Networks and Spatial Economics

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 643–663 | Cite as

Dynamics in the European Air Transport Network, 2003–9: An Explanatory Framework Drawing on Stochastic Actor-Based Modeling

  • Shengrun Zhang
  • Ben Derudder
  • Frank Witlox


In this paper, we outline and test an explanatory framework drawing on stochastic actor-based modeling to understand changes in the outline of European air transport networks between 2003 and 2009. Stochastic actor-based models show their capabilities to estimate and test the effect of exogenous and endogenous drivers on network changes in this application to the air transport network. Our results reveal that endogenous structural effects, such as transitivity triads, indirect relations and betweenness effects impact the development of the European air transport network in the period under investigation. In addition, exogenous nodal and dyadic covariates also play a role, with above all the enlargement of the European Common Aviation Area having benefitted its new members to open more air routes between them. The emergence of major low-cost airline-focused airports also significantly contributed to these changes. We conclude by outlining some avenues for further research.


Airport network dynamics Europe Stochastic-actor based models Deregulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ghent UniverstyGhentBelgium

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