The break-up of BAA and the blocked takeover of Bratislava airport by the competing Vienna airport have brought the issue of airport competition to the top of the agenda for air transport policy in Europe.
A new book from Ashgate looks at this issue, and has been arousing quite a bit of interest. The book is Airport Competition: the European Experience, and it’s edited by Peter Forsyth, David Gillen, Jürgen Müller and Hans-Martin Niemeier.
The volume reviews the current state of the debate and asks whether airport competition is strong enough to effectively limit market power. It provides evidence on how travellers choose an airport, thereby altering its competitive position, and on how airports compete in different regions and markets. The book also discusses the main policy implications of mergers and subsidies.
‘This is a very timely book addressing issues that have now emerged as critical ones for air transport regulators and policy-makers. It is also a comprehensive compilation of scholarly writings on airport competition by many of the best people in air transport economics. The editors have done an excellent job of organizing the contributions around several major themes and ensuring quality and internal consistency. Despite its focus on European airports, this book is of universal interest.’ Amedeo R. Odoni, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
‘Forsyth et al have produced a timely and important contribution to the evidence base and thinking on this critical issue. Regulators and governments should take note as they consider the effectiveness of competition in the airports sector. It can and does exist. The key question is can it be strong enough to constrain the abuse of market power? The answer, based on this excellent and balanced set of papers, is quite rightly presented as not being black and white but requiring hard analysis on a case by case basis. The authors show that there are many important questions still to be answered before we can, in practice, determine where consumers can rely on competition to discipline the market for airport services.’ Brian Pearce, Chief Economist, IATA