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Managing Crises: UK Civil Aviation, BAA Airports And The August 2006 Terrorist Threat

Joan C. Henderson

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The paper examines the causes, characteristics and consequences of a travel and tourism industry crisis. A case study methodology is employed and the focus is on the civil aviation sector of the UK and events there in the summer of 2006 when an alleged terrorist plot disrupted airline services. Responses to the situation by the principal parties of government, the leading airport operator and airlines are reviewed within the context of a crisis management model and outcomes are assessed. Findings confirm the vulnerability of travel and tourism to terrorism-related crises and suggest the distinctive qualities of such crises and the challenges of managing them. Crisis management planning emerges as essential and past experiences yield valuable lessons which can be incorporated into preparations for the future.