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Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 and Germanwings Flight 9525 Crises

Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 and Germanwings Flight 9525 cases were highly fatal accidents in the airlines’ history. It is important to note that the main cause of the crash for the latter was co-pilot, who deliberately assisted the collision. However, in the case of Southwest Airlines, the investigation showed the crack in fan blade no. 13, which initiated a series of events that led to the disaster.

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One should be aware that crisis management is highly different from risk management. Managing crises involves three distinct steps, which are prevention, response, and recovery. In both cases, the prevention aspect was lacking, which inevitably led to the deaths among passengers. The German airline was a part of Lufthansa, and the incident was the derivative of the human factor, which was later corrected by new regulatory measures that mandated to have at least two individuals in the cockpit. However, the American airline’s crash was the result of mechanical error, where the fan blade was not functional.

Southwest’s emergency plan response was well-handled and appropriate because the company was able to preserve its legitimacy and reputation. Despite having a short time for the reaction and unexpectedness of the event, the CEO quickly issued the necessary statement. In other words, the communication channels were built instantly from the side of leadership. In addition, the airline’s social media profile image and website logo were changed to represent the fact that the company acknowledges the crisis. There were no commercial or marketing deals due to the empathy aspect of the response. Therefore, the strong points of the reaction were communication and recognition of the issue, but the weak point was the lack of explicit regulatory change. Well-built communication channels strongly assisted the airline in preserving its legitimacy and reputation.

In contrast, the Germanwings case involved Lufthansa and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which decided the fate of the company. The fact that the case was an intentional suicide by the pilot made the crash more sensitive and controversial. The airline emergency response plan was not as effective as Southwest’s because the communication channels were not properly built. In addition, the representation of Lufthansa made crash-related communication less prominent. The strong point of the response is the immediate involvement of EASA in implementing necessary regulatory changes. The weak point is the lack of sufficient voice from the Germanwings itself as a directly responsible daughter company of Lufthansa. The major factor that damaged the reputation and legitimacy is the fact that Lufthansa sold the company to Eurowings.

There are fairly well-established strategies that can be followed in crisis situations, which, in turn, will minimize their consequences. The reaction of the company to the crisis is critical because it has a much greater impact on its negative effects than the event itself that entailed the crisis. The problem itself is not a crisis, but an inattentive attitude to the problem, the absence of a crisis response plan, and inept management actions easily turn the working situation into a disaster. Often it is the media that are the catalyst that assists in taking the case out of control. It is the media that set the key points by defining your temporary difficulties as an easily settled problem or an incipient crisis. In order to do this, the company must have a pre-prepared list of possible issues and an action plan in case of a disaster. The crisis response plan should be part of the organization’s emergency response protocol.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, July 4). Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 and Germanwings Flight 9525 Crises. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/southwest-airlines-flight-1380-and-germanwings-flight-9525-crises/

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 and Germanwings Flight 9525 Crises." July 4, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/southwest-airlines-flight-1380-and-germanwings-flight-9525-crises/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 and Germanwings Flight 9525 Crises'. 4 July.

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