ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India's Air Traffic System

Evolution and Role of Network Structure

Examining the multidimensional patterns of network characteristics for scheduled Indian airlines between 2006 and 2014, this article goes on to discuss their evolutionary paths. The well-known skewed traffic distribution, which spatially concentrates traffic around a few airports, serves as the starting point for dividing the system into its constituent route types. This analysis points to inferences that can be drawn about the development path of the Indian commercial air traffic system.

Questions to do with aviation networks in a market environment, their formation, development, and competitive dynamics (or lack thereof) have been discussed before. For example, Reynolds-Feighan (2001), Alderighi et al (2005), Martin and Voltes-Dorta (2009), and Huber (2009) have aimed at assessing the major effects caused by liberalisation and competition on air transportation networks by measuring market concentration. More recently, structural aspects of networks, such as connectivity, have been examined in greater detail (Reynolds-Feighan 2010; Shaw 2009: 293). In this same context, the spatial aspects of network competition in aviation have become more relevant (Burghouwt et al 2003; Graham and Goetz 2008).

Multidimensional approaches, among others, have looked at the structural aspects of air traffic flows and sought new insights by decomposing airline networks into their parts and examining—mainly through means of statistics and pattern recognition—salient features and properties (Huber 2010). Derudder and Witlox (2009) define frameworks through multi-ratio indices, which describe air transport networks as caught between dominance and connectivity. Normalisation of such computed ratios is to allow for longitudinal comparisons and elaborate on changes in the overall spatiality, that is, concentration or dispersal of the network (2009: 278).

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