Polaris began its beta testing on February 22, 2017. Over the past two weeks, over 250 students, duty crew members, duty administrators (DA), and weekend coordinators have started using Polaris. From such as diverse group of users, I have received much valuable feedback and made adjustments to Polaris accordingly. In this week’s blog post, I will detail some of the user responses and how they are addressed.
It’s been a long time since my last post…Good to be back here to talk about commercial aviation. I have previously mentioned, in my first blog, that different airlines can be seen as distinct agents that represent the cultures of their home countries. I made this point totally out of my observations. When I boarded my first few flights almost a decade ago, I started to notice different seat decorations of different carriers. It was not until later years that I figured out some meaning out of these ostensible differences. For example, hidden behind the cloud-shaped figures imprinted on seats of Air China is the oriental philosophy that promises happiness and tranquility; ANA’s signature boarding music Another Sky brings a taste of traditional Japanese music, ongaku, to its passengers. Yet as I think about the subject deeper, I have found out that the footprint of an airline’s culture extends far beyond explicit manifestations of national symbols. As you will see in the three case studies below, both the indigenous, regional culture and the internal corporate atmosphere have huge impacts on almost every dimension of an airline’s operation and the product it delivers. The cumulation of every little cultural detail, in turn, shapes the identity of airlines and helps them differentiate from their competitors.
ANA Onboard Japanese Meal Selection from Tokyo Narita to Shanghai (Picture taken by myself) Continue reading
Ratio Analysis is a very self explanatory subject, as it is really just analyzing situations using different kinds of ratios. Ratios are very handy when assessing risk, liquidity, and profitability, because they can be used to accentuate competitive advantages and warn for potential trouble. Continue reading
At the end of my last blog, I mentioned how airlines have become so adept at differentiating their products that in a foreseeable future, a greater level of customer-driven customized flight experience can be expected. In fact, not only is this phenomenon a significant trend in the airplane seat development, it also represents a unique feature of the industry’s revenue composition. When I was building an eco-hotel business model in my Business & Society class back in the fall, I noticed that approximately 10% of hotel revenue comes from sources other than regular room rates. This seems quite reasonable: after all, meals, laundry, mini-bar expenses are often an important part of travelers’ hotel bills. However, I was surprised to find out that according to a consulting firm IdeaWorks, the ancillary revenue of traditional U.S. air carriers (non-inclusive of those low-cost competitors like Southwest) had 11.9% share of their total revenue in 2015, meaning that in average, when a major U.S. airline sells a $1,000 ticket, it would later get $119 more revenue from somewhere else. While these numbers seem to illustrate the power of the “customization” I have previously mentioned, they indicate something far more profound. A deeper look into IdeaWorks’ report suggests that nearly 55% of U.S. major airline ancillary revenue came from “sale of FFP (frequent flyer program miles).” In fact, aside from the seemingly excessive baggage and seat selection charges, airlines increasingly found frequent flier programs to be just as lucrative. Arguably, the proliferation of loyalty programs in airlines has become a definitive feature of the industry, shaping the modern-day air travel landscape in so many ways.
American Airlines AAdvantage Program
A lot of people have asked me about Polaris since its launch. The question is usually brought up during brief conversations:
A person would ask, “Hey Kevin, how’s Polaris going?”
My reply is always very terse: “Pretty well!”
“Good! When is it going to be available?”
Operating, Investing, and Financing Cash Flows
This week, my study was mainly based on what cash flow statements are and what they consist of. The format of the Statement of Cash Flows is as follows: Net cash from operating activities + net cash from investing activities + net cash from financing activities = Net change in cash balance. On a cash flow statement, non-cash transactions are listed on the bottom below the cash transactions, and interest and taxes paid in cash also have to be recorded on the cash flow statements.
In the past week, I have been focusing on the evolution of airplane seats. Through this blog post, I will present a snapshot of this multifaceted and complicated piece of history. While I realize that I am far away from being an expert on many nuances and considerations that went into the seat design process, I hope that I can, at least, portray a general trend of development and provide some insights into how today’s air travel can be seen as a cumulative result of the past.
Over the past week, I have been working very closely with the technology office to deploy Polaris. To my surprise, my first week’s work has turned out to be very challenging. I have encountered numerous problems with both the server and Polaris itself. In this blog post, I will be discussing some of these problems as well as the lessons I learned from them.
The Balance Sheet Equation
There is one basic underlying grammar rule in writing a balance sheet, and that is the balance sheet equation. The balance sheet equation goes: Assets = Liabilities + Stockholder’s Equity. This means that the resources of a company is represented by the claim of resources by the owners of the companies and the outsiders. An apt example of this is housing mortgages. If I pay a part of the price of the house and leave a percentage of it as mortgage, the price that I paid becomes my, the owner’s, claim of the property, which is the house in this case, and the mortgage is the outsider’s claim of the resources.
Last semester, due to the heavy workload that every first semester senior goes through, my independent seminar digressed a little bit from the mathematical fields of business. Therefore, this semester I decided to focus on something much more math-related in the field of business, and I picked financial accounting as the starting point of the study. Continue reading