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Bo Zou, Irene Kwan, Mark Hansen, Dan Rutherford and Nabin Kafle

Air carriers and aircraft manufacturers are investing in technologies and strategies to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions. This chapter reviews related…

Abstract

Air carriers and aircraft manufacturers are investing in technologies and strategies to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions. This chapter reviews related issues to assess airline fuel efficiency and offers various empirical evidences from our recent work that focuses on the U.S. domestic passenger air transportation system. We begin with a general presentation of four methods (ratio-based, deterministic frontier, stochastic frontier, and data envelopment analysis) and three perspectives for assessing airline fuel efficiencies, the latter covering consideration of only mainline carrier operations, mainline–subsidiary relations, and airline routing circuity. Airline fuel efficiency results in the short run, in particular the correlations of the results from using different methods and considering different perspectives, are discussed. For the long-term efficiency, we present the development of a stochastic frontier model to investigate individual airline fuel efficiency and system overall evolution between 1990 and 2012. Insight about the association of fuel efficiency with market entry, exit, and airline mergers is also obtained.

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