US Airways is an airline based out of Tempe, Arizona. They use 340 mainline jet aircrafts, 300 regional jets, and a turbo prop aircraft that connects 200 destinations in North America, South America, Europe and the Middle East. They employ over 32,000 people worldwide and operate over 3,200 daily flights.
On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River shortly after takeoff. They flight was under the command of Captain Chesley Sullenberger. They were flying from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. They hit a flock of Canadian Geese, which caused both engines to lose power. Everyone survived with only minor injuries. This has been called “the miracle on the Hudson.”
Situation (SWOT) Analysis
Strength: The major strength of US Airways was that they had a crisis plan in place, and they were ready to take action when something such as this happened. They also had a great pilot that showed great leadership skills.
Weaknesses: The media released information before they could make a statement. Therefore, some information that was released wasn’t factual.
Opportunities: US Airways had the opportunity to show their customers that they cared about them and their safety. It also gave them the opportunity to better prepare for crises in the future.
Threat: Because media released information that wasn’t factual, this could have been threatening to US Airways and their reputation.
Strategies (decisions and behaviors)
- The pilot chose to attempt a water landing rather then risk crashing in a populated area.
- The flight crew kept passengers calm and evacuated them in an orderly fashion.
- Caption Sullenberger walked through the plane twice to make sure that no one was left, and he was the last to get into a raft.
- Passengers/crew members were treated for injuries at local hospitals.
- An emergency response “bridge line” was established in order to obtain factual information.
- Doug Parker, CEO, issued a statement during a press conference.
- A toll-free hotline was established for family members to get more information about family members on board.
- A team assisted passengers with obtaining cell phones, hotel rooms, meals and dry clothing.
- The passengers on the plane received a letter of apology from US Airways, $5,000 in compensation for lost baggage, and a refund of the ticket price.
- Within minutes of the landing, rescuers surrounded the plane.
- Besides minor injuries such as broken legs and hypothermia, all 150 passengers and five crew members made it out alive.
- The last passenger to leave the plane told the media that the Captain was a hero and gave him a hug.
- The flight crew was praised for their actions.
- The Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators awarded the entire flight crew a Master’s Medal – awarded for outstanding aviation achievements.
- The crew was given a standing ovation before the start of Super Bowl XLIII.
- The Mayor of New York City presented thea Keys to the City to the crew.
In my opinion US Airways did a great job in handling this crisis. They had a great pilot onboard that exhibited great leadership skills and truly cared about the passengers on the flight. He made a difficult decision to land in the Hudson, and then made sure all passengers were out safe before getting on a raft himself. He and his crew were awarded and praised in many ways honoring their braveness and quick decision-making.