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Exchange rate changes and the cost competitiveness of international airlines: The Aviation Trade Weighted Index

Peter Forsyth and Larry Dwyer

Research in Transportation Economics, 2010, vol. 26, issue 1, 12-17

Abstract: Discussions of how changes in exchange rates impact on international airlines tend to be ambivalent. In this paper, it is shown that the relative cost competitiveness of an international airline will decline when there is an exchange rate appreciation in its home country - as will be the case for other tradable goods and services. The extent to which this happens depends on which countries the prices of the inputs are set in and also on which countries' airlines it is closely competing with. The impact is greater if there is an appreciation relative to those countries whose airlines the home airlines are closely competing with. In the trade literature, this is recognised in the Trade Weighted Index of exchange rates, which weights exchanges rates according to their importance in a country's trade flows. In this paper, an Airline Trade Weighted Index is developed - the weights for this index depend on airline traffic and revenues on routes to and from a country. The ATWI is calculated for Australian international airlines, and it indicates that there has been a significant loss of competitiveness in recent years, due to the appreciation of the Australian dollar relative to currencies of key airline competitor countries.

Keywords: Exchange; rates; Cost; competitiveness; Trade; Weighted; Index; Airline; competition; Tradable; services; Airline; input; prices (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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