WIT Press

Travelling Towards And From Minor Islands Through Non-conventional Air Transport: Demand And Cost Analysis


Free (open access)





Page Range

251 - 266




389 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


L. La Franca, M. Catalano, F. Castelluccio & F. Montano


This research addresses the role of innovative forms of passenger air transport in favouring the mobility of tourists visiting minor islands. In particular, we studied the feasibility of scheduled transport services using a helicopter and a seaplane for rapidly connecting Sicily in the south of Italy to the near and very attractive Eolie Islands. In order to estimate the potential service demand, we allowed for the number of tourists arriving in the Eolie Archipelago during the period 1999-2008. In detail, we considered only the market of visitors with a high willingness-to-pay for time savings (individuals choosing superior hotels) coming from origins at least 300 km away from the Eolie Islands. Furthermore, we excluded a quota of travellers not disposed to flying, determined on the basis of a previous study about air transport demand. We also considered as potential users of the proposed transport services a percentage of the Eolie Isles’ population that was set according to a recent study about the use of air transport by Sicilian residents. The resulting observations were employed to estimate forecasts through an ARIMA model. After a technical analysis to identify the types of helicopter and seaplane suited to implementing regular transport services, we performed a cost analysis concerning the proposed non-conventional air transport services (taking into account fixed, variable, trading and financial costs). In particular, based on the ARIMA model demand forecasts, we determined the service supply (daily frequency and number of aircrafts) in the different cases and evaluated the related total cost per passenger. At the final step, we compared the helicopter and seaplane options with the various existing transport alternatives that can be used to get to the Eolie Islands


helicopter transport, seaplane transport, tourist trips, minor islands, scheduled transport service