What Can COVID Tell Us About Market Definition in Air Travel?

Antitrust Report, October 2022

In antitrust matters involving the air travel industry, regulators and academics often define the relevant geographic market at the “city-pair level” – that is, the market for flights between two metropolitan areas. Recent merger activity, however, has raised the question of whether this definition might be too narrow for certain matters, and whether a broader definition that includes multiple destination cities would be more appropriate.

In an article published in the journal Antitrust Report, a trio of Analysis Group consultants – Vice President David Toniatti, Manager Robert Calzaretta, Jr., and Associate Alvaro Ziadi  – investigate whether the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on leisure air travel can be used as a natural experiment to shed light on geographic market definition in this sector. They analyze a large collection of data – including COVID restriction policies across countries and over time – to determine the extent of substitutability in leisure air travel destinations during the pandemic. They also comment on the extent to which the pandemic’s effects can serve as a natural experiment for similar analyses.

The article, “What Can COVID Tell Us About Market Definition in Air Travel?,” appears in the October 2022 issue of Antitrust Report.

Read the article


Calzaretta, Jr. R, Toniatti D, Ziadi A