Frankie O'Connell

Dr Frankie O'Connell

Reader in Air Transport Management
+44 (0)1483 684293
57 AP 02

Academic and research departments

School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.


My publications


Book: O’Connell, J.F., and Williams, G. (2011), Air Transport in the 21st Century – Key Strategic Developments, Ashgate Publishing, London.

Papers (ABS 4*): Corbet, S., O’Connell, J. F., Efthymiou, M., Guiomard, C., & Lucey, B. (2019). The impact of terrorism on European tourism. Annals of Tourism Research75, 1-17.

Corbet, S., Efthymiou, M., Lucey, B., O'Connell, J.F., (2021). When lightning strikes twice: The tragedy-induced demise and attempted corporate resuscitation of Malaysia airlines. Annals of Tourism Research, 87, 103109


Shaen Corbet, John F. O’Connell, Marina Efthymiou, Cathal Guiomard, Brian Lucey (2019)The impact of terrorism on European tourism, In: Annals of Tourism Research75pp. 1-17 Elsevier

This paper estimates the influence of terrorist attacks on European tourism through the short-term post hoc response of the airline industry and passengers. We use a seasonally-adjusted ARMA-GARCH methodology on unique datasets that examine changes in tourism as measured by ASKs, seats filled and changes in both fares and revenues. Traffic flows are found to fall despite significant fare reductions; however, this response varies substantially based on the flight origin and ticket-type purchased. We found that business travel slows substantially due to duty of care legislation for corporate transport. While we found evidence indicating substantial airline fare reductions, in the majority of investigated cases this response was unable to mitigate substantial reductions in passenger demand and flows across varying ticket types.

Z Lei, M Yu, R Chen, F O'Connell (2015)Liberalization of China–US air transport market: Assessing the impacts of the 2004 and 2007 protocols, In: Journal of Transport Geography

This paper examines China’s considerations in reaching the 2004 and 2007 Air Service Agreement Protocols with the United States (US) and the impacts of such policy on the China-US market from the perspective of China. Analysis shows that the 2004 and the 2007 Protocols have profound impacts on the China-US market. The two Protocols have been associated with phenomenal traffic growth and intensified competition. Passengers also benefit from much more choice in terms of both airlines and routing. Over time, Chinese carriers’ operating performance and financial performance have gradually improved after the liberalization expressed in the Protocols. However, the industry’s hub-building initiatives are still seriously challenged by competing hubs in Seoul and Tokyo which have diverted substantial number of passengers moving between the China and US markets. Such issues have to be addressed in order to create a win-win outcome for both countries.

ME Dursun, JF O'Connell, Z Lei, D Warnock-Smith (2014)The transformation of a legacy carrier - A case study of Turkish Airlines, In: JOURNAL OF AIR TRANSPORT MANAGEMENT40pp. 106-118 ELSEVIER

This study examines the metronomic rise of Turkish Airlines into a global carrier in the period following domestic deregulation and part privatisation. Using a comparative assessment of the carrier's network and its competitive strategies during the 2003-2013/2014 period it was found that Turkish Airlines now benefits from considerable network, cost, service and brand advantages over competing European and to a lesser extent Middle-Eastern airlines. Its network operation based in Istanbul Ataturk airport enjoys strong geographic and demographic advantages, which enables it to optimise the use of its large and young short-haul fleet between a significant number of domestic and international points. This study has important implications for partially or fully state owned legacy carriers as to how to gain competitive advantages in an increasingly open and liberal airline industry.

Frankie O'Connell (2020)Short-term carbon emissions forecast for aviation industry in Shanghai, In: Journal of cleaner production275122734 Elsevier Ltd

Given the China’s fast-evolving aviation market, a reliable carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions forecast is essential to identify and mitigate the environmental impact of aviation market. Due to slot limits and airport capacity constraints in Shanghai, the rate of traffic growth has slowed down in recent years. However, the increasing number of regional and international flights tends to drive the fuel consumption and carbon emissions to an unexpectedly high level. This study uses a two-tiered bottom-up emissions prediction method for empirically estimating and forecasting air transport CO2 emissions on all the passenger flights to/from Shanghai. The Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) linear model was applied for a 5-year prediction of air transport fuel consumption and en route CO2 emissions. The research established that 36.49 million tonnes of CO2 will be emitted into the atmosphere by the end of June 2021, representing a 6.41% increase compared to the same period a year earlier. Market-based recommendations are proposed including a nationwide carbon market and a carbon offset scheme, accordingly.

