Airline Pricing under Different Market Conditions: Evidence from European Low-Cost Carriers
Traditional theories of airline pricing maintain that fares monotonically increase as fewer seats remain available on a flight. A fortiori, this implies a monotonically increasing temporal profile of fares. In this paper, we exploit the presence of drops in offered fares over time as an indicator of an active yield management intervention by two main European Low-Cost Carriers observed daily during the period June 2002 - June 2003. Our results indicate that yield management is effective in raising a flight's load factor. Furthermore, yield management interventions are more intense, and generate a stronger impact, on more competitive routes: one possible interpretation is that a reduction in competitive pressure allows the carriers to adopt a more standardized approach to pricing. Similarly, we find that yield management interventions are more effective in raising the load factor on routes where the customer mix is more heterogenous (i.e., it includes passengers traveling for leisure, business and for family matters). On markets with homogeneous customer base, no robust yield management effect was observed.
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