Operations Strategy Essay (Red Cross + BA). 1750 word essay

Topic: Research on the operations strategies of the International

           Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and British airways.




The objective of this paper is to research the operations strategies of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and British airways. The International Committee of Red Cross is an example of  international relief organisation, while British airways is an example of  an international airline.  By examining the operations of the two organisations, this paper attempts to examine the differences and similarities between British airways and ICRC. Finally, the paper comments on the speed of decision of British airways and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Operation strategies of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an independent non-profit and relief organisation dedicated to offering assistance and humanitarian protection to victims of war around the world or people who are in other dire situations of violence and suffering worldwide. Typically, the operations of ICRC revolve around the permanent mandate of international law, which specifies that any international relief organisation should be impartial in their actions towards the victims of war, prisoners, or towards people wounded because of war. The ICRC has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland; however, offices of ICRC are located in more than 80 countries, and the operations of the organisations are controlled by more than  12,000 staff. (International Committee of the Red Cross, 2009).

Most of the operations of the ICRC respond, in a professional and non-judgemental way, to the places where people are experiencing armed conflicts. Thus, before the ICRC intervenes in areas experiencing complex armed conflicts, they examine the situation with thorough analysis on the method of best intervening in sensitive situations. Essentially, to carry out their functions, the ICRC designs effective methods of implementing relief operations in any country where the organisation wishes to operate. In carrying out the operational framework, the ICRC employs various tactics in order to carry out their intervention.

The ICRC employs several modes of action such as persuasion, support, direct services etc in the areas where they are carrying out their relief operations, but they also sometimes play some part in ensuring that hostilities end in the areas that they operate. For example, the ICRC may use the service of

“influential individuals or institutions that, because of their roles and functions, may

directly or indirectly take action to curb, avoid or put an end to violations of International

Humanitarian Law ( IHL) or other fundamental rules protecting persons in   situations of

violence, and protect or aid those affected when humanitarian problems arise. The ICRC

endeavours    to persuade them to take action, in the manner most  conducive to

promoting full respect for those fundamental rules and to ensuring that the people in

need receive protection and assistance.” (ICRC Annual report, 2008, p11).

In the next section, the paper examines the operations of British airways before comparing and contrasting the operations strategies of British airways and International Committee of the Red Cross.

Operation strategies of British airways

The British airways is the UK’s largest airline and is now privately owned by shareholders though it was once an entirely state-owned company. Apart from its business operations in the UK, the British airways is one of the leading international airlines, and British airways operates in several countries and schedules its flights to approximately 148 destinations. Between 2008 and 2009, British airways flew to more than 300 destinations and the increase in the flight schedules has made the British airways engage in one of the largest international schedules air route networks worldwide.  The worldwide business operations of British airways is very wide, and the airline serves more than 33 million passengers globally. In early 2009, British airways could boast of 245 aircrafts for its global operations. (British Airways, 2008). It has just announced a merger with Iberian air too, so will become even larger and one of the main players in the international travel market.

Typically, “the main activities of British Airways Plc and its subsidiary undertakings are the operation of international and domestic scheduled air services for the carriage of passengers, freight and mail and the provision of ancillary services.” (British airways, 2009).

The methods by which British airways operates its business are centred on the creation of   high-performing business in order to offer high value to customers. To achieve this objective, British airways has built a rewarding workplace where a pool of talented workers can work to the best of their ability in order to achieve the best for customers. It should be noted that British airways has realised that there is a need to be distinct from all other  international airlines, to achieve this aim, British airways has created a learner’s organisation where  there can be a high performing culture for workers in order to enhance organisational efficiency. The keen competition that British airways faces with other international airline has made them create many initiatives in order to become a premium global airline. Thus, the company has structured its programme in order to enhance it competitive advantages as well as creating a company that is more agile.

To enhance market advantage, British airways believes that customers are the springboard for the success of all organisations, so British airways has trained its staff  to  improve customers’ needs and to  enhance their travelling experience. It should be noted that during the flight, customers believe that their safety depends on the airline management. Thus, many customers will prefer an international airline that provides highest security and customers relations to the clients.  To facilitate convenience for customers, British airways have introduced new features where customers book their tickets online as well as checking in online. These strategies make it convenient for large number of clients of British airways customers to book online. In common with other airlines, booking online has helped British airways to drive down the cost of operations as well as increasing revenue. (British airways, 2008).

