This paper examines the use of best practice benchmarking as an approach to performance improvement in the airline industry. The case study draws upon phenomenological evidence from the aircraft maintenance section of Britannia Airways. A range of benchmarking issues, which could be applied to different divisions of an airline are highlighted. In particular, inter disciplinary team building, employee involvement, relationships with other industry players and identification of ‘best in class'. Airline alliances and the global trend towards economically deregulated air transport are identified as factors likely to increase the adoption of benchmarking as a route to competitiveness.