Improving, expanding, and retaining commercial air service and attracting more passengers are goals for many airports. In multi-airport regions, these efforts are complicated by the fact that airlines and passengers have the additional choices made available by the other airports in the system. Air carrier service decisions are based on profitability, network/fleet considerations, competition, and perceptions of consumer behavior. Passengers select a particular airport based on air service schedule and reliability, airfare, accessibility, total travel time, and other factors. Airports that use promotional campaigns, air service studies, air service subsidies, and facility improvements to attract more air service and passengers may experience disappointing results if they do not understand the unique dynamics of a multi-airport region. In addition, there are many types of multi-airport systems. Some systems serve a metropolitan area while others serve an entire region or state. Some have a dominant airport, while others have airports with similar levels of activity. Some systems have airports operated by a single entity, while in other systems, each airport is under separate control. Research is needed to help airports and their stakeholders understand the dynamics of airline and passenger decision making in multi-airport regions. This research will ultimately help set realistic air service and passenger activity expectations, which, in turn, will help focus limited resources on improving, expanding, and retaining commercial air service.
The objective of this research is to assist airports and their stakeholders to better understand the factors that drive airline service decisions and passenger choice in multi-airport regions.
Research is completed and documented in ACRP Report 98.