IUBH Discussion Papers - Transport & Logistik 1/2019
Warren Buffett once famously stated that airlines were infamous for destroying shareholder value . His hindsight proposition to better have taken the Wright brothers out of the sky violently surely was a pointed one, if not entirely serious. This paper seeks to shed some light on the challenges underlying the industry that Buffett blames as a value destroyer, and explain the difficulties most airlines have to tackle on a daily basis. The idea of aviation management as event management is the basis of this exploration of the airline industry, emphasizing the daunting task of offering an intangible product , created long before demand is certain, at a price that is lowest when the product itself is most difficult and costly and complex to produce. This underlying conundrum is one of the central challenges airlines need to confront when trying - hard at most times - not to actively destroy shareholder value.