Some Speculations and Empirical Evidence on the Oligopolistic Behaviour of Competing Low-Cost Airlines
This paper reviews the theory of cost recovery and oligopoly with a view to advancing some judgements as to the way in which European low-cost airlines manage yield, depending upon the market morphology that applies. Routes with more than one operator in direct (at the same airport) competition or indirect (at an adjacent airport) competition will manage their yield in a manner that is traditional for their sector of the industry, but where this will be affected by the yield management process of the competitors. This paper draws on evidence of airline price setting when there is direct competition. It would seem that there is evidence of price leadership and more generally of a strong correlation between the fares of the differentiated product that the airlines offer in competition. © 2005 LSE and the University of Bath
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