Transborder Demand Leakage and the US-Canadian Air Passenger Market
Posted: 14 Mar 2015
Date Written: October 2013
The US-Canadian air traffic market is one of the largest international markets in the world – estimated at 23 million passengers in 2008. The market is currently regulated by an “Open Skies” agreement, which eliminated all restrictions on the frequency of flights, the aircraft flown, and the fares charged on transborder routes. Although there is evidence that consumers have benefited from the Open Skies agreement, there is also evidence that many passengers have chosen to avoid transborder services, and instead fly from airports in US border cities and cross the border by surface transportation. This paper uses a passenger demand model to determine the scope of this “leakage” from transborder routes. In addition, transborder airfares are compared to US domestic airfares to determine whether transborder fares are “excessive”, a potential cause of the leakage. Results show a substantial amount of leakage estimated at over 4.7 million passengers for 2008. Furthermore, after controlling for the impact of route-specific variables, such as market concentration, average fares are 28.2% higher in the transborder market. Finally, policy implications and the future of the transborder air passenger market are discussed.
Keywords: Airfares; Airline alliances; Airport leakage; Low cost carriers; Price premiums
JEL Classification: L09, L93
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation