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Leasing and profitability: Empirical evidence from the airline industry

Sylvain Bourjade (), Regis Huc and Muller-Vibes, Catherine

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 2017, vol. 97, issue C, 30-46

Abstract: In this paper, we empirically measure the impact of aircraft leasing choices on airlines financial performance. We use public data on 73 airlines operating worldwide over the period 1996–2011. In estimating the impact of leasing on profitability, we control for potential endogeneity by applying robust instrumental variables estimation, while introducing a set of individual and macroeconomic factors. Our results are threefold. First, we identify a non-monotonic and concave effect of leasing on an airline’s profit margin, suggesting decreasing marginal returns to leasing in this sector. This is an original finding for the industry. We also derive a confidence interval for the optimal level of leasing. Second, we show that the impact of leasing on an airline’s operating profit is stronger for Low Cost Carriers than for Full Cost Carriers: deviating from the optimal level of leasing might be more harmful for a LCC than for a legacy carrier. Finally, we analyze how an airline’s experience affects the relationship between leasing and profitability.

Keywords: Leasing; Performance; Profit; Airline Industry (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C26 G32 L93 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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