Well, if you think, Dunedin is an airport that would significantly benefit from any A220s on the WLG and AKL routes, which are currently only 3-4 daily, and could be increased to 5 daily each on the smaller A220. Internationally, the typical loads on the VA BNE flights would be perfect to fill an A220 3-4, maybe 5 times per week while the 180 seat 737 was a little too big, with typical loads being 90-120 outside peak times. Sydney could also sustain 2-4 flights a week based on the historical flights and demand, particularly on the smaller aircraft. Just on Dunedin routes, you could commit 3 aircraft.
When you add on all the other ports, theres potential for a decent size fleet, to replace the OX series A320, and add international capacity on thinner routes.
I hear what you're saying re DUD. Split ASM over more services on smaller aircraft. Therefore improving frequency which I've said is key.
Let's assume you'd opt for the E190-E2 which are list price $60m (+/-). How many are you getting? Let's say it's 4 and you're purchase offer was $200m USD. Factor in many other associated costs such as tech ops, parts, mx training even line MX across the network. Tech training and just tech numbers. For the fleet of 4 you're probably looking at 20 odd pilots with lower hours each but a need to redundancy in the pool..
Once you have an idea on the complete package cost. Sit in front of the CEO & Board and convince them this is what the airline needs to grow the market and grow revenue and how that investment will return profit.
Quickly we can see DUD-WLG/AKL are both served direct with several A320's and both via CHC on the regular ATR runs. So frequency is already there. Could the airline instead gradually look to increase the number of A320 services and they grow the market. How does this compare over the next 25 or so years (between now and the future end of life date for any E190's).
I guess what I'm saying is there's two proposition's here.
1) 5+ A220 services daily with ATR's via CHC
2) 3-4 A320 coupled with 8x ATR via CHC
When I write that and re-read what you've suggested, 3-4 moving to 5 daily. Would such an investment be worth the extra additional service?
With regard to thin international routes, that's fought with danger. Thin typically equals low demand and low yield. It's going to take you a long to time to pay off that investment and the other thing 'thin' represents is volatile and risk. So the likes of your DUD-BNE may be an option looking at previous passenger numbers but if they're all on K/G class fares it's going to take a long time to pay off your investment and if the market weakens where/how do you redeploy your equipment. If something is seasonal, do you have an option for off-season.
Worth putting on the table too - you can make them interchangeable Tasman/Domestic but you'll be carrying a heap of extra weight on all Domestic flights which is why some NZ's A320's are restricted to domestic only. With that in mind you make domestic more expensive, don't use them on international or your small fleet has become two very small fleets.
Like I've said. I'd love regional jets. I really would. They look sexy and would make a great addition to some of our smaller airports. But in my mind.
1) We're too geographically small.
2) Our domestic airports dramatically drop in size. AKL/WLG/CHC/ZQN to HLZ/DUD etc to NPL/ROT/NPE/NSN/PMR etc
3) Our main centers are split nicely geographically. Top middle bottom (AKL - WLG - CHC) which is a natural advantage.
4) Our main centers are very well connected.
5) Our regionals are well connected to the main centers.
6) Some regional centers are connected together with 1-2 daily.
To save several hundred million dollar investments and on-going costs could the airline continue doing what it is. Even if more ATR's were acquired?