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Congestion and Market Structure in the Airline Industry

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Abstract

Empirical research on the relationship between market congestion and the market competitive level largely falsifies the positive relationship predicted by theoretical models. In this paper, I exploit the airline industry network structure and focus on the level of congestion during periods in which passengers cross-connect to their final destinations. About 70% of hub airport flights depart or land during these periods. The empirical analysis establishes a strong positive relationship. Furthermore, based on a simple theoretical model, I am able to quantify the potential time savings from eliminating congestion externalities and find that, on average, a flight can save 2 minutes of flight time at its departing airport and another 1.5 minutes at its destination airport. I also find that airlines choose to pad their schedule particularly on competitive routes, presumably to attract uninformed passengers. JEL classification: L93; R41;

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  • Itai Ater, 2007. "Congestion and Market Structure in the Airline Industry," Working Papers 07-28, NET Institute, revised Sep 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:0728
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pels, Eric & Verhoef, Erik T., 2004. "The economics of airport congestion pricing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 257-277, March.
    2. Brueckner, Jan K., 2005. "Internalization of airport congestion: A network analysis," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(7-8), pages 599-614, September.
    3. Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1990. "Economics of a bottleneck," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 111-130, January.
    4. Michael Mazzeo, 2003. "Competition and Service Quality in the U.S. Airline Industry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 22(4), pages 275-296, June.
    5. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-260, May.
    6. Basso, Leonardo J. & Zhang, Anming, 2007. "Congestible facility rivalry in vertical structures," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 218-237, March.
    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. Daniel, Joseph I. & Harback, Katherine Thomas, 2008. "(When) Do hub airlines internalize their self-imposed congestion delays?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 583-612, March.
    9. Zhang, Anming & Zhang, Yimin, 2006. "Airport capacity and congestion when carriers have market power," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 229-247, September.
    10. Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1993. "A Structural Model of Peak-Period Congestion: A Traffic Bottleneck with Elastic Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 161-179, March.
    11. Steven A. Morrison & Clifford Winston, 2007. "Another Look at Airport Congestion Pricing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1970-1977, December.
    12. Daniel, Joseph I. & Pahwa, Munish, 2000. "Comparison of Three Empirical Models of Airport Congestion Pricing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-38, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Congestion; Air Transportation;

    JEL classification:

    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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