Aviation in World Regions; New Facts & New Approaches



Aviation in World Regions; New Facts & New Approaches

Authors

P van de Coevering, H Gordijn, Netherlands Institute for Spatial Research, NL

Description

This paper aims to asses and describe changes in the air passenger network during the last decennium (1996-2005). Worldwide and regional changes in air transport supply and changes in airline network structure are taken into account.

Abstract

During the 1980s and 1990s, the worldwide air passenger transport sector has shown a continuous growth. The number of passengers has increased and, subsequently, the supply of air transport has risen. This growth has been influenced by several events. Firstly, the liberalization of the air transport market in the United States and Europe had an important impact on these developments. Secondly, in the new millennium the terrorist attack on the United States and the SARS epidemic in China led to a (temporary?) decline in the number of aircraft passengers. The air carriers had to cope with these developments in a more or less competitive market. This had a significant effect on the air transport network as a whole.

This paper aims to asses and describe changes in the air passenger network during the last decennium (1996-2005). Changes in air transport supply and changes in airline network structure are taken into account. Where possible, causes of these changes are identified. Previous studies also described development of air passenger networks in several ways. However, these were often regional orientated and comprised a limited time period. In this study, we try to asses developments on a world level, thereby analyzing regional differences.

This aim breaks down into the following research questions:
? How did the worldwide supply of airline transport change during the last decennium?
? To what extent did the structure of the airline transport network change?
? Are these worldwide phenomena or are there regional differences, and if so, where did growth and decline of airline transport supply take place?

To answer these questions, the Netherlands Institute for Spatial Research has obtained the OAG (Official Airline Guide) dataset comprising all worldwide flights for the consecutive years 1996-2005. The supply of air transport is described by the average frequency, number of destinations reached and total seat capacity. In addition, we look at aircraft types in service. Did the carriers start using higher capacity planes during the last decennium or is there a trend towards smaller airplanes? The structure of the airline network is described with a spatial concentration measure. This measure is based on the absolute difference in seat capacity between every possible airport pair in the airline network scaled to the number of airports in that network and the average seat capacity per airport. When the concentration index decreases, the seat capacity is more even spread over the entire network. A high index indicates that the supply of seat capacity is unevenly concentrated on a few large airports.

It is important to note that these datasets only contain scheduled passenger flights. Data on non-scheduled flights were not (sufficiently) available. Hence, this study does not take into account the rise of holiday charter flights. To a certain degree, this may imply an underestimation of air transport supply, especially on regional airports.

Publisher

Association for European Transport