93

Passenger operations are overwhelmingly scheduled whereas cargo is on demand and thus less easy to plan. The upside: A cargo plane crew will fly quite diverse routes. The downside: Capacity utilisation is worse. This shifts the balance of cost such that fixed cost must be lower than what is possible with scheduled services. As a consequence, older aircraft ...


81

Jet-A (and all turbine fuels) are far cheaper than 100LL (at least in bulk; retail prices vary due to local supply and demand as well as different regional tax regimes on aviation fuel) for several reasons. Scale Southwest Airlines alone burned through 1.9 billion gallons of Jet-A in 2015, dwarfing the mere 175 million gallons of 100LL that the entire US ...


74

The cost of a jet engine is mainly dictated by the operating conditions: high temperatures (sometimes above the melting point of the metals used) and high rotation speeds. This means you need high-performance materials even for a low-reliability engine: if you compromise material performance too much, it'll fail on the first start. Failures are risky. ...


55

The plane would be lighter. Not by much. It cannot be hard to dedicate different planes to different routes. This adds to the logistics difficulties in scheduling the airframes. It's MUCH easier if all the airframes can be used on all the routes. Returning the life jackets each time the plane has to fly over water. This involves extra down-time/...


41

Boarding takes a long time, true. There are more efficient strategies (.pdf) which have been proven to speed up boarding by between 20% and 50%, still they are not adopted. Why? You need to load the baggage, too. Also the catering. And fuel. You need to inspect the aircraft, run through checklists and brief the new crew. This all takes up time, too. ...


39

I remembered hearing that paint actually reduces the drag of the plane. Searching a bit I found this Boeing document describing it. So the painting reduces the fuel costs, instead of increasing them. Another interesting thing is, that planes are regularly repainted to keep the drag low. Of course there is the billboard effect too. From the report: In ...


32

You can only hire so many people at one place, and also only find so much land there, so when the whole process no longer fits, there is no other option than start building components at other places and move them to the final assembly place. In part, it is also historical. Airbus, but to an extent Boeing too, was formed by mergers of smaller companies as ...


31

There are a number of factors that go into it: Economies of Scale Jet-A is used in a much higher volume than 100LL. All the jet engine commercial aircraft each day burn through orders of magnitude more Jet-A than piston aircraft burn through 100LL. That means that there is a much higher production volume, and therefore a cost savings as a result. Buying ...


31

They do have temporary liveries. This is very common in wet lease operators, where an aircraft is flown for an airline during a peak period or when their planes are down for maintenance. Airlines want customers to feel they are getting the brand-name product they are paying for; they don't want customers to board a generic white jet. An airplane will be ...


30

Freight planes fly less. Since they're not in constant use like a passenger airliner, it makes more sense to pay less up front (fixed costs).


25

Quite apart from the paint preventing corrosion, which puts the lie to the idea that AA flies unpainted aircraft (they don't, they use a clear paint on metallic parts and metallic paint on non-metallic parts), there's the economic factor. Those aircraft are flying billboards for their owners. They are a major part of brand recognition. That's why they're ...


23

Your assumption that failure rates of identical engines in identical service are independent is probably not true. If it was true it would take a lot of proving, and the cost of that would end up adding to the costs of the engines. Failure is not random but depends on age/wear -- the classic bathtub curve demonstrates that. Then the load on the other ...


23

Here are some options for flying in an environmentally friendly way: Use an electric trainer: Since last year the all electric trainer aircraft Pipistrel Alpha Electro has FAA certification. Assuming the batteries are charged with renewable energy, this would mean no greenhouse gas emissions at all (excluding manufacturing). It will probably still take some ...


22

Takeoff power is almost never maximum engine power. Maximum power affects engine life as it brings significant wear to the engine. IIRC, if max power is used on takeoff, the crew must log an entry in the logbook to notify maintenance. Turbo-fans produce a lot of power. If you require max power to takeoff, you better double-check your numbers, or you're ...


20

You have not defined your benchmark/reference value, but a three-year-old article suggests this was possible depending on definition even at a very early stage for some airlines: ANA earlier this month was the first to reveal that its aircraft were producing around 21% lower fuel burn on international flights compared to the 767-300ER that the 787 is ...


