Price vs. quantity-based approaches to airport congestion management
This paper analyzes price and quantity-based approaches to management of airport congestion, using a model where airlines are asymmetric and internalize congestion. Under these circumstances, optimal congestion tolls are differentiated across carriers, and a uniformity requirement on airport charges (as occurs when slots are sold or tolls are uniform) distorts carrier flight choices. Flight volumes tend to be too low for large carriers and too high for small carriers. But quantity-based regimes, where the airport authority allocates a fixed number of slots via free distribution or an auction, lead carriers to treat total flight volume (and thus congestion) as fixed, and this difference generates an efficient outcome as long as the number of slots is optimally chosen.
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