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RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS: WORKING PAPERS

Liberalization of Air Transport Services and Passenger Traffic

Using a gravity-type model to explain bilateral passenger traffic, this paper estimates the impact of liberalizing air transport services on air passenger flows for a sample of 184 countries.

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We find robust evidence of a positive and significant relationship between the volumes of traffic and the degree of liberalization of the aviation market. An increase in the degree of liberalization from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile increases traffic volumes between countries linked by a direct air service by approximately 30 per cent. In particular, the removal of restrictions on the determination of prices and capacity, cabotage rights and the possibility for airlines other than the flag carrier of the foreign country to operate a service are found to be the most traffic-enhancing provisions of air service agreements. The results are robust to the use of different measures of the degree of liberalization as well as the use of different estimation techniques.

No: ERSD-2008-06

Authors:
Roberta Piermartini — WTO
Linda Rousová — Munich Graduate School of Economics

Manuscript date: December 2008

Key Words:

bilateral air service agreements, air transport, air service trade liberalization, gravity model, passenger traffic, open skies agreements

JEL classification numbers:

F15, L93

 
  

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This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. This paper represents the opinions of the author, and is the product of professional research. It is not meant to represent the position or opinions of the WTO or its Members, nor the official position of any staff members. Any errors are the fault of the author. Copies of working papers can be requested from the divisional secretariat by writing to: Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organization, Rue de Lausanne 154, CH 1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland. Please request papers by number and title.

Download paper in pdf format (31 pages, 251KB)