Elasticity in the airline industry


One aspect economics most concern with is the facet of production and utilization. Demand and supply research, helps us to understand the idea of production and consumption in relation human being behaviour. Firms, suppliers or businesses cannot just suppose that if indeed they increase their prices their sales will fall season or if income increase their sales will increase, the evident question they need to answer is by how much? They need economics tool to help them to comprehend by how much sales with increase or decrease in relation to the aforementioned assumption, this tool that helps them to understand how reactive their sales is to lots of factors is known as Elasticity. The idea of elasticity and the factors that determines it is exactly what this article will examine in airline industry. For Airline industry to remain afloat on the market they need to know the impact of price changes in the market and the reactions of the market to the change. To be able to measure this effectively they use the idea of elasticity.


This essay seeks to explore the term elasticity and verify its determinants in relation to the airline industry; however this cannot be done correctly without considering demand and supply. Demand is the number of goods and services consumers wish to acquire at a given price, while Resource is the quantity of goods and services manufacturers desire to produce at confirmed price (M. Ghanei 2010). Flights is one of the a lot of services consumers are willing to acquire at confirmed price; likewise there are suppliers who are prepared to source this service at a given price.

It will be useful to determine what elasticity means, Elasticity is define as "the quality something has being able to stretch and go back to its original size and shape" (Oxford advanced learners dictionary 6th edition). In Physics, elasticity is defined as "the property of a substance that permits it to improve its length, level, or form in direct reaction to a make effecting such an alteration and to retrieve its original form upon the removal of the drive. " (dictionaryreference. com).

This can be described further in the competition of an employee who was permitted to do some extra hours beyond the contracted time for extra pay. At the end of the month, the amount of extra money he will earn will depend on how much more extra hours the guy can work. Then how reactive the worker is to this offer is seen as elasticity. Elasticity may then be computed as

Em = percentage of extra cash you earn/percentage of extra hours worked.

Where Em is the elasticity of money the employee earn by the end of the month.

Browning and Zupan (2006) explain that elasticity measures the degree of responsiveness of any variable, such as demand and offer to a big change specifically determinants. Elasticity measures the amount of responsiveness of any varying to extra stimulus.

Elasticity is solution in percentage because it allows a specific comparability of change in qualitatively various things which are assessed in two different units (sloman and Wride 2009). It is the only sensible way of deciding what size a change in price or volume. Thus elasticity is a device free measures as the percentage of the percentage of both variables are amount without units. (Parkin 2006).

The legislation of demand claims that when the price of goods increases the quantity demanded lowers, thus either of the number will be negative which after division will finish up in a negative result, due to this reality we always ignore the sign and simply focus on the overall value, disregarding the indication to reveal how elastic demand is. (Parkin 2006).

Elastic demand occurs when volume demanded changes by bigger ratio than price (Sloman and Wride 2009). Here customer has lot of other different goods to choose from. The worthiness is always higher than 1, the change in amount has a greater influence on total consumer spending than in cost. For example a reduction in the price of a branded container of cleansing up liquid say from 1. 00 to 50p will prompt people buy more, which means they conclude spending more on that product than they will do on a normal day, this increase total consumer spending which is determined as

Total consumer expenses (TE) = Price x Number.

This is illustrated in the graph below

Elastic demand curve between two factors, sloping to the downward, as price goes up from P1 to P2, Number demanded lower from q2 to q1


Inelastic demand occurs when price change is proportionately more than quantity demanded; elasticity here's significantly less than 1. Example consumer who's diabetic will always buy insulin no subject how much it cost to have the ability to stay alive. When amount demanded is unchanged when price changes, that is number demand does not react to changes in cost this is known as unit stretchy (lipsey & christal 2007). Hence physique (ii)

Figure (ii)

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Unit elastic demand occurs where volume demanded changes by the same percentage as price, which means the value will be 1 (sloman and wride 2009).

‹· = -1 price elasticity of demand is 1.

‹·=%‹Q·%  p

Where ‹· is the Greek letter eta and it stands for elasticity, ‹ is a Greek letter that means change in, Q is Variety and P is price.

Figure (iii)

http://wpcontent. answcdn. com/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/64/Price_elasticity_of_demand. svg/250px-Price_elasticity_of_demand. svg. png

There are unusual cases, case A is where price does not have any impact on variety because it's set, ‹· =0.

