Benchmarking airports from a managerial perspective
Benchmarking airports is currently popular both in the academic literature and in practice but has proved rather problematic due to the heterogeneity inherent in any reasonably sized dataset. Most studies either treat the airport production technology as a black box, or separate the terminal and airside activities, assessing them individually. In this article we analyze airports as a single unit due to the direct complementarities, thus avoiding the artificial separation of inputs. Using data envelopment analysis (DEA), we open the black box in which a network describes the production process, thus demonstrating the sequential effects that separate final from intermediate outputs, including those under partial managerial control and those that are known to be non-discretionary. To further improve the benchmarking process, we identify appropriate peers for a case study of 43 European airports over 10 years, through a restricted reference mechanism according to pre-defined characteristics. Compared to basic DEA models, the results of the proposed structure provide more meaningful benchmarks with comparable peer units and target values that are potentially achievable in the medium term. By identifying each unit's individual reference set, unique outliers influence the performance measurement less severely than occurs under basic DEA. In addition, the formulations produce an implementation path that moves the airport towards the Pareto frontier gradually, taking into account the regulatory and business environment in which the unit is located.
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Volume (Year): 41 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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