The Spatial Dimension of Domestic Route Networks of Russian Carriers (2002-2008)

The Russian airline industry has been considerably transformed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The dissolution of the Soviet Aeroflot paved the way for creation of new private and government-owned carriers. Yet, the airline industry in Russia has not reached the stage of development equivalent to the state of sectors in the United States and the European Union member states. However, the lack of deregulation does not necessarily mean that the airline industry in Russia stagnated over the last decade.

The thesis aims to examine three aspects of domestic route networks of Russian carriers: (i) the distribution and concentration of seat capacity (measured by the normalized Gini index); (ii) the morphology of networks (measured by the Freeman centrality index); and (iii) the centrality of airports (studied by means of the Bonacich centrality analysis). The first two aspects are meant to investigate airline networks from macro-level, whereas the third is focused on examination from micro-level. Thus, this thesis does not look at domestic route networks of Russian carriers only in their entirety, but it also takes into consideration their individual parts.

The research findings tend to suggest that the majority of carriers operated networks with concentrated or very concentrated distribution of seat capacity in 2002 and 2008. Moreover, numerous Russian airlines allocated a substantial number of seats to routes to and from Moscow during the period of analysis. In regard to the morphology of networks, the predominance of carriers seemed to operate single-radial networks in 2002 and 2008. The utilization of spatially deconcentrated networks was rather scarce. During the period of analysis, the proportion of carriers reorganized their networks and adopted a multi-radial network configuration in order to complement a network of parent company or utilize airports in the Russian capital as bases. The results of the centrality analysis confirmed that Moscow’s airports occupied rather central position in domestic route networks of Russian carriers over the last decade (2000 – 2009).

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