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Suthichoti, S 2006, 'Towards improvement in aviation safety in Thai Airways International Public Company Limited: a model', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright S Suthichoti 2006


Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) is a very large organization compared to Thai standards. It generates huge incomes to a number of families, directly and indirectly. Like many airlines, the main concern with THAI and the regulatory authorities is safety because THAI is in a mass transportation business.

THAI have had two accidents within a span of some six years, killing a total of 214 people. The accidents affected THAI in four key areas, namely political, economical, social and technological. This phenomenon prompted the study of aviation safety in THAI. The question that requires an answer is: “How should THAI build its protocols to enhance aviation safety?” This then became the research question. The objective of the study is to build a model suitable for THAI to enhance aviation safety, thus answering the question.

Through a review of the literature within the parent disciplines, the product, process, and customers of flying activities were identified. The four processes, the MP, the HRD, the PM and the RS are recognized through rigorous search of the literature. The developments of the required seven elements of skills needed for pilot performance measurement were made.

A review of study within the immediate discipline concerning Aviation Safety in THAI was carried out and the current status in THAI was defined. All of these led to the identification of research question, research objective, and research propositions. The research propositions were:

• Research Proposition 1: that the management practice (MP) process receives inputs from the reporting system (RS) process. Outputs from the management practice (MP) process form inputs for the human resource development (HRD) process.

• Research Proposition 2: that the human resource development (HRD) process receives inputs from the management practice (MP) process. Outputs from the human resource development (HRD) process form inputs for the performance measurement (PM) process.

• Research Proposition 3: that the performance measurement (PM) process receives inputs from the human resource development (HRD) process. Outputs from the human resource development (HRD) process form inputs for the reporting system (RS) process.

• Research Proposition 4: that the reporting system (RS) process receives inputs from the performance measurement (PM) process. Outputs from the reporting system (RS) process form inputs for the management practice (MP) process.

• Research Proposition 5: that the individual process components identified in Research Propositions 1, 2, 3 and 4, can be consolidated into an overall, comprehensive Continual Improvement (CI) loop.

Once the research propositions were established, the research design was conceived. Due to the fact that THAI is a unique airline influenced by its history of inception and by particular sets of cultures, an embedded, single case-study research method was used. Many techniques within the case-study method were employed starting from a secondary data search, direct observations, focus group interviews, elite interviews, pilot study, participant observations and in-depth interviews. Issues such as validity, reliability, sensitivity, generalizability and ethics were referred to. Issues on data processing, coding, editing, and interpreting were made and discussed.

As a result of the various methods of study and the fieldwork previously mentioned, findings were derived. These were then edited, categorized, coded, tabulated and interpreted into meaningful information.

Findings from the study and fieldwork supported all the propositions derived from secondary data search and literature review. Consequently the gap identified in the literature was now filled and the principal model was drawn. A slight modification was introduced in keeping with the interpretation of the findings. A recommendation was made that THAI implement policy measures and professional practices derived from the implication of the study to minimize risks in flight operations system and thus maximize safety.

Based on the findings of this research, it is recommended that future studies be conducted employing a deductive, quantitative, statistical method to evaluate the model and test its theoretical implications.