The Economics of Airport Use, Congestion, and Safety

by Jora Minasian, Ross Eckert



This article focuses on the economics of airport use, congestion, and safety. Traffic flows at major airports in the U.S. result in congested use of facilities at peak times of the day and relatively little use at off-peak times. Traffic patterns also have a locational dimension. Passengers, when given a choice of airports at which to land, generally prefer the one closest to their trip destinations. Thus, while congestion at Washington National Airport is at times staggering, Dulles International Airport, some twenty miles farther from downtown Washington, is used only to one-quarter of its potential even at peak times. Several proposed solutions to the problem of airport congestion will be discussed, and the demand for airport use analyzed and applied to current airport use patterns. Both airport officials and the Federal Aviation Agency have suggested that congestion should be reduced by increasing the peak-load supply of airport facilities. None of the policies is likely to achieve the desired results.

California Management Review

Berkeley-Haas's Premier Management Journal

Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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