Airport–airline Relationships: Opportunities for Italian Regional Airports

Airport–airline Relationships: Opportunities for Italian Regional Airports

S. Cepolina | G. Profumo

Italian Centre of Excellence on Integrated Logistics (CIELI), University of Genoa, Italy

Department of Business Studies, University of Naples “Parthenope”, Italy

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In recent years, the aviation industry is facing fast evolution patterns and strong competition in its main sectors. On the one hand, the increasing competition between airlines is lowering industry profi tability. On the other hand, airports are facing new managerial challenges due to privatisation processes. Not only international airports but regional airports also are affected by these phenomena. This turbulent environment is pushing companies in the aviation industry to follow new strategic paths in order to face the new competitive arena; one of the paths that is gaining increasing attention is cooperative strategy, created in order to reduce uncertainty, sharing risks and costs. The literature has primarily focused its attention on horizontal alliances, while less attention has been given to vertical integration strategies between airports and airlines. The aim of the present work is, therefore, to cover this literature gap, analysing the airport–airline relationships from a strategic management perspective. After a brief classification of all the possible forms of relationship, the potential benefits for the two actors, airlines and airports, will be analysed, trying to underline the possible cost and revenue synergies. Particular attention will be given to regional airports, some of which are now experiencing fast development, due to the interaction with airline companies. This is the case of the two Italian regional airports investigated in the second part of the paper.


airport–airline interaction, regional airports, vertical integration strategy


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