Unlike many other mergers in developed countries, which might have been assessed and their effects estimated by antitrust authorities before being granted antitrust immunity, the airline mergers that swept China’s airline industry in 2002 occurred with no antitrust challenge. These mergers provide the opportunity to study important market power issues in China’s airline markets. Given that increased concentration and multimarket contact are the main legacies of an airline merger, the effects of mergers on these variables can raise the potential for the exercise of market power. However, an examination of the period 2002–2004 during which the Chinese airline mergers occurred shows that the resulting increased concentration and enhanced multimarket contact did not have important consequences for airfares in Chinese city-pair markets. The presence of Hainan Airlines appears to have played an important role in suppressing the airfares charged by China Eastern and China Southern.
Review of Industrial Organization – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 11, 2009
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