In circumstance B, quantity has no effect on price, therefore ‹· =  . They are both exceptional instances.

Figure A

http://img. search. com/thumb/9/99/Elasticity-inelastic. png/180px-Elasticity-inelastic. png

Figure B

http://img. search. com/thumb/8/89/Elasticity-elastic. png/180px-Elasticity-elastic. png

Types of elasticity

Price or own price Elasticity

Income elasticity

Cross elasticity

Price or own price elasticity of demand

Price or own elasticity of demand measures how much the number demanded of an good (airfare ticket) responds to a change in price of that same good (airfare ticket). (Mankiw and Taylor 2006). Regulations of price elasticity of demand states that the bigger the prices of any item the less the quantity demanded provided that all the factor stay the same.

However, price elasticity of demand is not continuous through the demand curve, there are two ways to evaluate elasticity that happen to be: point elasticity- which evaluate exact elasticity at a specific price) and arc elasticity - which measures average elasticity over a range of prices (vasigh et al 2008) The formulation for calculating arc and point elasticity is below

Arc = (Ratio   Q/ Q) · (ratio ‹Q/ P)

Point = ‹Q / ‹P - P/Q

Generally we use the midpoint formula which is

‹· = (‹Qd /average Qd) · (‹P /average P)

where Qd is variety demanded and P is the price

Price elasticity of demand is probably the most useful one in airline industry, and it's considered to be elastic and inelastic, how elastic demand is will be regards to the purpose for the quest. Elastic demands can be found for the pleasure traveller anticipated to demand increase while prices lower. Conversely, business travellers would sign up to an inelastic demand because of this market. Lipsey and Chrystal (2007) sophisticated that elasticity is said to be inelastic when variety demanded is unchanged when price changes, when variety demanded had not been affected by a price change. The business traveller encounters an inelastic demand because of the level of service demanded and quantity has not reduced as prices have risen.

Demand is usually evaluated in terms variety of passenger earnings mile PRMs or revenue lot miles (RTMs) in airline industry. For all of us to examine the concept of elasticity in airline industry we must understand demand in airline industry. For example a trip to Nigeria, how much customer is inclined to pay for the voyage says 250? 500? or 750?. It is a fact that some passengers will consider the price to be too expensive and will not fly as a result. Their decisions not to fly arranged with the law of demand which express the higher the purchase price the lower would be the number demanded of the merchandise. If different travellers are confronted with these decisions, their responses will vary in regards to their purposes for visiting and degree of income. Consumers different response help create demand schedule which is simply the table showing the quantities of goods and services that an individual is willing and able to buy at various prices over a given period of time. From your example I could have a demand timetable for journey to Nigeria

Price of tickets to Nigeria

Number of passengers (volume demand)











The above schedule will build a demand curve. A demand curve is a visual explanation of demand agenda showing the partnership between the price of your good and quantity demanded over a given period of time.

Income elasticity of demand

Income elasticity of demand actions the degree of level of sensitivity of demand to changes in clients' income. Krugman et al (2007) stress that income elasticity of demand measures how much the demand for a good is affected by changes in consumers' incomes. Mankiw and Taylor (2006) make clear further that income elasticity of demand helps in understanding whether a good is a standard good (higher income rises quantity demanded such as food and clothing) or substandard good (higher income lowers amount demanded such as own brand products) as well as measuring the degree of level the demand for the nice responds to changes in income.

The method is

‹· = %‹Qd · %Y

Where Y signifies the income, ‹ is change in and Qd is the quantity demanded.

As people income climb they are willing to spend more on goods and services, which include vacations, when income goes up consumers are less likely to be very sensitive to price, however when income decreases people are less willing to travel since holidays in another country sometimes appears as a luxury goods which explains why airline business offers huge discounts during recessions.

Cross elasticity of demand

This is a way of measuring how reactive a consumption of 1 good is to an alteration in the price tag on a related good (Edgar & Zupan) the alternative good or complementary good, (Sloman & wride)

The solution is

‹·Abdominal = %‹QDA / %‹PB

In a case where B is a substitute product for product A as price of an rises demand for B will increase.

For example if the price of potato increases consumer might replace it for rice since they are both carbohydrate food.

In the same way in air travel industry if the price of an airline is too high people will replace it for a cheaper one especially Western flight industry where there is rapid expansion of low-cost airlines, It has pose major obstacle to the well-established national air carriers, who must now modify their business and costing strategies to handle the increased competition.