This paper intends to compare and contrast the operations of British airways and the International Committee of the Red Cross; thus, the next sections compare and contrast the operation strategies of these two organisations.

Compare and contrast the operations strategies of British airways and International Committee of the Red Cross.


The similarities between British airways and the International Committee of the Red Cross are that both organisations operate both locally and internationally. British airways started its operation in the UK, and but is now operating in more than 148 destinations. It should be noted that British airways operates in all the continents in the world, and the company operates within Far East too. The operations of the British airways made the company one of the largest employers in the UK. Similar to British airways, the ICRC is also an international organisation that operates both locally and internationally. The ICRC has its headquarter in Geneva, Switzerland – a neutral country, despite its army – and at present the organisation operates in more than 80 countries.

Moreover, the similar operation of the two organisations is that both have long history of contributing to the safety of lives of human beings in different ways. While British airways ensures the safety of all passengers during the flights, and has an excellent safety record the ICRC enhances the safety of  people  by providing humanitarian aid relief  to  people  being affected by wars. British airways ensures the safety of its passengers through all necessary procedures such as enhancing security. They also ensure that pilots piloting the aircraft are well trained, and the aircraft well equipped with first aid kits and safety equipment in the case of emergencies or any passenger falling sick.

One difference between British airways and the ICRC is that, while both organisations may deal directly with people, British airways is ultimately a profit maximising organisation: this company does not provide their service for nothing. Thus, the British airways charges fees for carrying passengers from one destination to the other. It should be noted that British airways is one of the most expensive international airlines too. By contrast, the ICRC is a non-profit organisation, and not like British airways, which is a business organisation with the objectives of maximising its profits. The International Committee of the Red Cross does not aim to achieve any financial rewards from all its operations. Typically, the ICRC secures all the money it uses to carry out its operations are from donations from private individuals, business organisations, other humanitarian foundations, governments etc.

However, one similarity between both British airways and ICRC is that they aim to provide speedy reactions to their level operations.

Comment on the speed of decision making that applies to ICRC and British airways.

While both British airways and ICRC may have different methods of serving people, both organisations make speed decisions in their operations. It should be noted that ICRC responds within 24 hours to provide humanitarian and aid relief in the war-torn countries or in areas where there are hostilities. Thus, with the speed at which the ICRC carries out its operations, more than 15 million people benefit from the humanitarian relief provided by them. Typically, to enhance the speed of its operations, the ICRC communicates and rapidly mobilise key stakeholders to work in support of the ICRC. To ensure effective speed of action, ICRC also mobilises key target groups such as opinion makers to provide both humanitarian and physical support. (ICRC, 2008).

Similar to ICRC, British airways provide speedy decision making in all their operations especially operations that are applicable to its customers. To enhance the company’s speedy decision making, the British airways has created a website named www.ba.com to ensure that customers can book online. This website provides comprehensive information on the customer’s booking, hotel reservations, flight schedule, car service etc. This home page has provided a speedy method by which British airways has increased the speed the decision making in their management-customers operations. Customers can make flight reservation within 15 minutes and can purchase their tickets within 15 minutes after payments have been confirmed online. The E-ticket strategy provided by British airways provides the speed methods by which customers can buy their tickets online swiftly and efficiently.


This paper examined the operations of British airways and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Although both organisations are  international organisations, British airways is a business organisation with the aim of maximising its profit, whilst the ICRC is a non-profit organisation aimed at providing international aid to people is war-torn countries. The paper showed both the similarities and differences between thee two organisations. Finally, the paper examined the speed of decision making that applie to British airways and the ICRC.









                                             Lists of reference

British Airways, (2008). British Airways Annual Report and Account 2008, UK.

British Airways,(2009). Where We fly To, Retrieved 22 November 2009, from



ICRC (2008). ICRC Annual report 2008, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva



International Committee of the Red Cross, (2009). Discover the ICRC, Retrieved 21

November 2009, from