Old Nov 27, 11, 3:57 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: May 2001
Location: LAX; AA EXP, MM; HH Gold
Posts: 31,790
When fuel was cheap, small RJs made more sense despite their high fuel burn per available seat mile. In 1998-99, jet fuel averaged about $0.55/gal. So far in 2011, jet fuel has averaged over $3/gal, its highest annual average price in history (in nominal terms, not necessarily in real terms).

So fuel guzzling small RJs were acceptable 10-15 years ago when fuel was nearly free and mainline employees were a lot more expensive (before their bankruptcies and employee wage concessions). Now, on the other hand, mainline employees are much less expensive than they used to be and fuel is more than five times more expensive than 10-15 years ago. Small RJs will continue to be phased out if fuel stays where it is or goes higher, and large jets will slowly make a return. For some cities, that will mean a return of mainline planes but with fewer frequencies.
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