Airport classification in Chinese multi-airport regions

An interaction network perspective between aviation and high-speed rail


  • Yuting Chen Department of Geography, Ghent University
  • Kurt Fuellhart Unison Consulting
  • Shengrun Zhang College of Civil Aviation, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Frank Witlox Department of Geography, Ghent University, Belgium



The agglomeration of airports into multi-airport regions (MARs) has become one of the salient features of the worldwide air transport system in the last decades. Meanwhile, in China, the development of HSR is growing quickly, and is both competitive to and cooperative with the aviation network. To date some research has focused on the airport classification with aviation network properties within the specific MARs. However, little research comprehensively integrates complementary transport systems (such as civil aviation versus high-speed rail (HSR)) into the analytical framework for airport classification. The purpose of this paper is to identify the unique nature of component airports and their distribution in MARs in China from multiple perspectives by accounting for the influence of the HSR system. Airports are classified along multiple dimensions including competitive concentrations, the interaction between air transport and HSR, and airport community structure, among others. The results produce distinct partitions of the component airports in Chinese MARs, and provide insights into Chinese airport functionality and impacts of the HSR network on the distribution of different types of airports. The conclusions provide a more comprehensive assessment of airports’ spatial arrangement in the unique Chinese MAR context.  Although this paper did not derive the market share allocation and co-opetition relationship between a specific airport and HSR, it proposed a basic framework for future research.


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How to Cite

Chen, Y., Fuellhart, K., Zhang, S., & Witlox, F. . (2022). Airport classification in Chinese multi-airport regions: An interaction network perspective between aviation and high-speed rail. European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research, 22(2), 1–21.




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