Air Transport Liberalization
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Air Transport Liberalization

A Critical Assessment

Edited by Matthias Finger and Kenneth Button

This groundbreaking book offers a critical and wide-ranging assessment of the global air transport liberalization process over the past 40 years. This compilation of world experts on air transport economics, policy, and regulation is timely and significant, considering that air transport is currently facing a series of new challenges due to technological changes, the emergence of new markets, and increased security concerns.
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Chapter 15: Market instability

Kenneth Button

Abstract

This chapter looks at the considerable fluctuations in the various industries that constitute the aviation sector. It focuses on the nature of the institutional changes that have taken place since the late 1970s and the outcomes of the liberalization of the airlines and, albeit to a lesser extent, airports and air traffic control. While the overall pattern has been one of net social gains, these have not been with wild swings over time in the financial stability of the industries involved. This has been, in the case of airlines, accompanied by bankruptcies and consolidation of large suppliers. The argument presented is that while external factors, and especially global shifts in demand and in fuel prices, have played a role, the pattern is also indicative of the scheduled competitive airline market being characterized by an empty core problem.

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