Erdinc Akyildirim, Shaen Corbet, Marina Efthymiou, Cathal Guiomard, Frankie O'Connell, Ahmet Sensoy (2020)The financial market effects of international aviation disasters, In: International review of financial analysis69101468 Elsevier Inc

The spread of misinformation with regards to aviation disasters continues to be a point of concern for aviation companies. Much of this information usually surrounds speculation based on the cause and responsibility attributed to the incident, implicitly possessing the potential to generate significant financial market price volatility. In this paper, we investigate a number of stylised facts relating to the effects of airline disasters on aviation stocks, while considering contagion effects, information flows and the sources of price discovery within the broad sector. Results indicate a substantially elevated levels of share price volatility in the aftermath of aviation disasters, while cumulative abnormal returns present sharp under-performance of the analysed companies relative to international exchanges. When considering an EGARCH analysis, we observe that share price volatility appears to be significantly influenced by the scale of the disaster in terms of the fatalities generated. Significant contagion effects upon the broad aviation index along with substantial changes in traditional price discovery channels are also identified. The role that the spread of information on social media, whether it be correct or of malicious origins, cannot be eliminated as an explanatory factor of these changing dynamics over time and region.

Mark Shaw, Siobhan Tiernan, John F O'Connell, David Warnock-Smith, Marina Efthymiou (2021)Third party ancillary revenues in the airline sector: An exploratory study, In: Journal of Air Transport Management90101936 Elsevier Ltd

Some airlines, especially Low Cost Carriers (LCCs), have earned significant profits from revenues derived from ancillary revenues. However, to date few have been able to derive a meaningful portion of revenues from 3rd party ancillaries. The key to increasing these revenues comes from an understanding of passenger willingness to pay for 3rd party products/services, coupled with increasing customer awareness and consequently the all-important customer conversion. This study assesses the 3rd party ancillary services that passengers are more willing to purchase, along with the potential offers that might increase their willingness to purchase specific 3rd party services. A mixed methods approach was used consisting of a passenger survey and nine expert interviews. The main findings are that car hire, airport parking, and the sale of hotel rooms had the most significant associations with customer willingness to pay. It was also found that there was a significant association between specific offers and increased willingness to purchase. The 15% discount off a future flight, and to a lesser extent, hotel price guarantees were the most significant. Expert interviewees confirmed that the future sustainability of this revenue stream for airlines is centred on mobile digital devices, customer conversion, and exploiting potential market opportunities.

Shaen Corbet, Marina Efthymiou, Brian Lucey, John F O'Connell (2021)When lightning strikes twice: The tragedy-induced demise and attempted corporate resuscitation of Malaysia airlines, In: Annals of Tourism Research87 Elsevier Ltd

In 2014, Malaysia Airlines experienced two tragedies in quick succession, damaging the company's reputation and finances, with negative implications for Malaysian tourism. This research assesses the impact of this. We find that the share price response was immediate and substantive. The carrier implemented sweeping adjustments, while passenger traffic rapidly declined particularly in Asian markets. Malaysian Airlines augmented fare reduction after each accident to stem the ongoing leakage of passengers. Traffic from China witnessed sharp declines, signalling the severity of the incumbents' prognosis. We further examine the investor response and the ultimate government decision to nationalise and restructure. •We investigate the financial effects of the Malaysia Airlines disasters.•Share price response to both tragedies was substantial compared to previous incidents.•The reverberating shocks changed long-standing correlations and information flows.•International passengers sought other options despite lower fares offerings.•The most prudent choice was Malaysian state intervention to protect tourism industry.

Marina Efthymiou, David Usher, John F O'Connell, David Warnock-Smith, Gerry Conyngham (2021)The factors influencing entry level airline pilot retention: An empirical study of Ryanair, In: Journal of Air Transport Management91101997 Elsevier Ltd

Pilot retention has been a significant concern for airlines that find it difficult to recruit and maintain pilots who are classified as high skilled employees. The aim of this research is to determine the factors that influence pilot retention and investigate if these factors differ based on gender, age and level of commercial flying experience of pilots. A mixed methods approach was used. Quantitative information was collected via an online survey sent to 394 Ryanair pilots. Nine in-depth expert interviews were conducted. The pilots ranked, in order of importance, a number of retention-influencing factors spanning seven areas, identified with the help of interviewees and secondary research. The results of the survey indicate that the most important retention influencing factors are being based at home, working a fixed roster pattern for a financially stable airline, being paid a competitive salary and having job security. This research provides qualitative evidence that airlines can use to develop or update their financial and non-financial benefits packages and where necessary, amend work practices and maximise pilot motivation to stay. •Airlines generally face high rates of pilot turnover.•Seven category areas containing 30 subcategories influencing pilot retention are identified.•394 Ryanair pilots assessed their retention-influencing factors in the seven category areas.•The most important factors are: being home based, fixed roster, financially-stable carrier, competitive salary, job security.

