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Competitive positioning in the airline industry.

Selected papers from the air transport research society conference, Athens, 2008

The 2008 Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) Conference was held in Athens, Greece. In this 12th year it attracted 406 participants and 201 paper presentations. More than 70 papers were submitted for consideration in the ATRS Special Issues. We have chosen four papers for this issue of the Transportation Journal, based on results from a double blind reviewing process. These papers cover topics such as carrier choice, development of brand equity, selection between low-cost and full service carriers, and safety awareness among passengers. These papers collectively give readers a good insight into competitive positioning issues and passenger awareness of cabin safety procedures.

In their paper, Wen and Yeh use multidimensional scaling and correspondence analysis to explore how international airline passengers position various air carriers. They compare the two methods by reducing a large set of factors into conceptual clusters, revealing that many of the airlines are close on the conceptual map. Although certain airlines possess a unique service quality profile and are not strongly associated with other airlines, airlines can build on this research to identity a differential edge for better competitive positioning and comparative advantage.

Chen and Tseng propose an airline brand equity model based on brand awareness, brand image, perceived quality, and brand loyalty. Their research reveals that brand loyalty, among other brand equity components, is the main determinant of brand equity. The authors point out that if potential customers are not aware of an airline brand when searching for flights, influences on the cognitive component is missing, reducing the potential development of brand equity.

Thanasupsin, Chaichana, and Pliankarom investigate factors influencing passenger selection between low-cost versus full service airlines in Thailand. They apply the revealed preference methodology, showing that passengers selecting full service carriers have higher satisfaction levels compared to low-cost carriers, with punctuality playing a leading role in satisfaction and fares in dissatisfaction among full service carriers, and vice versa. Overall the factors influencing mode selections, appearing in their study, are group size, fare deviation to income ratio, waiting time deviation multiplied by income, punctuality, and safety.

Chang and Liao compare the effect of cabin safety promotion on safety knowledge, attitude, and behavior among airline passengers in Taiwan and Mainland China. Using a structural equation modelling approach, they show that cabin safety promotion positively affects safety knowledge, attitude, and behavior. The attitude-behavior and the knowledge-attitude consistency correlations are well supported. However, the relationship among passengers' cabin safety knowledge, attitude, and behavior are not always consistent. Chang's and Liao's results indicate that passengers' level of education, age, and flight experience account largely for this inconsistency.

We, the editors, hope that readers gain insight into the many facets of competitive positioning in the airline industry from this special issue. We extend our gratitude to the many people that contributed to the ATRS Athens Conference: the organization team, the participants through their presentations and enlightening comments and discussions, and those who refereed papers before and after the conference. We hope readers, whether from industry or academia, find the articles valuable and are encouraged to undertake further investigation into the topics introduced in this Special Issue focusing on the ATRS Athens Conference.

Sveinn Vidar Gudmundsson

VP ATRS and Editor Special Issue

Department of Strategy

Toulouse Business School

Tae Hoon Oum

President ATRS

Sauder School of Business

University of British Columbia


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Title Annotation:Preface
Author:Gudmundsson, Sveinn Vidar
Publication:Transportation Journal
Geographic Code:7TURK
Date:Jan 1, 2010
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