IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Australian airport regulation: Exploring the frontier


  • Littlechild, Stephen C.


In 2002 Australia removed its price freeze on major airports and instituted light-handed regulation including price monitoring. Internationally, this policy is at the frontier. In general it has worked well but there are concerns that it is ineffective in protecting against windfall gains for airports, that investment incentives are a weak link, that Sydney Airport has deferred investment and let service quality fall, and that airlines are still vulnerable to airport market power. These concerns do not justify re-imposition of price control but they require a method for addressing them. Airlines have proposed independent dispute resolution. Experience elsewhere suggests that concerns about this approach are unjustified, and that it would take light-handed regulation forward.

Suggested Citation

  • Littlechild, Stephen C., 2012. "Australian airport regulation: Exploring the frontier," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 50-62.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jaitra:v:21:y:2012:i:c:p:50-62
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jairtraman.2011.12.017

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Armstrong, Mark & Doyle, Chris & Vickers, John, 1996. "The Access Pricing Problem: A Synthesis," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 131-150, June.
    2. Zhongmin Wang, 2004. "Settling Utility Rate Cases: An Alternative Ratemaking Procedure," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 141-163, September.
    3. Productivity Commission, 2006. "Review of Price Regulation of Airports Services," Inquiry Reports, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia, number 40.
    4. Stephen Littlechild, 2009. "Stipulated settlements, the consumer advocate and utility regulation in Florida," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 96-109, February.
    5. Schuster, Dominic, 2009. "Australia's approach to airport charges: The Sydney Airport experience," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 121-126.
    6. Doucet, Joseph & Littlechild, Stephen, 2009. "Negotiated settlements and the National Energy Board in Canada," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4633-4644, November.
    7. Littlechild, Stephen, 2012. "The process of negotiating settlements at FERC," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 174-191.
    8. King, Stephen P. & Maddock, Rodney, 1999. "Light-handed regulation of access in Australia: negotiation with arbitration," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-22, March.
    9. Littlechild, Stephen, 2009. "The bird in hand: Stipulated settlements in the Florida electricity sector," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3-4), pages 276-287, September.
    10. Starkie, David, 2002. "Airport regulation and competition," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 63-72.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Christine Brandstätt & Gert Brunekreeft & Nele Friedrichsen, 2013. "The Need for More Flexibility in the Regulation of Smart Grids – Stakeholder Involvement," Bremen Energy Working Papers 0013, Bremen Energy Research.
    2. repec:eee:jaitra:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:63-71 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:jaitra:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:211-223 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:trapol:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:28-37 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Nele Friedrichsen & Christine Brandstätt & Gert Brunekreeft, 2014. "The need for more flexibility in the regulation of smart grids – stakeholder involvement," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 261-275, February.
    6. repec:eee:transa:v:112:y:2018:i:c:p:46-59 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Arblaster, Margaret, 2014. "The design of light-handed regulation of airports: Lessons from experience in Australia and New Zealand," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 27-35.
    8. repec:sgh:gosnar:y:2018:i:2:p:49-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Kratzsch, Uwe & Sieg, Gernot, 2012. "No need to regulate airports with predominantly non-aeronautical revenues," European Transport \ Trasporti Europei, ISTIEE, Institute for the Study of Transport within the European Economic Integration, issue 52, pages 1-7.
    10. repec:eee:transa:v:114:y:2018:i:pa:p:100-114 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Arblaster, Margaret, 2016. "Negotiate-arbitrate regulation of airport services: Twenty years of experience in Australia," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 27-38.
    12. repec:eee:trapol:v:71:y:2018:i:c:p:106-115 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Xiao, Yibin & Fu, Xiaowen & Zhang, Anming, 2016. "Airport capacity choice under airport-airline vertical arrangements," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 298-309.
    14. Yang, Hangjun & Fu, Xiaowen, 2015. "A comparison of price-cap and light-handed airport regulation with demand uncertainty," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 122-132.
    15. Kivits, Robbert & Charles, Michael B., 2015. "Aviation planning policy in Australia: Identifying frames of reference to support public decision making," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 102-111.
    16. Arblaster, Margaret & Hooper, Paul, 2015. "Light handed regulation–Can it play a role in the developing world?," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 32-41.
    17. Brown, Richard S., 2016. "Lobbying, political connectedness and financial performance in the air transportation industry," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 61-69.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jaitra:v:21:y:2012:i:c:p:50-62. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.