David Warnock-Smith, Anne Graham, John F O'Connell, Marina Efthymiou (2021)Impact of COVID-19 on air transport passenger markets: Examining evidence from the Chinese market, In: Journal of Air Transport Management94102085 Elsevier Ltd

COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation and its impacts are expected to be significant, especially for the travel and tourism industry. This study contains a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of air transport capacity, traffic and revenue changes in domestic and international markets involving China with a focus on airlines, route networks and airports during the Covid-19 pandemic covering the period through to April 2020. Data from OAG and MIDT were used to analyse the Chinese domestic market, the traffic China to Europe and China to the rest of Asia. The analysis found that domestic markets, those served by well financed/funded air carriers, those less exposed to the highest rates of Covid-19 infection and those that are seeing the least restrictive lockdown and travel measures have been least impacted by the pandemic and are those that are most likely to rebound first. Less well financed/funded carriers whose networks are focussed on international markets, premium traffic and discretionary leisure travel have been found to be impacted most by the pandemic and are those that are likely to take the longest to recover. In terms of Chinese airports, performance has varied according to airlines served, characteristic of the airport/city, and the severity of the outbreak.

Marina Efthymiou, Sinead Whiston, John F O'Connell, Gavin D Brown (2021)Flight crew evaluation of the flight time limitations regulation, In: Case Studies on Transport Policy Elsevier Ltd

Fatigue has been a long-standing concern in modern aviation. The duty hours of those who operate (cabin crew and pilots) have increased significantly. In order to combat the effects of fatigue, operators must adhere to Flight Time Limitations (FTLs) strictly set by regulatory bodies. With advances in the science of fatigue, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in February 2016 altered the duty limits and rest periods. A quantitative self-report survey design using descriptive statistics, chi-square tests of association and probit regressions with marginal effect calculations gathered the crew perceptions about the impact of the FTL regulation change to fatigue levels, reporting and safety/just culture. Participants (n = 794) were commercial cabin crew and pilots operating under European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations. 73.2% said they have not reported fatigue to their airline and 81.7% having operated fatigued. Scales on Fatigue Knowledge and Just/Safety Culture were constructed. Each point increase on the 6-item Just/Safety Culture scale shows that respondents are 8.6 percentage points less likely to operate fatigued. This study signifies that fatigue is under-reported and is a real risk to safety in the aviation industry. A substantial change to the existing safety culture should be encouraged and the fatigue’s safety implications should not be underestimated and safety be compromised for maximum aircraft and labour utilisation.

Erdinc Akyildirim, Shaen Corbet, John F O'Connell, Ahmet Sensoy (2021)The influence of aviation disasters on engine manufacturers: An analysis of financial and reputational contagion risks, In: International Review of Financial Analysis74101630 Elsevier Inc

One of the key sub-sectors in the aviation industry includes that of engine manufacturers, who have long led technological advancement and the battle to reduce airline carbon emissions. However, these same companies have been susceptible to a number of issues that have been central to international airlines due to higher costs and competition pressures. When an aviation disaster occurs, there is widespread allocation of blame and responsibility, which has left engine manufacturers exposed until the true cause is identified. This can generate many issues with regards to reputational damage and ability to generate finance. We set out to analyse such interactions over time and region. Our results indicate that engine manufacturers have had to contend with substantial income and financial leverage issues in the aftermath of a major aviation disaster, irrespective of whether they have been identified as a causation factor in the incident itself. Further, we clearly identify that there exists an average one day loss of 1.64% in the immediate aftermath of aviation incidents. Substantial corporate instability is found to persist without the company being in any way responsible for the incident. Shortly thereafter, contagion effects increase as speculation diminishes and more factual evidence arrives. The role of social media is examined as a potential contributory factor. •We investigate the contagion effects of aviation disasters upon engine manufacturers.•Results indicate substantial income and leverage effects in the aftermath of disaster.•Significant abnormal returns are identified.•Such effects exist regardless of speculated causation factors.•The role of social media is examined as a potential contributory factor.

Additional publications