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Airline Code-Share Alliances and Their Competitive Effects

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  • Philip G. Gayle

Abstract

Code-share alliances have become a prominent feature in the competitive landscape of the airline industry. However, policy makers are extremely hesitant to approve proposed code-share alliances when the potential partners’ route networks have significant overlap. The main concern is that an alliance may facilitate price collusion on partners’ overlapping routes. This article shows how policy makers can use a structural econometric framework to quantify the competitive effects of proposed code-share alliances, where potential alliance partners compete on overlapping routes in the prealliance industry. As an example, I apply the econometric model to the Delta/Continental/Northwest alliance. This proposed alliance was initially greeted with skepticism by the U.S. Department of Transportation owing to the potential partners’ unprecedented level of route network overlap. For the markets considered in my analyses, it appears as though the ultimate approval of the alliance by policy makers was justified.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip G. Gayle, 2007. "Airline Code-Share Alliances and Their Competitive Effects," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 781-819.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:50:y:2007:p:781-819
    DOI: 10.1086/519818
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Anming & Czerny, Achim I., 2012. "Airports and airlines economics and policy: An interpretive review of recent research," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 15-34.
    2. Alderighi, Marco & Gaggero, Alberto A. & Piga, Claudio A., 2015. "The effect of code-share agreements on the temporal profile of airline fares," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 42-54.
    3. Brueckner Jan K. & Picard Pierre M., 2013. "Airline Alliances, Carve-Outs and Collusion," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 211-227, June.
    4. Brueckner, Jan K. & Proost, Stef, 2010. "Carve-outs under airline antitrust immunity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 657-668, November.
    5. Gayle, Philip G. & Brown, Dave, 2014. "Airline strategic alliances in overlapping markets: Should policymakers be concerned?," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 243-256.
    6. Adler, Nicole & Hanany, Eran, 2016. "Regulating inter-firm agreements: The case of airline codesharing in parallel networks," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 31-54.
    7. Chun, So Yeon & Kleywegt, Anton J & Shapiro, Alexander, 2011. "Revenue management in resource exchange seller alliances," MPRA Paper 34657, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Chen, Yongmin & Gayle, Philip, 2013. "Mergers and Product Quality: Evidence from the Airline Industry," MPRA Paper 51238, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Goetz, Christopher F. & Shapiro, Adam Hale, 2012. "Strategic alliance as a response to the threat of entry: Evidence from airline codesharing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 735-747.
    10. Philip G. Gayle, 2008. "An Empirical Analysis of the Competitive Effects of the Delta/Continental/Northwest Code-Share Alliance," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 743-766, November.
    11. Stephen Martin, 2012. "Market Structure and Market Performance," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 40(2), pages 87-108, March.
    12. Du, Yan & McMullen, B. Starr & Kerkvliet, Joe R., 2008. "The economic impact of the ATA/Southwest Airlines code-share agreement," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 51-60.
    13. Adler, Nicole & Mantin, Benny, 2015. "Government and company contracts: The effect on service and prices in international airline markets," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 166-177.
    14. Gayle Philip G. & Wu Chi-Yin, 2014. "On the Extent to which the Presence of Intermediate-stop(s) Air Travel Products Influences the Pricing of Nonstop Air Travel Products," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(3), pages 355-395, September.
    15. Yimga, Jules O., 2017. "Airline code-sharing and its effects on on-time performance," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 76-90.
    16. Philip G. Gayle, 2013. "On the Efficiency of Codeshare Contracts between Airlines: Is Double Marginalization Eliminated?," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 244-273, November.
    17. Gayle, Philip G., 2007. "Is virtual codesharing a market segmenting mechanism employed by airlines?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 17-24, April.
    18. Ciliberto, Federico & Cook, Emily & Williams, Jonathan, 2017. "Network Structure and Consolidation in the U.S. Airline Industry, 1990-2015," MPRA Paper 83885, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Du, Yan & McMullen, B. Starr, 2015. "Is the Decision to Code-Share a Route Different for Virtual and Traditional Code-Share Arrangements?," Journal of the Transportation Research Forum, Transportation Research Forum, vol. 54(1).
    20. McMullen, B. Starr & Du, Yan, 2007. "The Economic Impact of the ATA/Southwest Airlines Code Share Alliance," 48th Annual Transportation Research Forum, Boston, Massachusetts, March 15-17, 2007 207914, Transportation Research Forum.

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