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Increasing the efficiency of multi-hub airline networks by means of flexible time-range tickets - An analysis of passenger acceptance, revenue potentials and implications on network design

Badura, Felix (2011) Increasing the efficiency of multi-hub airline networks by means of flexible time-range tickets - An analysis of passenger acceptance, revenue potentials and implications on network design. Doctoral thesis, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.

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Abstract

After the complete liberalization of the airline industry during the 1990s the industry has faced a rapid growth in passenger numbers. This has mainly been caused by the emergence of so-called Low Cost Carrier (LCC) that offer a simplified product (i.e. point-to-point flights without any frills) at a lower cost than traditional Network Carriers. Furthermore LCC also introduced a less differentiated pricing structure (Restriction Free Pricing) which forced competing network carriers to reduce the degree of price discrimination which they were able to practice until then in order to defend their market shares. This has led to a decrease of average yields, which resulted in difficulties for (smaller) Network Carriers to cover their fixed costs, related to the operation of a hub & spoke network. In this environment network airlines are looking for new revenue sources as well as further sources of cost reduction. This development has amplified the consolidation trend of the airline industry and led to the emergence of several multi-hub networks (e.g. Lufthansa runs hub-operation in Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Vienna). One way to leverage the fact that multi-hub networks allow several routings for one origin-destination city pair would be the introduction of flexible tickets, where the actual routing of the passenger is not defined at the moment of purchase but only a certain time prior to departure. This allows airlines to raise the load factor on their network by increasing the degree of overbooking which they currently practice by pooling the risk that more passengers arrive than there is capacity among several flights. Furthermore these tickets might allow network carriers to compete in the low-cost-airline segment without having to further reduce the price level of their regular product (with specified routing). The present dissertation examined possible designs of such a ticket and their impact on the acceptance by passengers by means of a choice based conjoint study among 356 travelers. The findings suggest that while 77.5% of leisure travelers are willing to accept flexible time-range tickets in their relevant set, only 56% of business travelers are considering using this kind of ticket. More particular the results also showed that business travelers are not willing to compromise on travel duration and departure times, and are subsequently willing to pay a premium for specified tickets. A market share simulation showed that depending on the selected product layout flexible time-range tickets are able to gain up to 60% market share when offered at a discount of up to 33% relative to traditional tickets. When it comes to the actual layout, the largest lever to increase the acceptance is to exclude connection flights from the potential set of flights. The results contribute to the young research area on flexible products by assessing the disutility which is experienced by customers with regard to particular product characteristics of flexible products. Furthermore the results aim at providing airline managers with a comprehensive overview of the possibilities which flexible time-range tickets bring along when it comes to increasing the load factor and thereby the revenues in a multi-hub network. (author's abstract)

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: airline yield management / consumer behaviour under uncertainty / airline network management / Luftverkehrsgesellschaft / Hub-and-Spoke-System / Netzwerkmanagement / Revenue Management / Verbraucherverhalten
Classification Codes: RVK QR 840
Divisions: Departments > Welthandel > Transportwirtschaft und Logistik > Kummer
Depositing User: Felix Badura
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2011 09:14
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2012 16:39
WU Online Catalog: http://onlinekatalog.wu.ac.at/F?func=find-b&reques...
URI: http://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/3198

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