TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2017, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (2): 238-245.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.002923

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Spatial Pattern and Service Level of Chinese Feeder Aviation in Small Airports

LIAO Jiayi,DAI Teqi   

  1. (Faculty of Geographical Science,Beijing Normal University,Beijing 100875,China)
  • Online:2017-03-05 Published:2017-03-05


Feeder aviation is an important part of the air transport system, and our policy has been pledged to promote feeder development, but the increases are mainly concentrated on the main lines while feeders are lagging behind and stagnant. Researches about Chinese air transport network emphasize on network characteristics, hub-spoke structure and so on, however, the focuses of which are on the hub and trunk, and feeder related research is relatively weak. According to the existing limited studies, there is a large difference on the Chinese current situation of feeder air, which is mainly due to their different criteria on the feeder judging, and what’s more, there is no clear and uniform definition either, which is not conducive to the development and implementation of feeder aviation-related policies. The paper systemically reviews the concepts of feeder aviation at home and abroad to conclude that the judgment standard of feeder route is less than 800 km. And the airline data of small airports that have less than 100 000 passengers in 2014 is collected to analyze the spatial pattern and service level of Chinese feeder aviation in small airports. We find that feeder development in small airport as a whole is not high, and only 41% of the routes are in line with the definition of feeder airlines, which are mainly distributed in western China. There is a large proportion of inter-province routes for small airports, which accounts for 53.6%, and hub-spoke shape seems to be developed in some places. On the other hand, destinations of Chinese small airports are not well designed in consideration of 3 routes and above opening in 1/3 of those airports; what’s important, the feeder airlines’ operational efficiency is slightly better than that of the non-feeder, the average landing frequency of the former is 2.3 times the landing frequency of the latter, and among routes which have 7 times landing and over a week, feeder routes account for 53.1%, what’s more, the average attendance of feeder airlines is nearly 10% higher than that of non-feeder, that is related to their different selections on aircraft type. For example, ERJ-190 (medium), Xinzhou 60 (small) and Bombardier CRJ9000 (medium) are popular in feeder routes, while the main types of non-feeder route are Boeing and Airbus series.

Key words: feeder aviation, small airports, route structure, operating efficiency