Using evidence from an original dataset of more than 12 million fares, this study sheds light on two issues relating to the pricing behaviour of the main European airlines: 1) the extent to which an airline’s dominant position at the origin airport, at the route and the city-pair level affects the airlines’ market power; 2) whether fares follow a monotonic time path consistent with the pursuing of an inter-temporal price discrimination strategy. Our estimates reveal that enjoying a dominant position within a route is conducive to higher fares, possibly because of the limited size of many “natural monopoly” routes that facilitate the incumbent’s engagement in a limit pricing strategy. On the contrary, a larger share within a city-pair does not seem to facilitate the exercise of market power, thereby suggesting the existence of a large degree of substitutability between the routes in a city-pair.
This is a working paper. It is also available at: http://ideas.repec.org/p/lbo/lbowps/2007_11.html.