- you're 100% correct: not least because three engines will always burn more fuel than two - it's a sad fact of life. However, there are occasions - such as when an airline doesn't have ETOPS certification - when they are invaluable; whatever the cost.
What numbers do you want? Check out www.celticairways.com - the numbers are all there.
- I was wondering when you'd realise who I was!
I agree that they have been flown hard; but that's what the L10 likes best. It hates sitting around on the ground doing nothing - ask Air Atlanta.
Bear in mind that the package we're getting from DL is everything
L1011 - every spare part, every engine, every airframe, every simulator, all tooling, the contents of the L1011 wheel, brake, APU and RB211 overhaul facilities, all documentation, design authorities etc etc. As you rightly pointed out, DL is getting out of the L1011 business and it's a huge volume of stuff.
However, it means that we - and our contracted suppliers - can and will do everything that DL has been doing.
As for crew pay, remember that over here we pay our guys a lot less than DL - and a heck of a lot less than the DL crews want to be paid!
That said, with allowances and flight pay crew members can expect to add at least a couple of thousand dollars a month to their basic salary; more for ACMI contracts in 'iffy' parts of the world. Remember, there are many operations, even in your part of the world (the Caribbean, for example) where crews are being paid US$5k/mo or less.
This of course has a significant benefit for us. American Trans Air offers out their L1011-500s at US$5,800 per hour, with a minimum utilisation of 280 hours per month - dropping to US$5,100 thereafter. We offer the same aircraft at US$4,500 per hour with just a 200 hour minimum - dropping to US$4,250 per hour thereafter. From a marketing perspective, who's going to get the business - ATA or us?
One thing I really must take issue with you on is the lack of benefit of a three crew flight deck. You'll remember I said: there is no benefit whatsoever in a two crew flight deck on long range aircraft
- the emphasis being on long range aircraft
. A three crew aircraft has an allowable duty time of 12 hours - a two crew one 8 hours. This means that I could use the same crew to do a round trip involving say four hours flight time each way without difficulty - a two crew aircraft would require a second crew, with all the costs that entails. Long flights require a heavy crew - one, or sometimes even two - crew members on the part of a two crew aircraft; again, I can accomplish those flights with my normal complement. Finally, this side of the pond we use professional flight engineers who are capable of identifying the potential problem, arranging required parts with base and signing off the aircraft if it requires any work - a two crew operation couldn't do that!