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Title: Evaluation of 'AIRQUAL' scale for measuring airlines service quality and its effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty
Author: Alotaibi, Mishal M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 0962
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2015
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Globalisation and stiff competition have changed the landscape of doing business. Decrease in customer loyalty and increase in customer expectations have challenged businesses to come up with unique methods of enhancing their quality of service. The same is true for airlines industry too. As a result, many airlines have transformed their marketing strategies, especially with regard to service quality, in order to compete efficiently in the global market. The marketing literature has introduced models of service quality, e.g.: SERVQUAL and AIRQUAL to help organisations measure and enhance customer experiences. SERVQUAL has been extensively researched and applied in many industries. Similarly, AIRQUAL, a model for the airline industry, has been developed but applied only in Cyprus. Moreover, the AIRQUAL scale lacks validity, as its development process is incomplete. This research, therefore, adapted 30-items of AIRQUAL and assessed and validated this revised scale. The validated scale was then applied to the airline industry of Saudi Arabia. Further, a comprehensive model is proposed, where the impact of the validated scale of service quality is tested with its impact on customer satisfaction, attitudinal loyalty, word of mouth, repurchase intentions and complaining behaviour. The assessment and validation process is divided into two main stages: first, qualitative; where four focus group interviews were undertaken that generated 46 items for the adapted scale. These items describe the perceptions of airline customers regarding service quality and were classified on the bases of the scheme proposed by Parasuraman et al. (1988). Second, a three-phase two sample, quantitative, research was performed to derive a validated 30-item scale comprising five dimensions: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. Further, the improved scale was tested in a new market (Saudi market) in order to assess the service quality of Saudi Airlines. A total of 500 self-administered questionnaires were distributed among airline customers. The returned questionnaires underwent thorough screening and cleaning. The reliability of the scale was tested through Cronbach’s Alpha, followed by exploratory factor analysis (EFA), which emerged with five dimensions. The content, convergent and discriminant validities were established. Further scale confirmation was conducted on a sample of US airline passengers. Finally, the proposed model with nine hypotheses was tested, which resulted in statistically significant results for all the proposed hypotheses.
Supervisor: Mason, Keith Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Service quality ; AIRQUAL ; Airlines ; Customer satisfaction ; Attiudinal loyalty ; Word of mouth ; Repurchase intentions ; Complaining behaviour ; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia