Conflict Management in Aviation


03 Oct 2016 20 Sep 2017

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Conflict Resolution

Conflicts occur when there are disagreements between an individual or groups. When an individual strongly oppose each other’s ideas a conflict may start. Conflict can start anytime and at any place between anyone. A conflict results in verbal arguments, abuses and also spoils relationships. What should be noted is no matter how well you manage your organization conflicts may arise no matter what. Conflicts are always not bad for an organization. If managed properly conflicts can generate a positive outcome to the organization.

Different skills are used by the authorities to solve conflicts. Discussed below are few strategies used to manage conflicts.

  1. Accommodating- this strategy essentially gives the opposing side what it wants. The use of accommodation often occurs when one of the parties wishes to keep the peace or treats the issue as minor.
  2. Avoiding- The avoidance strategy tries to put off conflict before it happens. By delaying or ignoring the conflict, the avoider hopes the problem resolves itself without a argument. Those who actively avoid conflict frequently have low esteem or hold a position of low power. In some circumstances, avoiding can serve as a profitable conflict management strategy
  3. Collaborating- This works by joining ideas set out by multiple people. The main objective of this strategy is to find a creative solution acceptable to everyone. Collaboration, though useful, takes significant time to be solved
  4. Compromising- This strategy typically calls for both sides of a conflict to give up in order to establish an acceptable solution. This strategy prevails most often in conflicts where the parties hold approximately equivalent power.
  5. Competing- This strategy usually results in which one side wins and other loses. Highly assertive personalities often fall back on competition as a conflict management strategy. Although this is not the best solution for a conflict it is widely used by the management to solve conflicts.

On the topic of conflict management George Kohlrieser states that, ‘Conflict management plays a very important role at workplaces to prevent conflicts and for the employees to concentrate on their work. The team leaders must ensure that the roles and responsibilities of each and every employee are clearly passed on to them.’

Managing conflicts is very vital for the organization because if not handled properly they can affect the productivity of the company output. Training the staff of such situation can be advantageous to the organization by many ways. If the necessary training is given to the staff the conflicts can be prevented and be handled in a more professional manner. The employer would also feel the importance of conflict management and also would make sure to contribute to prevent it at any cost.

Merit 02

Conflict Transformation

One perception of a conflict is that it can be good for the organization. If a conflict has come up it is verily due to one of the weakness within the organization. Once this weakness is identified the organization or business is able to rectify it and operate better. Conflicts are classified into two as long term and short term. Short-term conflicts can be relatively easily resolved while long-term conflicts involve non-negotiable issues that tend to resist resolution.Conflict may be a burden to the organization if it goes long term. As we have discussed before, an unresolved conflict may affect the productivity of the company and would result in the downfall of the organization.

The following texts are taken from Challenges of negotiating long term concerns (2010),‘to protect the future interests of their organization, negotiators sometimes must accept fewer benefits or absorb greater burdens in the short run to maximize the value to all relevant parties – including future employees and shareholders – over time.’

If the conflict is not resolved the organization would take every possible measure to solve it. Negotiators are brought in by the company if there is no short term solution for the conflict. This measure is taken by the organization to prevent the conflict to be a long term one because it would then become a more complex problem. The negotiators would try to accept the demands put up by the parties who are affected even if it’s not highly beneficial for the organization.

If a conflict does become a long term issue it would be a highly complex problem for the organization to solve. Then the organization would have to make sure to have constant interaction with the parties who are involved so that the conflict can be solved without any further due.

Distinction 02

Reasons for a conflict

Reason for conflict- The subordinate of the airline feels ignored by the superior and complains that the company is not bothered about the physical welfare of the individual and also feels that he is not satisfied with the return he gets on all the hard work he puts in.

Solution- The best solution the superiors can come up with is to first have a meeting with the sub ordinate to discuss the issue. Here they can discuss all the problems the individual is going through and a solution for it. Since the subordinate feels that he’s presence is not felt by the airline, the superior should get them involved during any decision making process of the company. Airlines should also have meetings and agendas to discuss the problems of the company and its employees. In this way the business is able to build a rapport between the superiors and its sub ordinates. This would make the employees that their idea is looked into and they feel that they too are important assets of the company.

Since the employee feels that he doesn’t get enough return for all the hard work he puts into, the airline decides to pay him extra for every additional hour he works. They also decide to give him an allowance for transport since he might have to travel late in the night during overtime.

The airline should make sure when giving solutions that the other employees are also treated fairly. Therefore before coming up with the solution the airline should study the operations first and then provide the solution after thinking wisely because an unresolved conflict could hamoer the potential production of the airline.

Task 04


Tokyo Convention

This convention is also known as Convention of Offences and certain other acts committed on board of the aircraft. This was basically an international treaty which concluded at Tokyo on the 14th of September 1963. The Convention is valid to offences against penal law and to any act which tends to jeopardize the safety of persons or property on board civilian aircraft while in flight. Coverage includes the commission of or the intention to commit offences and certain other acts on board aircraft registered in a Contracting State in-flight over the high seas and any other areas beyond the territory of any State in addition to the airspace belonging to any Contracting State. Criminal jurisdiction may be exercised by Contracting States other than the State of Registry under limited conditions. For the first time in the history of international aviation law this convention recognized certain powers of the aircraft commander who on international flights may restrain any person he has reasonable cause to believe is committing or is about to commit an offence liable to interfere with the safety of persons or property on board or who is jeopardizing good order and discipline.

The Hague Convention

TheHague Hijacking Convention(formally theConvention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft) is multilateral treatyby which states agree to prohibit and punishaircraft hijacking. The convention does not apply to customs, law enforcement or military aircraft, thus it applies exclusively to civilian aircraft.The convention concludedon 16 December 1970, the convention has currently has 185 state parties. The convention only addresses situations in which an aircraft takes off or lands in a place different from its country of registration. The convention sets out the principle that a party to the treaty must prosecute an aircraft hijacker if no other state requests his or herextraditionfor prosecution of the same crime.

Montreal Convention

This convention was formally known astheConvention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air. This convention was signed by 105 parties on the 28th of May 1999. It amended important requirements of theWarsaw Convention rule concerning compensation for the victims of air disasters. The Convention attempts to re-establish a new set of rules relating to the international carriage ofpassengers,baggageand cargo.

The following texts were taken from Handling disruptive passengers (1998), ‘Unruly and violent passengers create a massive safety risk to the aircraft and its passengers. They can also prove to be very expensive to airlines. In some cases, captains have been forced to divert a flight to eject the violent passenger. British Airways has said that the average cost of an unscheduled landing is 40,000 pounds sterling.’

Airlines try their best when handling disruptive passengers because in aviation or any other business customer is considered as king. When it comes to airlines, they make sure to follow the specific guidelines provided to by IATA. Airlines are advised not to take drunken passengers in the aircraft. During flight if the airline feels that a passenger is getting too drunk, they can refuse to serve them more alcohol because it could make them unruly later on. Unruly and disruptive passengers are not tolerated by airlines because they can jeopardize the safety of aircraft, therefore airlines follow a strict set of rules when it comes to handling them. The airline crew can go to the extent of killing a disruptive passenger if they are trying to enter the cockpit forcefully. In minor cases such as verbal or physical abuse the cabin staff would use constraint belts to tie up the passenger.

Merit 03

Aspects of Conflict

There is a theory stating that conflicts have its own life cycles. At first stage it would not be that effective then during transformation it would reach an emotional level and event may lead up to a violent climax and then disappears and often reappears again. There is a reason why and individuals or groups have goals:

  • Goals may be mismatched (different from one another)
  • When goals are mismatched an issue would arise.
  • A party with unrealized goals would feel frustrated
  • Frustration then would lead to aggression which would also lead to verbal or physical violence.
  • This violence would affect conflict with the goals and objectives.

