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Airline Alliances and Service Quality

Author

Listed:
  • Jan K. Brueckner
  • Ricardo Flores-Fillol

Abstract

Convenient scheduling, characterized by adequate flight frequency, is the main quality attribute for airline services. However, the effect of airline alliances on this important dimension of service quality has received almost no attention in the literature. This paper fills this gap by providing such an analysis in a model where flight frequency affects schedule delay and connecting layover time. While an alliance raises service quality when layover time has zero cost, the reverse occurs when layover time is costly. The source of this surprising result is that costly layovers eliminate the additive structure of the full trip price, which consists of the sum of the subfares plus the weighted sum of the reciprocal flight frequencies when layover cost is zero. The paper also shows that nonaligned carriers adjust frequencies to suit passenger preferences in business and leisure markets, while an alliance is less responsive to such preference differences. With hub-airport congestion, greater internalization by allied carriers tends to reduce frequency, but this force is not enough to overturn the positive alliance effect in the low-cost layover case.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan K. Brueckner & Ricardo Flores-Fillol, 2018. "Airline Alliances and Service Quality," CESifo Working Paper Series 7226, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7226
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp7226.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. de Palma, André & Ordás Criado, Carlos & Randrianarisoa, Laingo M., 2018. "When Hotelling meets Vickrey. Service timing and spatial asymmetry in the airline industry," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 88-106.
    3. Bilotkach, Volodymyr & Fageda, Xavier & Flores-Fillol, Ricardo, 2010. "Scheduled service versus personal transportation: The role of distance," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 60-72, January.
    4. Zhang, Anming & Zhang, Yimin, 2006. "Rivalry between strategic alliances," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 287-301, March.
    5. Brueckner, Jan K. & Van Dender, Kurt, 2008. "Atomistic congestion tolls at concentrated airports? Seeking a unified view in the internalization debate," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 288-295, September.
    6. Ricardo Flores-Fillol & Rafael Moner-Colonques, 2007. "Strategic Formation of Airline Alliances," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 41(3), pages 427-449, September.
    7. Jan K. Brueckner, 2002. "Airport Congestion When Carriers Have Market Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1357-1375, December.
    8. Orit Hassin & Oz Shy, 2004. "Code-sharing Agreements and Interconnections in Markets for International Flights," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 337-352, August.
    9. Jan K. Brueckner, 2004. "Network Structure and Airline Scheduling," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 291-312, June.
    10. Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2003. "Network Effects, Congestion Externalities, and Air Traffic Delays: Or Why Not All Delays Are Evil," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1194-1215, September.
    11. Volodymyr Bilotkach, 2007. "Airline Partnerships and Schedule Coordination," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 41(3), pages 413-425, September.
    12. Park, Jong-Hun & Zhang, Anming & Zhang, Yimin, 2001. "Analytical models of international alliances in the airline industry," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 865-886, November.
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    14. Bilotkach, Volodymyr & Fageda, Xavier & Flores-Fillol, Ricardo, 2013. "Airline consolidation and the distribution of traffic between primary and secondary hubs," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 951-963.
    15. Fageda, Xavier & Flores-Fillol, Ricardo, 2012. "Air services on thin routes: Regional versus low-cost airlines," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 702-714.
    16. Brueckner, Jan K. & Pai, Vivek, 2009. "Technological innovation in the airline industry: The impact of regional jets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 110-120, January.
    17. Volodymyr Bilotkach, 2005. "Price Competition between International Airline Alliances," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 39(2), pages 167-190, May.
    18. Brueckner, Jan K., 2001. "The economics of international codesharing: an analysis of airline alliances," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(10), pages 1475-1498, December.
    19. Fageda, Xavier & Flores-Fillol, Ricardo, 2012. "On the optimal distribution of traffic of network airlines," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1164-1179.
    20. Bilotkach, Volodymyr & Hüschelrath, Kai, 2012. "Airline alliances and antitrust policy: The role of efficiencies," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 76-84.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    service quality; alliance; double marginalization; congestion;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation
    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General

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