Edited by Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox
Tony H. Grubesic and Timothy C. Matisziw INTRODUCTION Global networks, broadly conceptualized, manifest in a variety of ways. Perhaps the most tangible manifestations include infrastructure systems, such as the Internet (Graham and Marvin, 1996; Townsend, 2001; Malecki and Wei, 2009) or other large technical networks such as energy distribution grids (e.g. electricity, oil and gas) (Parsons, 1950; Overbye and Weber, 2000; Sadri and Volkov, 2004). While commercial airline networks share many of the same characteristics as other networked infrastructures, they are somewhat less permanent, changing with variations in consumer demand. This modest difference aside, airline networks and commercial air service continue to play a significant role in both regional economic development (Debbage and Delk, 2001; Grubesic, 2010) and the larger global economy (Smith and Timberlake, 1995; Derudder et al., 2007a). At the global level, several intriguing aspects of airline networks and their associated levels of service have emerged. With liberalization of the airline industry spreading throughout Europe, Asia, North America and elsewhere, there is increasing interest in the spatial and economic outcomes of markets open to competition. For example, in North America deregulation has generated more frequent service and higher passenger volumes to the most popular destinations (Goetz and Sutton, 1997).1 More importantly, competition on these routes has reduced average fares. Conversely, deregulation has exacerbated carrier financial instability, generated industry layoffs, reduced the overall quality of service, severely limited the frequency of flights to smaller places and increased their associated fares (Goetz and Vowles, 2009). Against this backdrop of...
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