NorCal From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2419 posts, RR: 5 Reply 1, posted (4 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 4331 times:
Only on certain regional routes where there is little to no competition so you can charge several hundred dollars for a one way ticket. A lot also depends on the cost of gas. When oil was over $100 a barrel I doubt there were many routes that made money. I've heard that when oil is below $50 a barrel RJs can usually make money, don't have anything to back that up besides what I've heard. Of course there are a lot of variables and it's pretty hard to come up with a set of conditions that guarentee a profit everytime for RJs (or any plane).
A lot depends on the CASM of the regional airline flying the route. Pinnacle, Mesa, GoJet etc. can run a flights a lot cheaper than Skywest, ASA, Horizon, etc.
In general routes like ORD-JFK, SFO-LAX, etc. are probably in the red for RJs. While routes flown from major hubs to cities you've never heard of probably are profitable. The best chance for profit in a RJ is probably a small city with one airline, 1-2 flights a day, over 500 nm from the hub. Shorter than 500nm would be best served by a turbo prop.
Brains From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 256 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (4 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3952 times:
At my airline, we operate no hub to hub flights, in fact we operate few flights from our hubs to any of the larger airports in the eastern US. This is for exactly the reasons NorCal explained above. Its more profitable for our parent company to operate mainline flights on modern larger aircraft, carrying more passengers for not terribly different burns. Whereas we can carry a full RJ from any one of our hubs to some dinky little outstation and make a buck, therefore make a buck for our parent company/codeshare partner. It comes down to a cost per seatmile thing. Big plane with a lot of empty seats is probably going to lose you some money. A full 50 seat RJ to our little middle of nowhere outstation (once a day even better, can you say increased ticket prices) is going to do you a lot better. Of course heavier you're going to burn more fuel, but its not going to make a hell of a lot of difference at the end of the day as long as the plane is full and you're not giving the tickets away.
9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1367 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (4 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3857 times:
It's extremely hard to determine the answer to this question as it's very complex. Mainline carriers outsource a lot of flying to various small jet operators,not so much to make a point to point route profitable,but rather make the entire network profitable. An example would be where they can fly a passenger from a small station to a hub with a connection on to the mainline carrier's longhaul international flight. On it's own the regional flight may not have generated a profit but it did for the network. That's may explain why certain regional routes operate and others do not,it's what the route provides in connection passengers to the network. The point to point customers on these regional routes are the gravy. I can think of one major airline that never cared too much for the O&D market on regional routes and would terminate the service unless it was providing passengers for the entire network,sounds crazy,but there you have it.