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On the Factors that Affect Airline Flight Frequency and Aircraft Size



This paper assesses the determinants of aircraft size and frequency of flights on airline routes by considering market demographics, airport characteristics, airline characteristics and route characteristics. The paper shows that frequency and aircraft size increase with population, income, and runway length. An increase in the proportion of managerial workers in the labor force or the proportion of population below the age of 25 results in greater frequency with the use of small planes. Slot constrained airports and an increase in the number of nearby airports lead to lower flight frequency with the use of smaller planes. Hubs and low cost carriers are associated with larger plane sizes and higher frequency, while regional airline ownership leads to higher frequency and the use of smaller planes. An increase in distance between the endpoints leads to lower frequency with the use of larger planes. As airport delay rises, airlines reduce frequency and use smaller planes, though when airport cancellations rise, flight frequency increases with the use of larger planes. This finding suggests airlines utilize frequency and aircraft size to hedge against flight cancellations.

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