Network airlines have been increasingly focusing their operations on hub airports through the exploitation of connecting traffic, allowing them to take advantage of economies of traffic density, which are unequivocal in the airline industry. Less attention has been devoted to airlines? decisions on point-to-point thin routes, which could be served using different aircraft technologies and different business models. This paper examines, both theoretically and empirically, the impact on airlines ?networks of the two major innovations in the airline industry in the last two decades: the regional jet technology and the low-cost business model. We show that, under certain circumstances, direct services on point-to-point thin routes can be viable and thus airlines may be interested in deviating passengers out of the hub.
Fageda, X. (GiM-IREA), Flores-Fillol, R.