In this way a conflict would never be resolved. A simple conflict may combine with other conflicts and turn into a very complex situation where the solution can be complicating,

On the topic of conflict transformation Johan Galtung states that, ‘a conflict may almost get eternal life, vexing and waning, disappearing and reappearing, the original, root, conflict recedes into the background like when cold war attention focused mostly on such means of destruction as nuclear missiles.

Conflicts have both life-affirming and life-destroying aspects. Once formed, conflicts undergo a variety of transformational processes. .Conflict transformation is concerned with five specific types of transformation, focusing upon the structural, behavioral and attitudinal aspects of conflict:

a. Actors– modifying actors’ goals and their approach to pursuing these goals, including by strengthening understanding as to the causes and consequences of their respective actions;

b. Contexts– challenging the meaning and perceptions of conflict itself, particularly the respective attitudes and understandings of specific actors towards one another;

c. Issues– redefining the issues that are central to the prevailing conflict, and reformulating the position of key actors on those very issues;

d. Rules– changing the norms and rules governing decision-making at all levels in order to ensure that conflicts are dealt with constructively through institutional channels;

e. Structures– adjusting the prevailing structure of relationships, power distributions and socio-economic conditions that are embedded in and inform the conflict, thereby affecting the very fabric of interaction between previously incompatible actors, issues and goals.

For conflict transformation to happen, tensions between parties to the conflict must be overcome by ensuring that all actors recognize their interests not through violence. Conflict transformation looks beyond clear issues and is characterized by creative problem-solving. Conflict transformation involves a third party, in order to help actors modify their emotional views on the ‘Other’, thereby helping to break down divisions between the two parties involved in the conflict.

Distinction 03

Policy Regarding Unruly Passenger

Unruly and disruptive passengers are common sight which occurs in airports and also during flights. Passengers usually become unruly when they are drunk. Flight delays and or poor customer service are few other contributory factors for disruptive passengers. Airlines usually try their best to avoid such situations because it could affect the goodwill of the airline. Therefore airlines handle these cases with much precaution because they are highly sensitive.

The following texts are taken from Disruptive passenger behavior, ‘The problem of unruly passengers is constantly increasing within the airline industry. Although unruly passengers represent only a minute proportion of our passengers as a whole, we must never forget that one aggressive passenger can jeopardize safety on board.’

Airlines try to take immediate measure when handling unruly and disruptive passengers since they could jeopardize the safety of the aircraft. When it comes to handling these cases airlines usually follow the guidelines provided by IATA regarding handling unruly and disruptive passengers.

If the pilot in command feels that that the passenger has done or is about to do anything which may jeopardize the safety of the aircraft the pilot is entitled to take reasonable measures

  • To protect the safety of the aircraft.
  • Protect persons on board
  • Disembark unruly or violent passengers.

Such measure could include physically restraining the violent passengers. Every reasonable effort to protect passengers against any offences by unruly and disruptive passengers should be made. Passengers who are likely to be unruly and disruptive must be carefully monitored, and if necessary, refused embarkation. The flight crew is also trained to handle violent passengers. Alcohol is considered to be one of the root causes for unruly passengers therefore the crew makes sure to monitor the behavior of the passengers who consume alcohol. They also make sure to stop serving alcohol to passengers whom they feel will go to a state of drunkenness.

Airlines make sure to handle disruptive and unruly passengers in an appropriate manner so that the passenger’s feelings are not hurt because in fact the customer is king when it comes to any business.

Reference Page


  • Conflict Management (2005) by George Kohlrieserpg5

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  • Handling disruptive passengers (1998) by Martin Pittpg9

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  • Conflict transformation (2000) by Johan Galtungpg10

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  • Challenges of negotiating long term concerns (2010) by Pon Staffpg 6

Available at:


  • Disruptive passenger behavior (1998) by Tim Chealpg 12

Available at:


  • Distruptive passenger behavior Pg 12

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