship with its stakeholders, it could further enhance the operation in the existing market.
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