An Investigation into the Impact of Service Quality, Frequent Flier Programs and Safety Perception on Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty in the Airline Industry in Southern Africa

Open access


This study aims to identify the factors that make passengers loyal to an airline in Southern Africa by investigating the impact of service quality and safety perception on customer satisfaction and how satisfaction and frequent flyer programs (FFP) subsequently influence customer loyalty. The key finding was that service quality positively influenced customer satisfaction, and satisfaction was an important antecedent of customer loyalty. The analysis also suggested that safety perception and FFP positively influence customer loyalty, while their relationship with satisfaction was not significant. An analysis of switching behaviour revealed that satisfied customers may still switch to other airlines. The main contribution of this study is the development of a customer loyalty model for the aviation industry in Southern Africa. Knowledge of customer loyalty drivers will assist airline marketing managers in developing strategies for improving passenger load factors and profitability.

Angelova, B. and Zekiri, J. 2011. Measuring customer satisfaction with service quality using American Customer Satisfaction Model (ACSI Model). International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences. 1 (3): 232-258.

All, F., Dey, B.L. and Filieri, R. 2015. An assessment of service quality and resulting customer satisfaction in Pakistan International Airlines: Findings from foreigner and overseas Pakistani cusotmers. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management 32 (5): 486-502.

Bartlett, M., 1954. A note on the multiplying factors for various chi square approximations. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 16: 296-298.

Basso, L.J., Clements, M.T. and Ross, T.W., 2009. Moral Hazard and Customer Loyalty Programs. American Economic Journal: Microeconomics 1 (1): 101-123.

Bowen, J.T. and Chen, S.-L., 2001. The relationship between customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 13 (5): 213-217.

CAPA, 2012. Airline profitability prospects improve but profit margins remain anaemic. Aviation Analysis. (accessed April 9, 2015).

Carlsson, F. and Lofgren, A. 2006. Airline choice , switching costs and frequent flyer programmes. Applied Economics 1469-1475.

Caruana, A. 2002. Service loyalty: The effects of service quality and the mediating role of customer satisfaction. European Journal of Marketing 36 (7/8): 811-828. (Accessed July 11, 2014).

Chandrashekaran, M. et al. 2007. Satisfaction Strength and Customer Loyalty. Journal of Marketing Research 44 (1): 153-163.

Cheema, J.R., 2014. Some General Guidelines for Choosing Missing Data Handling Methods in Educational Research. Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods. 13 (2): pp.53-75.

Cheng, B. and Rashid, Z.A. 2013. Service Quality and the Mediating Effect of Corporate Image on the Relationship between Customer Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty in the Malaysian Hotel Industry. International journal of Business 15 (2): 99-112.

Davis, M.M. and Heineke, J. 1998. How disconfirmation, perception and actual waiting times impact customer satisfaction. International Journal of Service Industry Management 9 (1): 64 73.

Dehghan, A. and Shahin, A. 2011. Customer Loyalty Assessment: A Case Study in MADDIRAN, the Distributor of LG Electronics in Iran. Journal of Business Management and Strategy 2 (1): 1-23.

Divett, M., Crittenden, N. and Henderson, R., 2003. Actively influencing consumer loyalty. Journal of Consumer Marketing 20 (2): 109-126.

Dolnicar, S. et al. 2011. Key drivers of airline loyalty. Tourism Management 32 (5): 1020-1026.

Dowling, G., 2002. Customer Relationship Management: IN B2C MARKETS, OFTEN LESS IS MORE. California Management Review 44 (3): 87-104.

Eggert, A. and Ulaga, W. 2002. Customer perceived value: a substitute for satisfaction in business markets. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing 2-3 (17): 107-118.

Faizan, A., Bidit, L.D. and Raffaele, F. 2015. An assessment of service quality and resulting customer satisfaction in Pakistan International Airlines: Findings from foreigners and overseas Pakistani customers. International Journal of Qouality & Reliability Management 32 (5): 486-502.

Fraering, M. and Minor, M.S. 2013. Beyond loyalty : customer satisfaction, loyalty, and fortitude. Journal of Services Marketing 27 (4): 334 - 344.

Gilbert, D. and Wong, R.K.. 2003. Passenger expectations and airline services: a Hong Kong based study. Tourism Management 24 (5): 519-532.

