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Breakeven Point on RJ / Brasilia

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Well-known member
Dec 11, 2001
I have more of an investing question than flying question. I am curious about the breakeven point for the 50 seat RJ and the Brasilia (has 19 seats I think).

How many passengers to you need in the plane to make it profitable?
Dont know about the breakeven point but the EMB-120 Brasilia has 37 seats last time I checked.
when did you start smokin' crack??

the brasilia has 30 seats, and at skywest at least, a foward and aft galley configuration...... all with 30 seats.

as to the question above:
as you may or may not know, we get paid to fly these routes regardless of load factor by our 'mother' carriers. i've heard that we can have just one passenger on a brasilia and still make money. i think the same holds true for an RJ, although we probably need a few more than one. i'm sure many will disagree, but i think the RJ is actually cheaper to operate per seat mile than the brasillia. the purchase price, crew salary, fuel costs, etc.... are cheaper on the weed-wacker, but maintenance and fleet standardization is where the RJ pulls ahead on overall operating costs. at least that's my understanding. if you're looking for a straight 'break-even' number for operating an independent RJ or Brasilia..... i could make a WAG (wild ass guess), but there are a lot of variables to consider..... -sr.
With pre-Sept 11 yields, the quote I heard was 21-22 seats on the RJ and 6-8 seats on the 30 seat EMB-120. Now that ticket prices have been slashed, I would figure that number to be a couple of seats higher. But, on the other hand, fuel is a little cheaper. I don't know about the 120, but the RJ will burn half the trip fuel on a typical trip in takeoff and climb. Then it just sips it. Point is, the trip length has something to do with the breakeven, at least as fuel is concerned.
It depends...

I heard that the ASA RJ flying from ATL to FAY only needed 7 passengers to break even. However, on a longer, or shorter leg, these numbers can be different. Also, depending on pay rates, fuel costs, etc. The formula is NOT set in stone...it changes. What you need to do is call Bombardier, and see what their DOC (direct operating cost) is per hour, then see how many seats you need to fill ( and at what price per seat). There are MANY variables. Typically with airlines, fuel and crew costs come before others, however, at some of these regionals, crew costs might be lower on the list since they pay so little.
The EMB-110 was the 19 seater. It's called the "Banderante". Please excuse the misspell on Banderante...it's pronounced "bonder--on--tay" or at least that's what ORD center would call us once and a while.
One can play the "I heard it only takes X seats to break even" all day long, but if you want the facts and accurate data and analysis, go to a professional.


Those are 2 I can think of off the top of my head. The truth is, the break even load factor depends on a variety of factors such as stage length, yield, etc. The B/E LF changes for every route on a day to day, leg-to-leg basis obviously. Everything the airlines publish is average B/E LF's, and is never broken down by fleet type, city-pair, etc. Its very vague.


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