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Aviation infrastructure performance and airline cost: a statistical cost estimation approach

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  • Hansen, Mark M.
  • Gillen, David
  • Djafarian-Tehrani, Reza
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    Abstract

    The relationship between the performance of the US National Airspace System (NAS) and airline costs is examined by estimating airline cost functions that include NAS performance metrics as arguments, using quarterly data for 10 US domestic airlines. Performance metrics that vary by airline and quarter are developed by applying principal component analysis to seven underlying variables, including average delay, delay variance, and the proportion of flights that is cancelled. This analysis reveals that variation in the seven variables can be adequately captured by three or fewer factors, which we term NAS performance factors. If three factors are used, they can be interpretted as "delay", "variability", and "disruption", the latter two of which are merged into a single "irregularity" factor in the two-factor model. Cost function estimation results confirm the anticipated link between NAS performance and airline cost. In the cost models with two and three performance factors, the irregularity and disruption factors are found to have the strongest cost impacts. These results challenge the prevailing assumption that delay reduction is the most important benefit from NAS enhancements. Using the estimated cost models, we predict airline cost savings from substantially improved NAS performance in the range $1-4 billion annually.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 1-23

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:transe:v:37:y:2001:i:1:p:1-23

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    Cited by:
    1. Ryerson, Megan S., 2010. "Optimal Intercity Transportation Services with Heterogeneous Demand and Variable Fuel Price," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt8696z26t, University of California Transportation Center.
    2. Zou, Bo & Elke, Matthew & Hansen, Mark & Kafle, Nabin, 2014. "Evaluating air carrier fuel efficiency in the US airline industry," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 306-330.
    3. André De Palma & Fay Dunkerley & Stef Proost, 2005. "Asymmetric Duopoly in Space - what policies work?," ERSA conference papers ersa05p494, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Romero-Hernandez, Manuel & Salgado, Hugo, 2005. "Economies of Density, Network Size and Spatial Scope in the European Airline Industry," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt9609m6hs, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    5. Zou, Bo & Hansen, Mark, 2012. "Flight delays, capacity investment and social welfare under air transport supply-demand equilibrium," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 965-980.
    6. Zou, Bo & Hansen, Mark, 2012. "Impact of operational performance on air carrier cost structure: Evidence from US airlines," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 1032-1048.
    7. Goh, Mark & Yong, Jongsay, 2006. "Impacts of code-share alliances on airline cost structure: A truncated third-order translog estimation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 835-866, July.

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