Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Supervisor name and surname:

Fernando Campa Planas

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

Co-supervisor name and surname:

Xiaoni Li

Co-supervisor email:

Co-supervisor institution:

Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Co-supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Economics and Business

Title of the research project:

Financial performance of airline industry: How big is the difference between accounting and market value?

Description of the research project:

1. The airline industry is central to the tourism industry. It is said that “the addition of a single international flight can have a discernible impact on receipts and employment in the tourism sector, with positive spillover effects throughout the broader economy” (Bowen 2000, p. 27). The international airline industry has experienced a turbulent period in the last decade and has faced significant financial challenge in 2008 to 2009 (Assaf and Josiassen 2012).

Indeed, the financial performance of the airline industry as a whole has remained relatively low for decades (Bourjade, 2017). A McKinsey analysis published by IATA Economics Briefings (2013) shows that airlines have exhibited the worst average Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) over the 1965–2007 period compared to all other industries. However, even if the financial performance of the airline industry as a whole has been below average, only a few airlines have been successful and profitable.

Within this context, financial performance of airlines has a great impact on both short and long run decisions as well as shapes strategic planning. Financial performance of airline industry will be analyzed from the perspective of accounting-based and market-based measures. Major airline companies will be included in our global data in Europe, North America, Latin American and Asia Pacific which covers a big representative portion of the global airline industry.

2. Objectives of the project
1) To analyze the theoretical framework of Airline Industry and corresponding financial performance measures.
2) To construct a global database of major airline companies from the perspective of market-based measures (such as PE ratio, EPS, market return, etc.) and financial accounting indicators (for example, ROA, ROE, ROIC, EBITDA margin, leverage ratio, etc.).
3) To apply different econometric models (such as panel data, etc.) so as to study financial performance and its impact of both market-based and accounting-based measures in strategic decision-making in airline industry. Software as R and/or STATA will be applied.

Assaf and Josiassen, 2012. European vs. U.S. airlines: Performance comparison in a dynamic market. Tourism Management, 33, 317-326.
Bowen, 2000. Airline hubs in Southeast Asia: national economic development and nodal accessibility. Journal of Transport Geography, 8, 25-41
IATA, 2013. ‘‘Profitability and the air transport value chain.” Economics briefing 10.
Bourjade, Huc and Muller-Vibes, 2017. Leasing and profitability: Empirical evidence from the airline industry, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 97, 30-46

Gross anual salary:

26443.80 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Expected start date:

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 713679