Original Research

Interplay between air passengers’ service quality, satisfaction, loyalty and loyalty programmes in South African owned airlines

Nicholas O. Mantey, Vaanie Naidoo
Acta Commercii | Vol 17, No 1 | a448 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v17i1.448 | © 2017 Nicholas O. Mantey, Vaanie Naidoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 October 2016 | Published: 30 June 2017

About the author(s)

Nicholas O. Mantey, School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Vaanie Naidoo, School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, University of KwaZulu-Natal


Orientation: Delivering service quality is crucial for the continuous operation and sustainability of South African owned airlines. The term ‘South African owned airlines’ refers to six South African owned registered airlines, and is used for purpose of anonymity and confidentiality.
Research purpose: The main aim of this study was to examine the interplay between service quality delivery, satisfaction, loyalty programmes and passengers’ loyalty to South African owned airlines.
Motivation for the study: Intended to provide insight into quality to society of airline services, the global airline industry in general and the airline industry in South Africa in particular.
Research approach, design and method: A quantitative research approach was adopted, using a cross-sectional (sample survey) method. Empirical data was directly collected by the researchers from 684 passengers at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and King Shaka International Airport in Durban using a non-probability random sampling technique.
Main findings: The study’s main findings were that: (1) generally, passengers of South African owned airlines were satisfied with the airlines’ service quality and rated such satisfaction as moderate to high. (2) Only 22% of passengers were part of a loyalty programme. However, in the South African context, loyalty programme membership is not indicative of passengers’ loyalty to airlines: 86% of the respondents stated that they are consistently loyal to the airlines (3). There was no association between passengers’ loyalty and frequency of travel. (4) South African passengers have limited choice of airlines; therefore, loyalty and patronage does not lean towards a particular airline.
Practical implications: By offering superior service quality to passengers, South African owned airlines could gain competitive advantage ongoing patronage and loyalty, thus increasing overall profitability.
Contributions: This study provides cognitive information, which management could use to design new marketing strategies to enhance loyalty in the airlines in South Africa and globally.


Competition; customer value; loyalty; satisfaction


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