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The impact of the current economic crisis on the geography of air traffic volumes: an empirical analysis


  • Frédéric Dobruszkes
  • Gilles Van Hamme


This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of air services dynamics during the recent economic crisis. Through a regression analysis, we show that at the country scale, the change in the supply of seats is highly dependent on economic growth, confirming the cyclical nature of the air sector. Hence the crisis of air services has much more affected the USA, Europe and Japan than the rest of the world. However, many countries deviate from this general trend. In a second step, using the existing literature, we explain some of these deviating figures. National specificities and airline strategies seem to influence the intensity of the crisis. We argue that the intensity of the crisis in the US is due to the structural oversupply of the air sector. Through other cases, especially the Middle East, we show that hubbing strategies might reduce the impact of the crisis, or at least make it less dependent upon local economic dynamics. In contrast with other authors, we found no positive impact of the share of low-cost carriers on the supply during the crisis, despite their success in some specific contexts like between Europe and Morocco.

Suggested Citation

  • Frédéric Dobruszkes & Gilles Van Hamme, 2011. "The impact of the current economic crisis on the geography of air traffic volumes: an empirical analysis," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/96228, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/96228

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    Cited by:

    1. Pacheco, Ricardo Rodrigues & Braga, Márcia Estrada & Fernandes, Elton, 2015. "Spatial concentration and connectivity of international passenger traffic at Brazilian airports," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 49-55.
    2. Zhang, Shengrun & Derudder, Ben & Witlox, Frank, 2013. "The impact of hub hierarchy and market competition on airfare pricing in US hub-to-hub markets," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 65-70.
    3. Shengrun Zhang & Ben Derudder & Frank Witlox, 2016. "Dynamics in the European Air Transport Network, 2003–9: An Explanatory Framework Drawing on Stochastic Actor-Based Modeling," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 643-663, June.
    4. repec:eee:jaitra:v:63:y:2017:i:c:p:17-33 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Itani, Nadine & O׳Connell, John F. & Mason, Keith, 2014. "A macro-environment approach to civil aviation strategic planning," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 125-135.
    6. Guillaume Burghouwt & Frédéric Dobruszkes, 2014. "Dossier: Institutions and skilled mobility. Guest Editors: Gery Nijenhuis & Maggi W.H. Leung," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 105(5), pages 604-621, December.
    7. Jenatabadi, Hashem Salarzadeh & Ismail, Noor Azina, 2014. "Application of structural equation modelling for estimating airline performance," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 25-33.


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