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Technological innovation in the airline industry: The impact of regional jets

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  • Brueckner, Jan K.
  • Pai, Vivek

Abstract

This paper explores the impact of the regional jet (RJ), an important new technological innovation in the airline industry, on service patterns and service quality. The paper's theoretical analysis predicts that the frequency advantage of RJs over jets, a consequence of their small size, should have led to the emergence of point-to-point (PP) service in thin markets where such service was previously uneconomical. However, the evidence contradicts this prediction, showing that markets attracting new PP service by RJs had demographic characteristics similar to those of markets that already had jet PP service or attracted it after 1996. Additional descriptive evidence shows that RJs were used to provide service on a large number of new hub-and-spoke (HS) routes, and that they replaced discontinued jet and turboprop service on many such routes, as well as supplementing continuing jet service. When replacement or supplementation by RJs occurred, passengers benefited from better service quality via higher flight frequencies.

Suggested Citation

  • Brueckner, Jan K. & Pai, Vivek, 2009. "Technological innovation in the airline industry: The impact of regional jets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 110-120, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:27:y:2009:i:1:p:110-120
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    1. Curtis Eaton, B. & Lipsey, Richard G., 1989. "Product differentiation," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 723-768 Elsevier.
    2. Dresner, Martin & Windle, Robert & Zhou, Ming, 2002. "Regional jet services: supply and demand," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(5), pages 267-273.
    3. Jan K. Brueckner, 2004. "Network Structure and Airline Scheduling," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 291-312, June.
    4. Berry, Steven & Reiss, Peter, 2007. "Empirical Models of Entry and Market Structure," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    5. Babikian, Raffi & Lukachko, Stephen P. & Waitz, Ian A., 2002. "The historical fuel efficiency characteristics of regional aircraft from technological, operational, and cost perspectives," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(6), pages 389-400.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fageda, Xavier, 1975- & Flores-Fillol, Ricardo, 2010. "Technology, business models and network structure in the airline industry," Working Papers 2072/151552, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:eee:touman:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:465-471 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Fukui, Hideki, 2012. "Do carriers abuse the slot system to inhibit airport capacity usage? Evidence from the US experience," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 1-6.
    4. Gianmaria Martini & Davide Scotti, 2009. "Potere di mercato e distribuzione dei profitti nella filiera del trasporto aereo," Working Papers 0906, Department of Economics and Technology Management, University of Bergamo.
    5. Pai, Vivek, 2010. "On the factors that affect airline flight frequency and aircraft size," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 169-177.
    6. Chen, Yongmin & Gayle, Philip, 2013. "Mergers and Product Quality: Evidence from the Airline Industry," MPRA Paper 51238, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Joan Calzada & Xavier Fageda, 2012. "Discounts and Public Service Obligations in the Airline Market: Lessons from Spain," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 40(4), pages 291-312, June.
    8. Fageda, Xavier & Flores-Fillol, Ricardo, 2012. "Air services on thin routes: Regional versus low-cost airlines," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 702-714.
    9. Pai, Vivek, 2009. "On the Factors that Affect Airline Flight Frequency and Aircraft Size," 50th Annual Transportation Research Forum, Portland, Oregon, March 16-18, 2009 207722, Transportation Research Forum.
    10. Martini, Gianmaria & Manello, Alessandro & Scotti, Davide, 2013. "The influence of fleet mix, ownership and LCCs on airports’ technical/environmental efficiency," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 37-52.
    11. Fageda, Xavier & Flores-Fillol, Ricardo, 2012. "On the optimal distribution of traffic of network airlines," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1164-1179.
    12. Cohen, Maurie J., 2010. "Destination unknown: Pursuing sustainable mobility in the face of rival societal aspirations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 459-470, May.
    13. Rupp, Nicholas G., 2009. "Do carriers internalize congestion costs? Empirical evidence on the internalization question," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 24-37, January.
    14. Calzada, Joan & Fageda, Xavier, 2014. "Competition and public service obligations in European aviation markets," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 104-116.
    15. Gillen, David & Hasheminia, Hamed & Jiang, Changmin, 2015. "Strategic considerations behind the network–regional airline tie ups – A theoretical and empirical study," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 93-111.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regional jets Airlines;

    JEL classification:

    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation

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