Aircraft and high speed train substitution : the case for airline and railway integration
Aircraft and High Speed Train (HST) operations usually result in competition between the airlines and the railways, leading the former to resist mode substitution and thus limiting its potential benefits. This research proposes a different model of substitution, one in which the airlines replace the aircraft by HST on some routes but continue to provide the services through code share agreements with the railways which operate the HST. In addition, the model assumes that the HST service is provided from the airport and is fully integrated with the rest of the airline's route network, leading to airline and railway integration. Under this model, the research has shown that airlines benefit from integration (as well as the railways and the airports) and thus have an incentive to adopt mode substitution. Furthermore, passengersa nd society also benefit, the former from travel time savings and the latter from reduced environmental pollution, making integration a win-win option. Adopting an empirical approach, the benefits from airline and railway integration are evaluated using Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) and Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA) frameworks, and using the London Heathrow airport to Paris route as a case study. The analysis showed that HST and rail services at airports provide an alternative to investment in increasing runway capacity and that this secures additional benefits at a comparable cost. Specifically for Heathrow, airline and railway integration was found to be the only option to resolve the Government's three main policy goals for the airport, namely preserving its international competitive position as a transfer/hub airport in order to secure its contribution to the national economy; increasing services from the regions, and thus accessibility from the regions to London and the rest of the world; and to curb its impact on the environment. Furthermore, integration between modes, a key policy target in the UK and the EU, is promoted. The above holds for other airports as well. Following from the above, the research recommends adopting airline and railway integration as the model for aircraft and HST substitution and calls for the definition of air transport infrastructure to be changed and to include HST lines and stations. On the methodological aspects, the use of a detailed empirical analysis, which includes the use of comprehensive evaluation practices, is recommended as the basis for forming transport policies. The analysis has shown that it is necessary to rely on the CBA results, but the recommendation is to support these results with MCA to provide evidence for its robustness. In addition, it was found that the common units of passenger-km are not always appropriate and that it is important to present the results in different units.