Fare differences between Gulf carriers and incumbents
The Gulf carriers, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways benefit from their geographic centrality and the supportive policies put in place by their governments to develop their aviation industries. This provides them with cost-advantages over incumbent carriers. In this paper we investigated whether the incumbent carriers are still able to compete with the Gulf carriers on price. It was found that the incumbents and Gulf carriers offer similar fares in OD-markets where the carriers compete head-to-head with direct flights. In connecting markets where the incumbents and Gulf carriers both compete with indirect flights, the Gulf carriers appeared significantly cheaper, although the price difference has decreased since 2010. Whether this is the result of the incumbents reducing costs, increasing productivity or simply reducing their profit margin, requires further research. The results indicate that the incumbents are able to compete with the Gulf carriers on price in the OD-markets. In the connecting markets the incumbents have become more competitive.
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