UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Essays on air transport and public policy Yuen, Chi-Lok


The rapid growth in air travel demand in the last few decades has led to two major public policy issues in the aviation industry. First, it has placed enormous pressure on the existing airport infrastructure. As a result, airlines, passengers and shippers are suffering from serious congestion delays at the facilities, implying a significant economic loss to the society. Second, given the increasing air travel demand, aviation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions - a major contributor to man-made climate change - are growing at a rapid pace. Different public policies are proposed by policy makers and scholars in a number of different disciplines for the two issues. This thesis aims to investigate and evaluate some of the policies from different perspectives. To deal with the airport congestion problem, the congestion pricing is considered to be one of the most feasible and simplest solutions, and economists also argue that it would be welfare-improving. However, the congestion pricing has not really been implemented at airports in practice. Chapter 2 considers the case of variable passenger time costs in the airport congestion pricing analysis, and examines its welfare-redistributive issues. This may help us to explain the unpopularity of the congestion pricing in practice. The Chapter also explores a case where the self-internalization - an important hypothesis suggested in the literature - may be incomplete. Chapter 3 investigates the effects of congestion pricing at a gateway on its hinterland's road tolls, road congestion and social welfare. The problem will become more practically relevant, as it is expected that gateway congestion pricing will be getting more popular in the near future. Another possible solution to deal with the problem of capacity shortage at airports would be to utilize the existing facilities more efficiently. Chapter 4 measures the airport efficiency in China, and empirically investigates the factors, including competition and policy changes, affecting it. Chapter 5 considers another major public policy issue in the aviation industry - GHG emissions. The Chapter provides an analytical framework for examining the issue, and investigates the effects of unilateral GHG control measures on airline competition, market output, consumer benefits and world emissions.

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