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Challenges to domestic air freight in Australia: Evaluating air traffic markets with gravity modelling


  • Alexander, David W.
  • Merkert, Rico


With two of the busiest air traffic corridors globally, Sydney-Melbourne (SYD-MEL) and Sydney-Brisbane (SYD-BNE), very liberal open skies agreements, and the world's most isolated large city in Perth, air freight in Australia should be destined for substantial growth, but has in contrast to other regions such as the US not yet materialised. This paper identifies challenges surrounding domestic air freight markets in Australia and compares the provision of road vs air freight services utilising gravity modelling methods. Our findings suggest the impedance of domestic air freight services in Australia is greater for regional areas between the primary cities (such as Canberra, between Sydney and Melbourne) than remoter areas (such as Cairns in Northern Australia). Our models show further that in addition to distance, air freight capacity on any of our analysed routes is despite being demand-pulled in terms of GDP dependency significantly attuned to factors at both the origin (in particular domestic trade capability, i.e. manufacturing and logistics) and destination.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander, David W. & Merkert, Rico, 2017. "Challenges to domestic air freight in Australia: Evaluating air traffic markets with gravity modelling," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 41-52.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jaitra:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:41-52
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jairtraman.2016.11.008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James Feyrer, 2009. "Trade and Income -- Exploiting Time Series in Geography," NBER Working Papers 14910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    6. Lux, Matthias, 2011. "Defying Gravity: The Substitutability of Transportation in International Trade," MPRA Paper 36395, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2012.
    7. Matsumoto, Hidenobu, 2007. "International air network structures and air traffic density of world cities," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 269-282, May.
    8. Arvis, Jean-François & Shepherd, Ben, 2011. "The air connectivity index : measuring integration in the global air transport network," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5722, The World Bank.
    9. Piermartini, Roberta & Rousová, Linda, 2008. "Liberalization of air transport services and passenger traffic," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2008-06, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    10. Merkert, Rico & Ploix, Boris, 2014. "The impact of terminal re-organisation on belly-hold freight operation chains at airports," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 78-84.
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