The geography of the Spanish airport system: Spatial concentration and deconcentration patterns in seat capacity distribution, 2001-2008

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the geography of seat capacity at Spanish airports between 2001 and 2008. Concentration and deconcentration patterns for different markets have been identified. For this purpose, we use the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), the Concentration Ratio (CR) and the Lorenz curve. From our analysis, we conclude that seat capacity follows a deconcentration pattern due to the growth of low-cost carriers at small- and medium-sized Spanish airports. This is in line with earlier studies for Europe as a whole. Intercontinental seat capacity still remains very much concentrated in Madrid and, to a lesser extent, in Barcelona. However, new strategies by long-haul airlines bypassing the primary European hubs foster the deconcentration of seat capacity in the Asian and North American markets. In the case of Spain, the recent liberalization of the EU-US market may become an important enabler of such network strategies, e.g., Delta has operated a route from Valencia to New York-JFK since 2009. In other intercontinental markets, capacity is more and more concentrated in Madrid. We highlight the restructuring of Iberia's network as an important factor behind the increasing dominance of Madrid in intercontinental markets. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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Suau-Sanchez, P., & Burghouwt, G. (2011). The geography of the Spanish airport system: Spatial concentration and deconcentration patterns in seat capacity distribution, 2001-2008. Journal of Transport Geography, 19(2), 244–254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2010.03.019

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