Airline consolidation reducing airports’ negotiating power: Accepting low-cost airlines and expanding into Asia will restore power balance dynamics

Airline consolidation reducing airports’ negotiating power: Accepting low-cost airlines and expanding into Asia will restore power balance dynamics


Consolidation in the airline industry is reducing their reliance on airports. Airports will have to diversify their operations abroad and welcome low-cost airlines to negate this power imbalance.

In the year 2000 for example, the top four players in the US airline industry had a combined market share of 61%. By 2015 the top four players namely American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Continental had a combined share of 84%.

Airports Council International (ACI) Europe head Olivier Jankovec speaking on this issue stated that

Consolidation means less airlines in the market to chase, to serve your airport and open destinations. It also gives airlines more purchasing power, more power to dictate the conditions under which they serve an airport. An airport cannot move, [but] an airline can move to another location”.

The balance of power between airports and airlines has increasingly been tilting towards airlines in recent years, as their consolidated nature has allowed them to dictate terms more so than airports. However airports can negate this tilt by themselves expanding their operations to other parts of the world, thereby reducing their reliance on a select few airlines.


  • Examines the state of the airline and airport industries
  • Explains why the airline industry is witnessing consolidation
  • Analyzis the impact airline consolidation is having on the airport industry
  • Explores ways in which airports can reduce their reliance on a few airlines
Reasons to buy
  • Why is consolidation occuring in the airlines industry?
  • How is this impacting the airport industry?
  • How can the airport industry respond and restore power balance with the airlines industry?

Airlines under increasing financial pressure due to competition, regulatory costs and oil price fluctuations
Increased competition and rising regulatory costs affecting European and North American airline companies
Oil price fluctuations continue to hamper industry
Consolidation in the airline industry increasing airport reliance on fewer buyers
Strong decline in the number of airlines in Europe and North America
Bankruptcies also reducing the number of players
Consolidation in the airlines industry is reducing negotiating power of airports
Decline in retail revenue also affecting airports negatively
Expansion into less mature regions and consolidation between airports required
Asia is witnessing an airport boom presenting growth opportunities for European/North American airport groups
Major airports will have to continue welcoming low budget airlines
Consolidation in the airline industry negatively impacting airports
Airports would do well to expand operations to less mature regions and welcome low-cost airlines
Further Reading
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About MarketLine
List of Tables
Table 1: UK Air Passenger Duty Rates, GBP and $, 2015-2019
Table 2: Top five airline‟s share at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, January 2018
Table 3: Percentage change in the revenue of Frankfurt Airport and value of German airline industry, 2013-2017
Table 4: Largest airlines in Italy in terms of passengers carried, 2016-2017
List of Figures
Figure 1: Average price of crude oil, $ per barrel, and % growth in the global airline industry 2013-2018
Figure 2: Monarch Airlines Operating Profit/Loss, $ m, 2012-2016
Figure 3: Air Berlin Revenue per Kilometer (RPK), $m, 2012-2016
Figure 4: Chinese population in income brackets as % of total population, 2010-2015
Figure 5: The under-construction Beijing Daxing Airport

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