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Cost competitiveness of major airlines: an international comparison

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  • Oum, Tae Hoon
  • Yu, Chunyan

Abstract

This paper compares unit cost competitiveness of the world's 22 major airlines over the 1986-93 period. First, a unit cost index for aggregate output is computed via a multilateral index procedure. A translog variable cost function is estimated and used to decompose the unit cost differentials into potential sources: input prices, network and output attributes, and efficiency. The results of the unit cost decomposition are used to construct a cost competitiveness indicator after removing the effects of network and output attributes. Our results for 1993 are: (a) Asian carriers (except Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways) were generally more cost competitive than the major U.S. carriers, mostly due to their substantially lower input prices; (b) Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways were over 50% less cost competitive than American Airlines mainly because of their high input prices; (c) major European carriers were 7% (British Airways)-42% (Scandinavian Airlines Systems) less cost competitive than American Airlines, because of higher input prices and lower efficiency; (d) among the U.S. carriers, American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta were similar in cost competitiveness, while Northwest and Continental enjoyed, respectively, 5 and 12% cost competitiveness over American Airlines; (e) exchange rate fluctuation has had considerable effects on the cost competitive position of Japan Airlines and Lufthansa.

Suggested Citation

  • Oum, Tae Hoon & Yu, Chunyan, 1998. "Cost competitiveness of major airlines: an international comparison," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 407-422, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:32:y:1998:i:6:p:407-422
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    Cited by:

    1. Clougherty, Joseph A. & Dresner, Martin & Oum, Tae H., 2001. "An empirical analysis of Canadian international air policy: effects of dual carrier designation and partial liberalization," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 219-230, July.
    2. Cui, Qiang & Kuang, Hai-bo & Wu, Chun-you & Li, Ye, 2013. "Dynamic formation mechanism of airport competitiveness: The case of China," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 10-18.
    3. Zou, Bo & Hansen, Mark, 2012. "Impact of operational performance on air carrier cost structure: Evidence from US airlines," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 1032-1048.
    4. Melo Filho, Cícero R. & Salgado, Lucia Helena & Sato, Renato Cesar & Oliveira, Alessandro V.M., 2014. "Modeling the effects of wage premiums on airline competition under asymmetric economies of density: A case study from Brazil," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 59-68.
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    6. Zou, Bo & Elke, Matthew & Hansen, Mark & Kafle, Nabin, 2014. "Evaluating air carrier fuel efficiency in the US airline industry," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 306-330.
    7. Li, Ye & Wang, Yan-zhang & Cui, Qiang, 2015. "Evaluating airline efficiency: An application of Virtual Frontier Network SBM," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 1-17.
    8. George E. Halkos & Nickolaos G. Tzeremes, 2015. "Measuring Seaports' Productivity: A Malmquist Productivity Index Decomposition Approach," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 49(2), pages 355-376, April.
    9. Li, Ye & Wang, Yan-zhang & Cui, Qiang, 2016. "Has airline efficiency affected by the inclusion of aviation into European Union Emission Trading Scheme? Evidences from 22 airlines during 2008–2012," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 8-22.
    10. Lee, Boon L. & Worthington, Andrew C., 2014. "Technical efficiency of mainstream airlines and low-cost carriers: New evidence using bootstrap data envelopment analysis truncated regression," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 15-20.
    11. Xu, Xin & Cui, Qiang, 2017. "Evaluating airline energy efficiency: An integrated approach with Network Epsilon-based Measure and Network Slacks-based Measure," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 274-286.
    12. Chang, Yu-Hern & Yeh, Chung-Hsing, 2001. "Evaluating airline competitiveness using multiattribute decision making," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 405-415, October.
    13. Delbari, Seyyed Ali & Ng, Siew Imm & Aziz, Yuhanis Abdul & Ho, Jo Ann, 2016. "An investigation of key competitiveness indicators and drivers of full-service airlines using Delphi and AHP techniques," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 23-34.
    14. Berrittella, Maria & La Franca, Luigi & Zito, Pietro, 2009. "An analytic hierarchy process for ranking operating costs of low cost and full service airlines," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 249-255.
    15. Oum, Tae Hoon & Fu, Xiaowen & Yu, Chunyan, 2005. "New evidences on airline efficiency and yields: a comparative analysis of major North American air carriers and its implications," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 153-164, March.
    16. Berghöfer, Britta & Lucey, Brian, 2014. "Fuel hedging, operational hedging and risk exposure — Evidence from the global airline industry," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 124-139.
    17. Barros, Carlos Pestana & Peypoch, Nicolas, 2009. "An evaluation of European airlines' operational performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 525-533, December.
    18. Low, Joyce M.W. & Lee, Byung Kwon, 2014. "Effects of internal resources on airline competitiveness," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 23-32.
    19. Lorincz, Szabolcs, 2006. "Cost structure and complementarity in U.S. Telecommunications, 1989-1999," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 285-302, September.
    20. Merkert, Rico & Hensher, David A., 2011. "The impact of strategic management and fleet planning on airline efficiency - A random effects Tobit model based on DEA efficiency scores," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 686-695, August.
    21. Vespermann, Jan & Wald, Andreas, 2011. "Much Ado about Nothing? – An analysis of economic impacts and ecologic effects of the EU-emission trading scheme in the aviation industry," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1066-1076.

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