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Congestion at airports: the economics of airport expansions

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  • Jeffrey P. Cohen
  • Cletus C. Coughlin

Abstract

Congestion and subsequent delays have been prevalent in many U.S. airports in recent years. A common response to congestion, championed by many community leaders, is to expand capacity by constructing new runways and terminals. Airport expansions are costly, complex, and controversial. We begin by using basic economic theory to analyze congestion at those airports that are part of an air transportation system. Next, we describe how benefit-cost analysis is used to assess the desirability of airport expansions. Many of the key points are illustrated in the context of Lambert–St. Louis International Airport. We also examine two especially controversial aspects of expansions—the displacement of people and businesses and the effects of airport noise. Finally, we discuss congestion-based pricing of landing fees as an alternative to airport expansions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its journal Review.

Volume (Year): (2003)
Issue (Month): May ()
Pages: 9-26

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2003:i:may:p:9-26:n:v.85no.3

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Related research

Keywords: Airports ; Economic development;

References

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  1. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
  2. Elizabeth E. Bailey, 2002. "Aviation Policy: Past and Present," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 12-20, July.
  3. Barro, Robert J., 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogeneous Growth," Scholarly Articles 3451296, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Cohen, Jeffrey P. & Morrison Paul, Catherine J., 2003. "Airport infrastructure spillovers in a network system," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 459-473, November.
  2. Jeffrey P. Cohen & Cletus C. Coughlin & Lesli S. Ott, 2009. "Auctions as a vehicle to reduce airport delays and achieve value capture," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 569-588.

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