Gómez, G.B., Arranz, G.A. and Cillan, G.J. 2006. The role of loyalty programs in behavioral and affective loyalty R. C. Levanthal. Journal of Consumer Marketing 23 (7): 387-396. (accessed December 8, 2014).

Gounaris, S. and Stathakopoulos, V. 2004. Antecedents and consequences of brand loyalty: an empirical study. Journal of Brand Management 11 (4): 283-306.

Grönroos, C. 1982. Strategic Management and Marketing in the Service Sector. Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration.

Gures, N., Arslan, S. and Tun, Y.S. 2014. Customer Expectation, Satisfaction and Loyalty Relationship in Turkish Airline Industry. International Journal of Marketing Studies 6 (1): 66-74. (accessed January 5, 2015).

Hair, J.F., Black, W.C., Babin, B.J. and Anderson, R.E. 2010. Multivariate data analysis. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Hair, J.F., Bush, R.P. and Ortinau, D.J. 2000. Marketing research: a practical approach for the new millennium. Singapore: McGraw Hill.

Han, X., Kwortnik, R.J. and Wang, C. 2008. Service loyalty: An integrative model and examination across service contexts. Journal of Service Research 11: 22-42.

Heskett, J.L., Jones, T.O., Loveman, G.W., Sasser, E.W. and Schlesinger, L.A. 1994. Putting the service-profit chain to work. Harvard Business Review 72 (2): 164-174.

Hess, S., Adler, T. and Polak, J.W. 2007. Modelling airport and airline choice behaviour with the use of stated preference survey data. Transportation Research Part E 43 (3): 221-233.

Huppertz, J.W., Arenson, S.J. and Evans, R.H. 1978. An Application of Equity Theory to Buyer-Seller Exchange Situations. Journal of Marketing Research 15 (2): 250-260.

Airlines Internationa. IATA, 2014 70th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Doha, Qatar. Tony Tyler’s State of the Industry, keynote speech.

Jan, M.T., Abdullah, K. and Smail, M.H. 2013. Antecedents of Loyalty in the Airline Industry of Malaysia : An Examination of Higher-Order Measurement Model. Proceedings 3rd Asia-Pacific Business Research Conference, 25 - 26 February 2013, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 1-14.

Kaiser, H., 1974. An index of factorial simplicity. Psychometrika 39: 31-36.

Kandampully, J. and Hu, H., 2007. Do hoteliers need to manage image to retain loyal customers? International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 19 (6): 435-443. (accessed January 23, 2015).

Kandampully, J. and Suhartanto, D. 2000. Customer Loyalty in the hotel industry: the role of customer satisfaction and image. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 12 (6): 346-351.

Keaveney, S.M. 1995. Customer Switching Behavior in Service Industries: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Marketing 59:71-82.

Kotler, P. and Keller, K.L. 2012. Marketing Management (14th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc. Prentice Hall

Lacey, R. and Sneath, J. 2006. Customer loyalty programs: are they fair to consumers? Journal of Consumer Marketing 7 (23): 458-464.

Lederman, M., 2007. Do enhancements to loyalty programs affect demand ? The impact of international frequent flyer partnerships on domestic airline demand. The RAND Journal of Economics 38 (4): 1134-1158.

Lemon, K.N., White, T.B. and Winer, R.S. 2002. Dynamic Customer Relationship Management: Incorporating Future Considerations into the Service Retention Decision. Journal of Marketing 66:1-14.

Lewis, M., 2004. The Influence of Loyalty Programs and Short-Term Promotions on Customer Retention. Journal of Marketing Research 41 (3): 281-292.

Lewis, R.C. and Booms, B.H. 1983. The marketing aspects of Service quality. In Berry, L.L, Shostack, G. & Upah, G. (Eds). Emerging perspectives on Services Marketing. American Marketing Association, Chicago, IL: 99-107.

Liu, Y., 2007. The Long-Term Impact of Loyalty Programs on Consumer Purchase Behavior and Loyalty. Journal of Marketing 71 (4): 19-35.

Lovelock, C. and Wirtz, J. 2010. Services Marketing - People, Technology, Strategy. (7th ed.). Prentice Hall.

Malhotra, N.K., 2007. Marketing Research: An applied orientation. (7th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Meyer-Waarden, L., 2008. The influence of loyalty programme membership on customer purchase behaviour. Euroepan Journal of Marketing 42 (1/2): 87-114.

Mittal, B. and Lassar, W.M. 1998. Why do customers switch? The dynamics of satisfaction versus loyalty. Journal of Services Marketing 12 (3): 177-194.

