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Delta Airlines Case Study

Updated on November 16, 2017

HR Practices

Delta Air Lines


Delta Air Lines, Inc. headquartered in Atlanta, is a major American airline offering flights to over 350 destinations on six continents. Delta is one of the world’s largest airlines that help more than 160million travelers get to their destination each year. The company utilizes more than 750 aircrafts in their fleet. Not only a prized airline in its industry, delta airlines has been acclimated to be one of the most admired companies in the world.

The historical account of Delta Air Lines dates to when Huff Deland Dusters was established in Georgia as the world's first airborne product association. In 1928, Wolman, one of the establishing accomplices, brought Huff Daland Dusters and renamed the organization Delta Air Services after the Mississippi Delta district, the vital market it served. Delta began its first traveler flight in 1929. In 1930, the firm changed its name to Delta Air Corporation (Ireland, Hoskisson, and Hitt, 2008). It was renamed again in 1934 as Delta Air Lines. In 1946, it began planning freight operations. In 1953, it converged with Chicago and Southern Airlines, making its blemish on worldwide courses. In 1956, Delta turned into an open limited organization.

In 2001, Delta reported its first financial loss in six years. In a move to survive this huge setback, Delta, like other struggling carriers, was under pressure to actualize cost-cutting activities. In March 2002, Delta stopped disbursing basic commissions to travel specialists as an initial step to cut expenses. In the same year, Delta announced an additional reduction of 8000 employees from its workforce. Since 2001 the airline had reduced its workforce by nearly 25 percent. As a result of these cost-cutting efforts, delta’s loss for the quarter ending December 2002 narrowed from $734 million a year ago to $363 million. Meanwhile, the low-fare carriers such as Southwest, JetBlue, and AirTran were gaining passengers from traditional hub-and-spoke airlines. In response to the dramatic transformation that was taking place within the U.S. Aviation industry, Delta unrelieved a plan to launch its own low-cost subsidiary.

In the month December 31, 2016, the organization worked in three joint endeavors with remote transporters. The organization has an air benefit concurrence with local territorial air transporters that nourish activity to its course framework by serving travelers fundamentally in little and medium-sized urban communities. Through its local bearer program, Delta connection, the organization has authoritative plans with territorial transporters to control flying machine utilizing its DL designator code (Reuters, 2017). The firm has different organizations, including aircraft upkeep, repair and upgrade, staffing and different administrations, excursion discount operations and its private stream operations As of December 31, 2016, apart from offering maintenance and building backing to its armada of more than 900 air ship, its MRO operation, known as Delta TechOps, served flight and airline clients from over the world. The Delta Global Services business gives administrations to the organization and to outsiders, including staffing administrations, aviation resolutions, proficient security and teaching services.

HR Practices

The organization's aircraft section is overseen as a single specialty unit that gives programmed air transportation to travelers and loads all through the United States and over the world and other auxiliary carrier benefits, the organization's flight gear frames one fleet, which is wrecked through a solitary course planning framework. The firm competes with Sky Team, American Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, among others.

Delta Airlines gives a decent case of a product-line multidivisional structure of an airline. In expansion to streamlining its taskforce, Delta is advancing its item portfolio to offer the correct blend of overall administration, regional associations, low-fare benefit, and extending Delta association local carrier and Sky Team union's points of interest. Delta extended its codeshare partnership with Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines, with an end goal to create critical income benefits when completely actualized, while supplying clients with awesome travel alternatives. The organization is likewise attempting to make economical efficiencies for its system by overhauling aircraft turnaround time forms and also rolling out key improvements to its flight staffing and booking programs (Flouris and Oswald, 2006). Delta's Technical Operations office is streamlining procedures and building industry-driving mastery to expand profitability and make open doors for extra income through insourcing. By actualizing lean upkeep strategies and using Six Sigma green and dark belts to drive operational efficiencies, Delta is empowering adaptable ranges of abilities, coordinating output to the needs of the clients and upgrading materials and stock.

In the 90s, an extraordinary notoriety in the business empowered Delta to enroll and select just the best representatives who had abilities and states of mind that fit well into the organization's family-based ethos. Delta put more than most carriers in preparing. Non-union status took into consideration adaptable work rules that let representatives respond to any circumstance and take care of business. Delta's interior advancement framework prompted in worker residency and a workforce with an abundance of experience and learning. Generally, high pay additionally urged to remain with Delta for the whole deal since they trusted the organization could take care of them. Before 1994, Delta's HR stratify was lined up with its business technique so HR rehearses fabricated representatives; abilities and inspiration to influence the business to work. Be that as it may, by the 1990s, things were evolving. Significant business patterns adjusted the culmination atmosphere, and HR methodology needed to change as well. In 1994, following two straight years of record of money related misfortunes, CEO Ron Allen revealed another technique called Strategy 7.5 (Wright, 2008). Allen meant to diminish Delta's expenses per accessible seat mile from more than 10 pennies to 7.5 pennies, which would coordinate that of a noteworthy contender Southwest Airlines. Alongside new business system came to an enormous change of Delta's HR procedure.

