Kukemelk found that very few studies had been undertaken of regional airlines and their competitiveness and sustainability, particularly in the context of the single European airspace.
The main question raised in the doctoral thesis is how to ensure the sustainability of regional airlines within the legal framework of the European Union. In the course of his research, Kukemelk reached the following conclusions:
1. Diversification of the service product is important in regional aviation.
2. Strategy and management sustainability are crucial in regional aviation in particular, where a great deal of emphasis is placed on business travellers.
3. It is important for a regional airline to have sufficient capitalisation that will enable them to weather short-term financial difficulties.
4. An integrated fleet of aircraft creates greater value and provides hope of a more sustainable future.
Kukemelk admits in the thesis that although fulfilling all of these points will not guarantee sustainability, his research shows that if these conditions are met, the probability of sustainability increases significantly.
The thesis was supervised by Kaire Põder, a professor of economics.
A founder of and partner in the aviation consultation company NA Advisory, Sven Kukemelk previously worked as the head of business development for the airline Nordica and as the director of Nordica’s subsidiary Regional Jet. He also served as chairman of the management board of Adria Airways.
The defence of the thesis can be followed online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZyDRPJ3CDo&feature=youtu.be.