Oliver, R.L., 1997. Satisfaction: A behavioural perspective on the consumer. New York NY: Irwin-McGraw Hill.

Oliver, R.L., 1999. Whence Consumer Loyalty? Journal of Marketing 63:33-44.

Olorunniwo, F., Hsu, M.K. and Udo, G.J. 2006. Service quality, customer satisfaction, and behavioral intentions in the service factory. Journal of Services Marketing 20 (1): 59-72.

Ostrowski, P.L., O’Brien, T. and Gordon, G.L. 1993. Service quality and customer loyalty in the commercial airline industry. Journal of Travel Research 32 (1): 16-24.

Oyewole, P., Sankaran, M. and Choudhury, P. 2007. Consumer Choice of Airlines in Malaysia: A Synthesis of Perspectives from Participants in the Air Travel Market. Journal of International Consumer Marketing 20 (1): 19-31.

Pallant, J., 2005. SPSS survival manual: a step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS for Windows. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V.A. and Berry, L.L. 1985. A Conceptual model of service Quality and its Implications for Future Research. Journal of Marketing 49:41-50.

Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V.A. and Berry, L.L., 1988. SERVQUAL: A multiple-item scale for measuring customer perceptions of service quality. Journal of Retailing 1 (64): 12-40.

Park, J., Robertson, R. and Cheng-Lung, W. 2005. Investigating the Effects of Airline Service Quality on Airline Image and Passengers’ Future Behavioural Intentions : Findings from Australian international air passengers. The Journal of Tourism Studes 16 (1): 2-11.

Peppers, D. and Rogers, M. 2005. Customers Don’t Grow on Trees. Fast Company. July: 25-26.

Reichheld, F. and Teal, T. 1996. The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits, and Lasting Value. Boston, Massachusets: Harvard Business School Press.

Reichheld, F.F. 2001. Loyalty Rules ! How Today’s Leaders Build Lasting Relationships. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press.

Rhoades, D.L. and Waguespack, B.J. 2000. Judging a book by its cover : the relationship between service and safety quality in US national and regional airlines. Journal of Air Transport Management 6 (2): 87-94.

Ringle, C.M., Sarstedt, M. and Zimmermann, L. 2011. Customer satisfaction with commercial airlines: The role of perceived safety and purpose of travel. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice 19 (4): 459-472.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. 2009. Research methods for business students (5th ed.). Harlow, Essex; Pearson Education Limited. Prentice Hall

Seiders, K., Boss, B.G., Grewal, D. and Godfrey, L.A. 2005. Do Satisfied Customers Buy More? Examining Moderating Influences in a Retailing Context. Journal of Marketing 69 (4): 26-43.

Streiner, D.L. 2003. Being inconsistent about consistency: When coefficient alpha does and doesn’t matter. Journal of Personality Assessment 80 (3): 217-222.

Szczepańska, K. and Gawron, P.P. 2011. Changes in Approach to Customer Loyalty. Contemporary Economics 5 (1): 10. (accessed January 7, 2015).

Tepeci, M., 1999. Increasing brand loyalty in the hospitality industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 11 (5): 223-230.

Thaler, R. 2008. Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice. Marketing Science 27 (1): 15-25.

Tibachnick, B.G. and Fidel, L.S. 2001. Using Multivariate Statistics (4th ed.). New York: HarperCollins.

Tse, D.K. and Wilton, P.C. 1988. Models of Consumer Satisfaction Formation : An Extension. Journal of Marketing Research, 25 (2): 204-212.

Uncles, M.D., Dowling, G.R. and Hammond, K. 2003. Customer loyalty and customer loyalty programs. Journal of Consumer Marketing 20 (4): 294-316.

Wessels, D. 2006. Consumer Loyalty in the Airline Industry. Philadelphia PA: The Whartong School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Wong, A. and Sohal, A. 2003. A critical incident approach to the examination of customer relationship management in a retail chain: an exploratory study. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal 6 (4): 248-262. (accessed February 11, 2015).

ZimStat - Zimbabwe National Statistic Agency. 2015. Facts and Figures 2014. (accessed February 11 2015)

South East European Journal of Economics and Business

The Journal of University of Sarajevo

Journal Information

CiteScore 2018: 0.86

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.224
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.395

Cited By


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 885 754 52
PDF Downloads 608 547 30