There are currently 182 airport-rail links worldwide, with more being built every year (IARO,
2012). The focus of these links, and the current associated literature is generally on highspeed
rail and CBD-centric services. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the
relationship between airports with regional airline-rail alliances resulted in a relatively more
successful competitive strategy than those airports without such relationships. Using a
comparative case study method, four airports were analysed to address this question. Firstly,
the study uses Porter’s (1979) five forces model to analyse industry competition. Several
common factors were discovered that drive the strategies in each of the four case studies.
Secondly, the study found that the successful case studies have strategic options that are
aligned with Porter’s (1980) model of three generic competitive strategies. Finally, funding
support from central government is essential to the building and sustainable operation of all
four of the case studies. The study concludes, that regional airline-rail alliances are beneficial
to airports as a competitive advantage, provided the political support for infrastructure
investment is present.