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Bridge over troubled water or long and winding road? Gap‐5 in airline service quality performance measures

Vinh Sum Chau (Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)
Yu‐Ying Kao (Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal

ISSN: 0960-4529

Article publication date: 23 January 2009

4674

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to apply the SERVQUAL model to identify critical performance measures in the airline industry, exploring differences between Eastern and Western expectations of airline service quality and delivery.

Design/methodology/approach

Data from 263 effective questionnaire responses were collected from two locations – Taipei (Taiwan) and London (UK) – to compare differences between the well‐documented gap‐5 (between perceived and expected levels of service quality) values of respondents from these places of origin.

Findings

The paper generally finds that: there is a statistically significant difference between the perceived and expected levels of service quality in the airline industry; these are affected by such demographic factors as education, occupation and income levels (but not all that were examined); the SERVQUAL model's dimensions represent appropriately the airline industry; and the gap‐5 sizes of these quality dimensions have a significant impact on customer satisfaction and service value; but there does not seem to be a statistically significant difference between the gap‐5s of respondents from the two locations.

Research limitations/implications

The paper limited the research to data from two locations, and makes a bold assumption that the two locations make adequate representations of views from the East and West.

Practical implications

Gap‐5 and general SERVQUAL analyses seem to apply well to the airline industry. Further, management effort need not be different for the delivery of service quality between Eastern and Western passengers/customers. The findings are generalizable to other sectors for which service quality is an important public sector concern (e.g. household utilities).

Originality/value

A generic framework is presented for how service quality dimensions, and issues of gap‐5, relate to overall service quality, customer satisfaction, and service value, in the passenger airline industry.

Keywords

Citation

Sum Chau, V. and Kao, Y. (2009), "Bridge over troubled water or long and winding road? Gap‐5 in airline service quality performance measures", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 106-134. https://doi.org/10.1108/09604520910926836

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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