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Evaluating Financial and Operational Performance in the Airline Industry
Weiss, Elliott N.; Maiden, Stephen E. Case OM-1535 / Published April 21, 2015 / 15 pages.
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Product Overview

From its earliest beginnings in the years following World War II, the commercial airline industry has grown into an essential component supporting economic growth, trade, investment, and tourism throughout the world. This case includes short profiles for four airlines—United, Southwest, Spirit, and Japan Airlines—including descriptions of each company's operations strategy, history, and financial situation. A series of exhibits provides income statement and balance sheet information for each airline for the years dated 2012, 2013, and 2014. This case is suitable for management students who have already been exposed to the basics of accounting and operations management decision making. It builds business intuition that integrates concepts from the courses of operations, accounting, and finance. As such, it is appropriate for use in an operations course or an introductory finance/accounting course. Students examine the financial statements of the four competitor airlines and calculate the financial ratios that make up the return on equity for each. Then they critically evaluate the links between each company's financial ratios and its unique operations strategy and financial situation. As a result, students can understand the effects that strategic operations management and financial decisions can have on financial statements and important financial ratios—and gain the insights one can by examining the equivalent ratios of close competitors.

  • Overview

    From its earliest beginnings in the years following World War II, the commercial airline industry has grown into an essential component supporting economic growth, trade, investment, and tourism throughout the world. This case includes short profiles for four airlines—United, Southwest, Spirit, and Japan Airlines—including descriptions of each company's operations strategy, history, and financial situation. A series of exhibits provides income statement and balance sheet information for each airline for the years dated 2012, 2013, and 2014. This case is suitable for management students who have already been exposed to the basics of accounting and operations management decision making. It builds business intuition that integrates concepts from the courses of operations, accounting, and finance. As such, it is appropriate for use in an operations course or an introductory finance/accounting course. Students examine the financial statements of the four competitor airlines and calculate the financial ratios that make up the return on equity for each. Then they critically evaluate the links between each company's financial ratios and its unique operations strategy and financial situation. As a result, students can understand the effects that strategic operations management and financial decisions can have on financial statements and important financial ratios—and gain the insights one can by examining the equivalent ratios of close competitors.

  • Learning Objectives