Airlines' Privatisation in Europe: Fully versus Partial Divestiture
We study the experience of the three fully privatised European airlines: British Airways, Lufthansa and Iberia. All airlines have undergone a deep restructuring much before (and in view of) the privatisation, with the state bearing most of the related financial cost (especially in the cases of Lufthansa and British Airways), and have taken over (before, after or in the same year of the privatisation) their main domestic competitors. Following full privatisation, labour productivity (particularly for Iberia and Lufthansa) and profitability increase compared to other major European state-controlled airlines; production capacity grows compared to the pre-privatisation period, as well as average salaries (though reflecting the increased labour productivity). Preliminary evidences from stock returns show that investors do not seem require a premium for political risk to invest in shares of fully privatised airlines. In general, these results imply that government ownership in the airline industry can be detrimental, at least to firms’ efficiency, while full privatisation does not seem to expose private shareholders to significant political risk.
Volume (Year): 97 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (January-February)
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