Note on the Global Airline Industry in 2020
(7 pages of text)
In 2019, the global airline industry generated revenues of over US$880 billion. One year later, as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, demand had fallen to half of its previous level and airlines faced tough challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic was a new and severe crisis. The responses of airlines and their alliances depended on the fundamental economics and structure of the industry. To devise new strategies for their futures, global airlines had to consider the economics and market structure of their industry. Would the fundamental economics of the airline industry be forever affected? Would the industry return to a “new normal” at some point?
This note is suitable for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on alliances, mergers and acquisitions, business strategy, and globalization. The note explains the economics of the global airline industry, including cost structure, regulation, and how performance is measured. It covers history and data for the 2010s and is set in 2020, as COVID-19 shocked the industry. The note can be taught on its own, or to accompany the case “Star Alliance in 2020” Additional data on traffic, costs, and demand is included in the case, which can be useful for industry analysis. After completion of this note, students will be able to
- understand the basics of regulation in the airline industry;
- understand the economics of the airline industry;
- apply industry analysis to evaluate strategies for responding to an external shock; and
- evaluate alliance and ecosystem strategies of airline companies.
Economics & Public Policy
Transportation and Warehousing
Germany; Japan; United Kingdom; United States, Large, 2020
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