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Developing a low-cost airline in a semi-protected regime: Comparing China to Europe and the US

Frédéric Dobruszkes and Jiaoe Wang

ULB Institutional Repository from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: The US and Europe have long experienced the expansion of low-cost carriers (LCCs) in the aftermath of extensive aviation liberalisation offering free access to the market for US and European airlines, respectively. More recently, following the opening of the progressive aviation market, China has also emerged as a country that welcomed LCCs to some extent, but has not subscribed to full liberalisation. In this context, our paper compares China’s largest LCC, Spring Airlines, to the largest European (Ryanair and EasyJet) and US (Southwest and JetBlue) low-cost airlines. Comparisons in this context include volumes supplied, spatial coverage, network geography and financial results. This comparative study found that Spring Airlines is still a small/emerging LCC compared to the European and US giants and in terms of China’s potential market. This is notably due to the lack of whole free access to the market and trunk routes that are still protected to some extent in favour of the Big Three in China. However, Spring uses its production means in an efficient way and generates good financial results, especially compared to those of China’s Big Three airlines. Finally, Spring appears to be a composite case rather than a duplicate of a reference LCC.

Keywords: Airline networks; Aviation liberalisation; China; Low-cost carrier (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-04-25
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-tre
Note: SCOPUS: ar.j
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Published in: Journal of transport geography (2019) v.77,p.48-58

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