Delta's new HR methodology comprised of decreasing expenses of training, experienced representatives were laid off and supplanted with contingent workers, Delta put fewer flight attendants on every flight and fewer mechanics at the door, and pay was solidified or reduced in all worker groups. The 1994 plan of action of Delta Air Lines was driven by cutbacks, low wages, low training, and temporary workers.

Delta hires for the future. A strong profitability record over the years has rewarded Delta with a distinct advantage in the hiring process. The employment process is designed to flag a service orientation in an applicant’s professional, educational, or community involvement record, the employment press favors applicants who gave the potential for promotion because Delta subscribes almost entirely to a promotion, because Delta subscribes almost entirely to a promotion from within policy. Except for a handful of people with specialized skills such as law, everyone is hired in at entry level.

The interview process is just simple. After application, it takes a week for Delta to call for an interview. The guidelines to succeed in the interview is being yourself, delta does not like people who walk in the interview and saying about how the job is done and you have not yet been employed. Also, it is not great showing disrespect or giving direct answers in the interview as if they were memorized. The interviewee should seem original and real. Delta also held online interviews, but this does not mean that the applicant has not passed whenever they do not call back. It simply means that they are still waiting for background check to be sure of all the details given by the applicant. The minute the interview slot is filled, one is immediately hired.

Implications of HR practices

As an HR professional, you are reacting to the same monetary changes that drove the progressions at Delta. You have to access to the latest research on the most proficient method to make representatives a wellspring of long-haul upper hand under the weights of globalization. This meaning of HR methodology underlined the arrangement of HR practices, in light of the fact that it is the wide exhibit of practices that issue regarding worker execution, not singular tests, enlisting or meeting procedures, for instance. It is likewise essential to recall that HR procedures are best outlined and actualized for a specific employment or an arrangement of occupations. Fewer firms deal with their administrative specialists a similar way they deal with their senior officials. Each team is enrolled in an unexpected way, is chosen by various criteria, goes to various training programs and is paid in an unexpected way. On the off chance that your organization is centered around client administrations, one needs to construct client benefit abilities and practices into all client arranged employments, yet the particular methodology of enrollment, choice, preparing and rewards for a worker will be not quite the same as those of a store supervisor. One approach that organizations can utilize is the value matric approach, which claims that a firm can actualize four conceivable HR methodologies. These techniques include duty, execution, consistency, and organization, fixing to establish particular employment groups speaking to various sorts of laborers: strategic, primary, support or community oriented.

According to my understanding of implications of HR practices in companies, these organizations can recognize the ranges of abilities of specific occupations as far as their incentive to the firm and their uniqueness into the work showcase. In this value/uniqueness framework, known as the human capital design, every quadrant incorporates depictions of the proper HR procedure.

Other companies can learn a lot from Delta Airlines. Instead of hiring qualified and experienced employees, it is always vital to keep employees who are liable. Most companies just hire experienced employees because they want to see a great outcome and experienced ones did not require a lot of training work. However, what if they are replaced by contingent employees? These employees are conditional or independent contractors. They can work remotely or on site. They do not require supervision and are trustworthy into their jobs. This saves a lot of time and pressure and their jobs always seem quality. Cutting costs of training is essential. Some companies lose a lot of money while training. More so, they will have to hire someone to train these employees. Instead of hiring employees that require a lot of training, firms can think of hiring independent contractors and still a few employees. This saves costs and the income is not reduced. Another thing is that when delta reduced their wages, they were able to focus on their strategies and save enough money to implement their plans. Reducing the number of employees is also vital. Too much cook spoils the broth. A company with a few employees that know what they are doing and are experts in their jobs saves a lot of hustle in paying and the company receives great income.

Lastly, HR technique has the most critical effect on what workers really do at work. On the off chance that the system concentrates on client benefit, for instance, it will influence things like whether representatives are inviting and accommodating, regardless of whether they give the correct answers and take care of clients' issues. On the off chance that the technique is about competence, it will urge workers to search for approaches to bring down expenses or work more efficiently. At last, what representatives do is the basic connection in implementing a strategy. Since what representatives do relies upon what they have and feel, HR systems need to concentrate all the while on building abilities, inspiration, and conduct for a fruitful business methodology.


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Flouris, T. G., & Oswald, S. L. (2006). Designing and executing strategy in aviation management. Aldershot [u.a.: Ashgate.

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Ireland, R. D., Hoskisson, R. E., & Hitt, M. A. (2008). Understanding business strategy: Concepts and cases. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Reuters, T. (2017). Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) Company Profile. Retrieved November 09, 2017, from

Wright, Ph.D., P. (2008). SHRM FOUNDATION'S EFFECTIVE PRACTISE GUIDELINES SERIES, [online] p.38. Available at: Bottom of Form

© 2017 Bernie Simpson


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