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The Convergence of Low-Cost and Legacy Airline Operations

Kevin E. Henrickson and Wesley Wilson ()

A chapter in Airline Efficiency, 2016, vol. 5, pp 355-375 from Emerald Publishing Ltd

Abstract: Abstract Following deregulation, the airline industry has dramatically changed. In addition to numerous mergers and bankruptcies, the industry has also seen an influx of small, “low-cost” carriers who offer differentiated competition to the traditional legacy carriers. These low-cost carriers traditionally avoided the hub-and-spoke networks of legacy carriers, offering point-to-point service often on adjacent routes. However, events of the past 10–15 years, including the terrorist attacks of 9/11, rising fuel prices, and economic recessions, have led to a shift in the operations of these airlines. The legacy carriers have unbundled many of their services, most notably through baggage fees, seeking to improve efficiency. Low-cost carriers have expanded services into major airports and have shifted to more direct route level competition with the legacy carriers as they use their cost efficiency advantages to their advantage. In this chapter, we examine airport and route choice decision to serve by legacy and low-cost carriers over time. Our descriptive and econometric models point to convergence of operations in terms of the airports and routes that low-cost and legacy carriers serve, with the implication that the current competitive atmosphere improves efficiency as the distinctions between legacy and low-cost carriers have become less obvious.

Keywords: Low cost; legacy; airport; route; convergence; L93; L1; R41; L91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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