IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The influence of aircraft size on airline operating costs


  • Nicol, David J


Many previous studies have shown that there are probably no economies of scale in the airline industry directly attributable to firm size. Scale effects within the firm, however, have often been suggested, particularly for example with regard to such firm-size independent factors as market density, route length, or aircraft size. The focus of this paper is the effect of aircraft size on an airline's unit cost. Though much of the previous evidence appears to be at variance with a priori expectations, the empirical results presented here suggest that most of the divergence is probably due to a conceptually inadequate basis of comparison. Appropriately compared, actual unit costs were generally found to decrease at a decreasing rate with aircraft size, though as the route length parameter is reduced some mild diseconomies appeared. Of further interest, the behavior with size of the underlying cost components was found to be quite diverse, the (far from uniform) decreases with size in unit crew, fuel, and maintenance costs being offset somewhat by increases in unit capital costs, insurance plus other costs, and landing fees.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicol, David J, 1978. "The influence of aircraft size on airline operating costs," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 15-24.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:6:y:1978:i:1:p:15-24

    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.


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

    Cited by:

    1. Zuidberg, Joost, 2014. "Identifying airline cost economies: An econometric analysis of the factors affecting aircraft operating costs," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 86-95.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:jomega:v:6:y:1978:i:1:p:15-24. 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.