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Xiaowen Fu and Hangjun Yang

With significant changes in the aviation industry, various airport–airline arrangements have been formed to achieve alternative objectives. However, no consensus has been…

Abstract

With significant changes in the aviation industry, various airport–airline arrangements have been formed to achieve alternative objectives. However, no consensus has been reached on such arrangements’ economic effects and the associated optimal public policy. This chapter aims to provide an interpretive review of the common types of airport–airline arrangements, the different modeling approaches used and key conclusions reached by recent studies. Our review suggests that airport–airline arrangements can take diverse forms and have been widely used in the industry. They may allow the airport and its airlines to internalize demand externality, increase traffic volume, reduce airport investment risks and costs, promote capacity investment, enhance service quality, or simply are a response to the competition from other airport–airline chains. On the other hand, such vertical arrangements, especially for those exclusively between airports and selected airlines, could lead to collusive outcomes at the expenses of non-participating organizations. The effects of such arrangements are also significantly influenced by the contract type, market structure and bargaining power between the airport and airline sectors. While case by case investigations are often needed for important economic decisions, we recommend policy-makers to promote competition in the airline and airport segments whenever possible, and demand more transparency or regulatory reporting of such arrangements. Policy debates and economic studies should be carried out first, before intrusive regulations are introduced.

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The Economics of Airport Operations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-497-2

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Katsuya Hihara and Naoki Makimoto

The relationship between airline and airport is complex, fascinating, and wide open for new research endeavors. In Volume 6 of the series, we conducted the analyses of…

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The relationship between airline and airport is complex, fascinating, and wide open for new research endeavors. In Volume 6 of the series, we conducted the analyses of risk-sharing contract between airline and airport from numerical risk balance assessment and incomplete contract theory perspectives based on an interesting real example of risk-sharing contracts, the Noto Airport Load Factor Guarantee Mechanism (LFGM) contract in Japan.

In this chapter, we further advance the analyses of risk-sharing contracts, based on the real example of Noto LFGM contract, from the perspectives of game theory and principal-agent theory. The risk-sharing arrangements, such as LFGM contract, are relevant to the rapidly changing business environment in Asia’s aviation industries.

We conduct a two-stage game analysis. The first phase is the contract negotiation phase and the second phase is the effort-making phase after signing the contract. We show that the two parties can attain a Pareto optimal utility level by bargaining a simple linear risk-sharing contract in the contract negotiation phase based on the equilibrium effort levels in the effort-making phase.

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Xiaowen Fu and Tae Hoon Oum

This chapter reviews the effects of air transport liberalization, and investigates the roles played by airport-airline vertical arrangements in liberalizing markets. Our…

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This chapter reviews the effects of air transport liberalization, and investigates the roles played by airport-airline vertical arrangements in liberalizing markets. Our investigation concludes that liberalization has led to substantial economic and traffic growth. Such positive outcomes are mainly due to increased competition and efficiency gains in the airline industry, and positive externalities to the overall economy. Liberalization allows airlines to optimize their networks, and thus may introduce substantial demand and financial uncertainty to airports. Vertical arrangements between airlines and airports may offer a wide range of benefits to the parties involved, yet such arrangements could also lead to airline entry barriers which reduce the effects of liberalization. Three approaches have been developed to model the effects of liberalization in complex market conditions, which include the analytical, econometric and computational network methods. These approaches should be selectively utilized in policy studies on liberalization.

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The Economics of International Airline Transport
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-639-2

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Katsuya Hihara

The relationship between airports and airlines is very interesting from an economics perspective, and analysis of this relationship is wide open for new research…

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The relationship between airports and airlines is very interesting from an economics perspective, and analysis of this relationship is wide open for new research endeavors. For instance, airport and airline interactions can be viewed as a zero-sum game of deciding, say, airport landing charges, while at the same time both entities have an incentive making a joint effort to enhance their ability to generate passenger demand and to contribute to growing regional economies. Within this theoretical framework, their relationship consists of not only a binary choice of conflict or cooperation, but also suggests the possibility of complex mixtures of conflict and cooperation. While understanding the interdependence of airports and airlines is an important issue in transportation economics, research examining the complexity of airport and airline relationships is relatively new to the field. This chapter contributes to this research area, in part, by introducing one very interesting example of an airport and airline relationship that considers an element of conflict and cooperation. Specifically, this chapter examines the economic consequences of a risk sharing contract. Analysis of the risk sharing contract recognizes the relevance of microeconomic theories, such as contract theory and principal–agent theory and reveals how these concepts can be applied to traditional transport economics. Predictions of risk sharing between airlines and airports using these theories are derived using numerical examples. Findings reveal that the risk-sharing agreement based on the Noto Airport Load Factor Guarantee Mechanism (LFGM) contract enables the airport side and the airline side not only to share the monetary consequences of demand fluctuation, but also to secure air flights from a local airport to Tokyo, to jointly enhance their various demand-inducing efforts, and to increase their utilities in order to meet the common target they set in the contract. With the LFGM contract, both sides have consistently maintained the air transport network in a relatively low demand area for more than 10 years without significant outside financial assistance. The findings from this chapter also contribute to better understanding the complex relationships among aviation entities, to the recognition of importance and potential to design properly the airport and airline contract, and to the advancement of economic and public policy analysis of this sector.

