This paper aims to investigate effects on service quality where an individual airline chooses to jointly market its services with other airlines under the umbrella of a co‐brand alliance. Concept combination theory would lead to an expectation that quality performance of individual airlines would converge when their individual brands are combined to form a co‐brand alliance. This paper seeks to review the conceptual basis for quality convergence, and test this with a study of actual convergence levels among airlines that have joined alliances, and those that have not.
The research employs a longitudinal, quantitative methodology. An index of airline service quality is constructed from a number of published sources, and this index combines technical and functional aspects of quality. The choice of components to include in the index, and their relative weighting, was informed by a panel of experts. Time series data were collected for the period 1998‐2004, and analysed using analysis of variance (ANOVA).
The study indicates that the effects of recent alliance membership on service quality for an airline are insignificant.
Other factors such as industry‐wide trends had a greater effect on airlines' level of quality than alliance membership.
Previous research into co‐brand alliances has tended to emphasise technical and financial performance metrics. This study has taken a broader perspective based on operational and customer perceived aspects of service quality. The principal finding of the paper is that variations in quality levels are accounted for more by broader industry wide phenomena, rather than the presence or otherwise of a co brand alliance. Differentiation between co‐brands may be more subtle, and based on distinctive styles of service delivery which are not typically picked up through quantitative research.
Tsantoulis, M. and Palmer, A. (2008), "Quality convergence in airline co‐brand alliances", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 34-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/09604520810842830Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited