Competition for Connecting Traffic Between Hub Airports in Europe
DENNIS N P S, University of Westminster, UK
Hubbing strategies have become a cornerstone of airline operations since deregulation in the United states , enabling an airline to serve a large range of markets with a limited number of flights. In Europe, hub and spoke networks have existed for many ye
Hubbing strategies have become a cornerstone of airline operations since deregulation in the United states , enabling an airline to serve a large range of markets with a limited number of flights. In Europe, hub and spoke networks have existed for many years as a consequence of international boundaries and the restrictions they imposed on traffic rights. Nevertheless, the extent to which European airlines are taking advantage of these to carry connecting traffic differs greatly.
Whereas passengers making a direct flight often have little choice as to the airport used and typically only one or two carriers flying on the route, the situation is somewhat different for transfer traffic. The passenger flying from Hamburg to Los Angeles for example can choose between seven different hubs in Europe and the United States that provide a one-stop connecting service and a multiplicity of possible airlines. Even where direct flights exist, indirect routings can often still provide a worthwhile alternative in terms of fares or schedules.
For airport operators, connecting traffic offers the only real opportunity to grow beyond the traffic potential of their own local catchment area. In tram this supports a much wider range of services than would otherwise be possible with accompanying economic benefits (Small, 1995). Amsterdam Schiphol for example sees it as vital to the Dutch economy to become a 'malnport' (one of Europe's leading hubs) in the 21st century (Butterworth-Hayes, 1993).
This paper considers the extent to which hub airports in Europe compete for transfer traffic and the performance of the major airlines. The relationship with scheduling issues, airport facilities and geographical constraints is addressed. The implications of this for future developments are considered with particular reference to the shortage of runway capacity at many of Europe's major airports.
Association for European Transport