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The Economics of Airport Operations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-497-2

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Paolo Beria, Antonio Laurino and Maria Nadia Postorino

In the last decades, low-cost carriers (LCCs) have generated several changes in the air market for both passengers and airports. Mainly for regional airports, LCCs have…

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In the last decades, low-cost carriers (LCCs) have generated several changes in the air market for both passengers and airports. Mainly for regional airports, LCCs have represented an important opportunity to improve their connectivity levels and passenger traffic. Furthermore, many regional airports have become key factors to regenerate the local economy by improving accessibility and stimulating several markets, such as tourism. However, the relationship between LCCs and airports is rather complex and the outcomes not always predictable. In order to analyze and understand better such relationship and its outcomes, this chapter discusses the main underlying factors identified in: relation with the regional air market (secondary/primary airports), balance of power (dominated/non-dominated airports), and industrial organization (bases/non-bases). Starting from the proposed Relative Closeness Index, which combines yearly airport passengers and distance between airport pairs, a large sample of European airports is analyzed. Then, a smaller sub-sample – which includes selected, significant case studies referring to mid-sized airports – is discussed in detail. Among the main findings, airports sharing their catchment area with others are in a very risky position, due to the potential mobility of LCCs, while geographically isolated airports in good catchment areas can better counterbalance the power of carriers.

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The Economics of Airport Operations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-497-2

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Book part

Dan Mahoney and Wesley W. Wilson

Airline travel is composed of business and nonbusiness travelers, each with different preferences that give rise to differences in demand elasticities and substitution not…

Abstract

Airline travel is composed of business and nonbusiness travelers, each with different preferences that give rise to differences in demand elasticities and substitution not only across airlines but also airports. In this study, we develop and estimate a model of airline wherein consumers choose which airports and airline to use that allows for unobserved differences between travelers (e.g., business and nonbusiness travelers). The results point to the role that airports themselves play in the ultimate selection of a flight, and that there are strong interactive effects between the airlines’ networks and the consumers’ preferences across airports.

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The Economics of International Airline Transport
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-639-2

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Jia Yan, Xiaowen Fu, Tae Hoon Oum and Kun Wang

This chapter reviews the key results obtained in previous studies of airline mergers. It is found that the effect of mergers on airfares is dependent on the network…

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This chapter reviews the key results obtained in previous studies of airline mergers. It is found that the effect of mergers on airfares is dependent on the network configurations of merging airlines. Fare increases are frequently observed on overlapped routes. However, if the networks of two merging airlines are complementary, the expanded network after the merger leads to cost savings, increase in travel options, and improvement in service quality. Therefore, in a deregulated market, with few entry barriers, relaxing merger regulations is likely to improve welfare. However, most welfare evaluations do not incorporate quality changes or dynamic competition effects. Empirical investigations are primarily ex post analysis of mergers that have already passed antitrust reviews. The relationship between market concentration and welfare might be nonlinear and market specific. Therefore, airline mergers and alliances should be reviewed case by case. Methodological improvements are needed in future studies to control for the effects of complicating factors inherent in ex post evaluations.

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Airline Efficiency
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-940-4

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Patrick McCarthy

This research estimates a multi-product flexible cost function of airport variable costs. Data for the analysis are a panel of 50 airports from 1996 to 2008. Output…

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This research estimates a multi-product flexible cost function of airport variable costs. Data for the analysis are a panel of 50 airports from 1996 to 2008. Output includes domestic and international departures, non-aeronautical operating revenues, and the number of transport workload units, where a workload unit is a passenger or the equivalent of a 220 pound packet of cargo. The quasi-fixed factor is the equivalent number of 10,000′ × 150′ runways at an airport. After correcting for first-order serial correlation, the analysis finds that airports operate under constant returns to runway utilization and multi-product decreasing returns to scale, production technology is consistent with product specific returns to capacity utilization and anti-complementarity across outputs, and general airport operations have input substitution possibilities with personnel and contractual repair/maintenance inputs. The study also finds 1.05% technology progress over the sample period, due to strong growth prior to 2001, with similar productivity growth rates for large and medium hubs.

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Airline Economics in Asia
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-566-3

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