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Robustness of airline route networks

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This article analyzes the robustness of airlines and hopes to draw a conclusion that Full Service Carriers (FSC) with a hub and spoke network are more sensitive to central airport closures than Lost Cost Carriers (LCC) with point to point networks. This article reports on the effect of airlines “attacking” nodes, leading to airport closures, but acknowledges that more information, such as passenger flux and topographical information, is needed to paint a more detailed picture as to the effects of airline competition on the networks of various airlines. The article found that in a random isolation, FSC airlines were about 5% less robust than LCC airlines, but all airlines suffered greatly with random isolation of nodes. The article offers suggestions to increase robustness of airline networks. One of these examples is a hybrid between hubs and point to point, where multiple hubs are connected. The article does recognize, that a large amount of passenger travel would make a multiple hub airline network less efficient than a point to point network, but slightly more optimal than a hub network.

This applies to the class because it demonstrates a real world example of the importance of an optimal network, a robust network leads to less closures, but can lead to passengers with longer flights, and more costs associated with maintenance. The article shows that a system of Structural Balance Theory, that a strong, optimized large-scale network would involve groups of nodes connected between various hubs. It also shows that the robustness of a network is not necessarily proportional to the size of a network. It also supports the idea of strong triadic closure, as a hybrid network with a hub with multiple mutual connections is stronger than just a hub network.


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