19

If just like to add to the answers here and address a few inaccuracies made about air cargo. What you ask is true, some of the oldest aircraft out there are flying cargo, and most of the answers here are accurate, but some things are based on false assumptions. The question mentions full size airliners so I am focusing on that. I use FedEx as an example ...


19

The author does a very good job explaining the jet market. The key take-away is that it's all about economics. In many ways, narrowbodies may "wear out" faster as they typically fly shorter routes and accumulate more cycles in a shorter period of time. Pressurization cycles are a big factor in structural fatigue. But that's not the primary reason for ...


19

There are many considerations in where parts are manufactured or assembled, and not all are directly related to economics. Both Boeing and Airbus have assembly lines located around the world, so it can make more sense to consolidate production of components in one place. Manufacturing large parts requires a huge investment in tooling and machinery. For ...


18

Location matters. Where are you located? A hangar is not as important in a dry climate like Las Vegas as it is in, say, Miami. It may make sense to pay more for a hangar. Leaving a plane exposed to the elements you describe (0° - 100°, snow, wind, sun) will do damage over time. The plane won't corrode into a heap but little things will start to require ...


18

Why do airlines not remove the life jackets from planes that fly over land? They do, at least some of them. I fly on intra-European routes regularly (mainly Eurowings) and have never seen life jackets on flights that don't cross the Mediterranean. Obviously, the safety instructions don't include the life jacket demonstration either. I would guess that ...


17

The system you propose would be extremely heavy compared to existing aircraft. More weight means more fuel and more fuel means even more fuel to carry that fuel through the air, and even more fuel to carry that fuel and so on. Fuel is one of the biggest expenses an airline faces. It would also be extremely expensive. To gain any time, you'd have to have ...


17

I can give you two theories. One is it's a very very mild case of "overcontrolling" of the autopilot roll servo as it chases a perfectly wings level condition and continuously applies a teeny bit too much left, ooops, then a teeny bit too much right, oops, and back and forth. The aileron control circuit is cables running to hydraulics at the ailerons, ...


16

Some heavies (747, 777, A380) fly short- to medium-haul in Asia and the Middle East. You could say they're stealing jobs from 737's and A320's. Anyway, what I could find was for the US only. Checking the Revenue Passenger Miles Total by Aircraft Type for 2016 on transtats.bts.gov we find— All 737 variants: 153.2 billion All 777 variants: 38.3 billion ...


16

Is the takeoff power always maximum? No, unless it is required. Disadvantages for using full power on takeoff is higher fuel consumption, noise, and engine wear. Instead, takeoff performance is calculated and the appropriate thrust setting is used. You need lower setting if: runway is long no obstacle to clear during climb runway is dry temperature is ...


16

Because this can still happen. That’s US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River. They made a movie about it starring Tom Hanks. There’s no way to predict disasters, and had the plane been “efficient” having no life jackets, I suspect it could have meant a lot of people drowning. [But see comments.] So it’s better to plan for contingencies, especially ...


15

It will vary widely from aircraft to aircraft, but I will try to give some general estimates. Time on the Ground Part of what you are referring to what is sometimes called aircraft turn time. It's not really directly related to my calculations for your overall question (though it is certainly a factor for short-haul jets), but in this article, minimum turn ...


15

Wikipedia's B787 article states that: According to data from launch customer All Nippon Airways, the 787 surpassed the promised 20% fuel burn reduction compared to that of the Boeing 767. This newer (8 months old) article states that: Air Canada and Japan Airlines are on the way to achieve it.


15

"What am I missing here?" is a good question to ask. Cost of manufacturing is not the only cost involved, as other answers mention. Other costs include: How does the engine fail? Does it simply drop in performance or stop operating, or does it throw parts or blow up, damaging the aircraft? This may result in requirements for additional engines, kinetic ...


14

By using as much simulator time as possible.


13

While a simulator with motion simulation is more expensive to own/operate than a simulator without motion simulation it is still cheap compared to a real airliner So if the regs say a particular type of training can be done on either a real airliner or a full motion simulator then it is likely to be cost-effective to use the full-motion simulator. And as ...


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