Determinants of Elasticity

The willingness to buy a specific product is inspired by so many factors among which is


Random factors

Consumers' income



Price of swap and complementary goods

Price expectations

Time (Begg and Damian 2007)

Elasticity in airline industry like in virtually any other industry is determines by the aforementioned factors, and much more which depends upon market conditions which make the industry unstable. Price of oil which includes been increasing throughout the complete year has a substantial impact in the demand for airline ticket. In the same way inflation and terrorist problems have greatly affect demand in flight industry. Competition constantly affects the price tag on tickets as it gives the customers other choices. Substitutes that are around such as traveling by car, bus, train or preventing travel whenever you can also have an impact on demand in air travel industry. Currently, the current economic climate is very gloomy and delicate. Many people are unemployed and a whole lot of individuals are earning less than they used to earn and as a result of that a big percentage of flight customers who normally fly on business course have resulted to flying on economy course to conserve spending and safe money.

One more important factor that greatly influenced demand in airline industry is the customers' purpose for travel, in times where by customer is compelled by situations to travel, the customer has no choice but to buy a ticket no subject how much it cost, in cases like this to such customer demand it is inelastic.

Elasticity of source in airline industry

Demand is relatively set and constantly fluctuating in airline industry. There is also lack of overall flexibility in source function rendering it very difficult to control capacity effectively. All these are a few of the reasons why airline industries face financial difficulty and also have profit margins well below other industry.

Supply in flight industry is the power and determination to give a specific numbers of seats at a given price in a given time frame in a given market. In the air transportation industry resource is portrayed in available seat miles (ASMs) or available ton miles (ATMs). ASM simply signify a seat transported through for one mile regardless of whether it contains passenger or not. The occurrence of revenue traveler in the couch is the key difference between RPMs (demand) and ASMs (resource), RPMs only actions the seat which includes travellers in them. Similar expression can be produced between ATMs (supply) and RTMs (demand).

The source function is written the following

Qs= f (P, Pres T, C, R, G)

Where P = price of tickets

Pres = price of resources including air build costs, labour cost, maintenance cost, fuel e. t. c

T = technological improvement

G = federal government regulation

C = behaviour of the competition

R = random factors

Ticket price is the main determinant of goods and services exactly like demand, thus the theory of resource that the quantity supply of product in confirmed time raises as it price increases, in a situation where everything else is presented constant. Which means that the airlines are willing to supply more seating as the price increases.

In regards to the law of resource, the source curve slopes upwards so that any chance in cost is simply activity along the source curve. Another major determinant of supply in airline industry is the price tag on production resources such as but are not limited to maintenance, fuel, aeroplanes, labour and getting fees. All these and many more impact on resource because they influence cost of productions.

In the flight industry, the bigger the cost of production, the higher the total cost which in turn causes a leftward switch in the resource curve. Equally, an increase in cost of production may pressurise the air travel to minimize some flights that would no longer practical and profitable, this move will cause a leftward change in supply curve, which is seating can be found at the same ticket price. Conversely, if solution price decreases the resource curve transfer to the right which means more seat can be found at the same ticket price.

Other factors identifying way to obtain air transportation are technology and competition. Airlines have record of aggressive competition over market show as a result competition from other airlines has already established a considerable impact on price. Airlines regularly adapt to capacity and supply in markets in response to competition and changing market forces Vasigh et al (2008). Exemplory case of this is the low priced or budget airlines which usually compete aggressively on the market.


The way of measuring of elasticity of demand is the tool economists use to understand the level of customers level of sensitivity when price of a product change over a period. It's very useful in predicting consumers' behaviour and in forecasting major happenings like recession or restoration. As consumers, our decisions are assessed by economists on a regular basis. If the costs of a required good increase where we have little if any swap such as food, normal water, medicine or gasoline, we will still buy them this is recognized as inelastic demand, whereas if the price of luxurious goods increase we either cut back, switch to swap goods or leave the marketplace altogether, this is named stretchy demand.

This idea of elasticity is critical in understanding charges policy in virtually any industry, especially in air transportation industry, and as earlier discussion has shown, elasticity can be used to determine the maximum price level where total earnings is maximized in the end income management has its foundation in this idea since elasticity can be used to help manage both prices and capacity.

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