“Air transport is at the heart of my research because it’s not only a passion, but a fascinating sector.” Dr Paul Chiambaretto, the MBS professor currently featured in Capital magazine


A teacher-researcher in marketing and strategy at Montpellier Business School and a specialist in air transport, Dr Paul Chiambaretto was interviewed by Capital, the monthly economics magazine, for his take on the Gulf airlines’ strategies and the impact on their European counterparts. He shared some of his findings with us, citing the parallels with the lessons he teaches our students on the Master’s, MSc and Air France VAE programmes.

“I’ve been following the development of the Gulf airlines — Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways — for nearly ten years now. A portion of my thesis was dedicated to these airlines, specifically the case of Qatar Airways,” recalls Dr Chiambaretto. “I was working on the history of the airline and its alliance strategy. As a result of this work, my various publications and my involvement in Air France or in the Directorate General for Civil Aviation, Capital contacted me to appear in its special edition on the transport industry. The challenge is to understand why and how these companies are developing so quickly and how European companies can respond.”

“It’s a fact that, for the past twenty years or so, the leaders of the Gulf countries have decided to invest massively in air transport and tourism to manage their post-oil economic transition,” explains Dr. P. Chiambaretto. “It’s a major development axis for these countries, so they have a very hands-on approach in assisting their airlines. It’s the opposite in Europe, where the air sector is pretty much left to its own devices. In these conditions, European companies have to look around for the means to react, faced with the development of the Gulf airlines.”

Professor Chiambaretto expands on the analysis he shared with Capital magazine, explaining, “European airlines react in a number of ways. Their first strategy is moving upmarket whilst reducing costs. The goal is to improve the quality-price ratio, while promoting the kind of excellence à la française exemplified by Air France. They do this, for instance, by modernising the cabins on long-haul flights, particularly on routes where there’s strong competition from the Gulf airlines. At the same time, European companies are lobbying governments and the European Commission to ensure that all airlines work under the same rules and that the competition is fair.”

From research to the classroom, there’s only one small step, which Dr Chiambaretto makes every day to deliver his results and analyses to his students. “Naturally, these examples and themes are also addressed in my courses, particularly those covering air transport management and marketing, which start in May with the Master 2 students,” he adds. “It will be an opportunity to work on the economic models of airlines, the legal framework of air transport, business models, and network development strategies. Ultimately, I try to offer students a broad outline of the leading economic and managerial issues in this fascinating sector.”

Thank you, Professor, and keep up the good work: your research is enlightening to managers and students alike!

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Read the interview with Dr Paul Chiambaretto in Capital (in french) > https://media.wix.com/ugd/b29463_6f7593da16f243c9b703a3e208fe2cbc.pdf