Particularly under the current airline industry conditions why don't airlines such as AA or UA shift to using a single aircraft on 6 weekly rotations on routes such Mia-SAO -GRU instead of dedicating 2 aircraft to fill the route. Currently you see an AA 777 heading south at 11:20pm and returning North the next evening at 11:10pm, with about a 11+ hour layover at Sao Paulo.
Considering the depreciation and financing costs on not one but two 777's to fill this schedule, does not it under current circumstances make sense to offer a reduced fare on say a noon return from GRU to MIA? At some point the fares have to fill the aircraft so you can operate a single plane 18-20 hours per day with one day off for maintenance, and not tie up two planes with heavy amortization and debt expenses?. It's not like the competition or semi-competitors in the form of code share partners such as TAM are in that good of a shape, financially to counter.
Sure, sure the evening flights are preferred by businessmen, but surely at some point it has to make more sense to run fewer aircraft 18 or more hours per day rather than run a double fleet of pricey 777 with each a/c only averaging 8 flight hours per 24 hr period! Or do the handful of first and business class fares for the 11pm departure cover all the amortization and depreciation for the time in which the 777's are sitting on the ground?
Is there a Southwest financial wizard in the house? I don't want to ask an AA or UA financial wizard because based on their recent Income Statements, their qualifications are suspect at present.