Do High-speed Trains Really Promote Interconnected Airports?
A Chi, LET - Laboratoire d'Economie des Transports, FR
High-speed train stations in airports? Twenty years ago, this question would be rapidly cut short, for the reason that trains were associated as aeroplanes? opponents. Nowadays, this non-sense question has turned into a fundamental issue for airports. In Europe, the last few decades have seen many airports get interconnected with the high-speed railways network. Beyond the competition, airports have taken into consideration the advantages of high-speed train to develop news travel solutions. More over, with the increase of international traffics, the competition becomes more and more severe between the main European plate-forms to keep and to develop their hubs position. Do high-speed trains really promote airports? If the advantages of high-speed trains are easy to hand over, it is actually more difficult to assert that interconnected airports are comparatively more competitive than non-interconnected ones. The paper tries to give an overview of the question 10 years after the first interconnections between airports and high-speed trains observed in France.
At first, it may be important to go back to the basics of the relationship between high-speed trains and aeroplanes. A few decades ago, the development of high-speed train services was undeniably associated with a decline of the air traffic between the two cities connected by train. In France, the figures shows a important loss of air traffic between Paris and Lyon as the TGV join the two cities in two hours travel. The same splits of passenger have been observed recently with for the TGV line between Paris and Marseille. For point to point travel on short distance, the high-speed train services are more competitive for many reasons [1.1.].
However, despite the presence of a high-speed train line, air services are still maintained. Companies have thus upheld low rental lines to transport transit passengers to their hub. In addition to it, these services are constrained in time, requiring first-class slots. Therefore, why not extend the transfer on rail to long distance passengers in transit? News solutions of travels can be proposed combined an train access to the hub, or a terminal transfer from the hub by train. These intermodal solutions may benefit, in specific cases, both to airports, railway operators and air travel companies [1.2.].
More over, the air-rail intermodality is one of the next decades? fundamental transport issues for the different european countries. The continual increase of air travel traffic is particularly important for international travels, where a european competition does exist between the main hubs. The different european countries are aware to benefit of the important economic impacts of the air traffic increase [1.3.].
To go further these statements, the paper tries to highlight in witch specific cases airports can expect a potential gains of a high-speed train interconnection. Part 1.1. shows that the connection of infrastructures is not sufficient. The flights? characteristics proposed by the airport are also keys. The last necessity deals with the quality of service. The paper will describe two intermodal products: TGV-Air developed by SNCF for Roissy Charles de Gaulle and Airrail developed by LUFTHANSA and DB for Frankfort. Therefore, only main hub seems to be able to expect higher potentials of intermodality on long travel than the loss of passenger on point to point short travel [2.1.].
The comparison between the contrasted situations of two interconnected airports of Roissy Charles de Gaulle and Lyon Saint Exupery shows that all the conditions hang out in part 2.1. are important for the interconnection success. A analyse of the traffic of the two TGV stations shows that the interconnection of infrastructures in Lyon Saint Exupery airport has not been accorded with the others conditions [2.2.].
In final, the transfer from planes to train can also have positive effects by using fewer slots or by rationalising the airline?s products. The capacity created can be reinvest in other development projects. High-speed train accessibility can thus be a strategic issue for overcrowded airports by generating more development possibilities. It is although more difficult to quantify the additional traffic generated. The paper proposes an examination of global traffic figures in the main european plate-forms (Paris, London, Frankfort, Amsterdam, Brussels, Lyon, Madrid and others) in the last decade. A first analysis shows a correlation between the traffic increase and the level of rail interconnection. But this last conclusion has to be more investigated [2.3.].
For conclusion, the paper suggests that the interconnection with high-speed train can promote only the biggest airports. In a european competition, high-speed train interconnection can expand the airport market area and made a spatial split from other airports. Overall, the high-speed train interconnection can also be a part of the solution of the imperative expansion of plate-forms and companies to cope up with the international air travel demand growth.
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