Race to the bottom or swimming upstream: Performance analysis of US airlines

Data envelopment analysis is used to examine inter-temporal and peer group airline efficiency. Results for the US for 1985-2006 indicate that airline performance is converging over time. In particular, airlines inter-temporal inefficiency peaked earlier and then converged. Furthermore, using Tobit specifications it is seen that while demand intensity matters less in determining airlines inter-temporal inefficiency, their influence is stronger in determining peer group inefficiency. Block time, a representative of operational factors, tends to negatively impact airlines efficiency by imposing burdens on airline operations. Among the structural cost and revenue factors, fuel cost tends to affect inter-temporal inefficiency more robustly than it does to peer group efficiency. Labor pay tends to reduce inefficiency in case of inter-temporal while increasing peer group inefficiency. The events of September 11th had little or no impact on inter-temporal inefficiency but tended to reduce peer group inefficiency in a significant way. Finally, airlines efficiency tends to be robustly affected by block hours; reducing them increases efficiency.


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  • Accession Number: 01140871
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 29 2009 9:03AM