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Delta, American, and US Airways have submitted their complete applications for the new Brazil routes to the DOT for approval. Basically all of the follow applications say the same thing, why the applying airline would be a better choice than the other airlines. You can read all three applications in the links below if you want.

American Airlines Brazil Application

Delta Airlines Brazil Application

US Airways Brazil Application

However, there was only one thing that really interested me in the application. That one this is the projected fuel burn numbers for the route. The Airlines complain a lot about how expensive fuel is, these numbers may provide the best insight into how much the airlines actually spend. Lets have a look shall we?

So here I have pulled out the data, you see the airline code, the route, the aircraft, and the estimated amount of fuel needed in millions of gallons per year.

US PHL-GRU, 332, 12.6
US CLT-GRU, 332, 12.5

AA ORD-GRU, 772, 17.563
AA LAX-GRU, 772, 20.493

DL DTW-GRU, 763, 12.7
DL JFK-GRU, 763, 12.0
DL ATL-GRU, 763, 11.7

So on Philadelphia – San Paulo, US Airways expects to burn 12.6 million gallons of fuel flying an A330-200 twice a day (out and back) for a year.

How much of that is on a daily basis. easy enough to find out, divide the number of gallons by the 730, 2 flights a day, and you get the result in gallons.

US PHL-GRU, 332, 17,260.20
US CLT-GRU, 332, 17,123.28

AA ORD-GRU, 772, 24,058.50
AA LAX-GRU, 772, 28,072.60

DL DTW-GRU, 763, 17,397.26
DL JFK-GRU, 763, 16,438.36
DL ATL-GRU, 763, 16,027.40

What is that on a per-seat basis. First we look at the seat counts.

US’s A332 will have 258 seats
AA’s 772 will have 247 seats
DL’s 763 will have 210 seats

So we divide the amount of fuel per trip by the number of seats

US PHL-GRU, 332, 17,260.20/258
US CLT-GRU, 332, 17,123.28/258

AA ORD-GRU, 772, 24,058.50/247
AA LAX-GRU, 772, 28,072.60/247

DL DTW-GRU, 763, 17,397.26/210
DL JFK-GRU, 763, 16,438.36/210
DL ATL-GRU, 763, 16,027.40/210

So our totals on a per-seat, per-trip basis are (in Gallons):

US PHL-GRU, 332, 66.9
US CLT-GRU, 332, 67.68

AA ORD-GRU, 772, 97.40
AA LAX-GRU, 772, 113.65

DL DTW-GRU, 763, 82.84
DL JFK-GRU, 763, 78.28
DL ATL-GRU, 763, 76.32

It looks like US is the most efficient, but that is without factoring in the mileage. Using we can find the mileage (in STD miles) for each route.

US PHL-GRU, 4,734
US CLT-GRU, 4,623

AA ORD-GRU, 5,222
AA LAX-GRU, 6,156

DL DTW-GRU, 5,094
DL JFK-GRU, 4,745
DL ATL-GRU, 4,653

So we can determine the miles per-gallon, per-person by dividing the total mileage by the gallons per-person.

US PHL-GRU, 4,734/66.9
US CLT-GRU, 4,623/67.68

AA ORD-GRU, 5,222/97.40
AA LAX-GRU, 6,156/113.65

DL DTW-GRU, 5,094/82.84
DL JFK-GRU, 4,745/78.28
DL ATL-GRU, 4,653/76.32

This gives us a total miles-per-gallon per-person (higher is better just like your car) of.:

US PHL-GRU, 70.76 mpgpp
US CLT-GRU, 68.31 mpgpp

AA ORD-GRU, 53.61 mpgpp
AA LAX-GRU, 54.16 mpgpp

DL DTW-GRU, 61.49 mpgpp
DL JFK-GRU, 60.62 mpgpp
DL ATL-GRU, 60.97 mpgpp

So US has the most efficient operation and AA the least, but what of cost. Using today’s spot price for Jet A $2.71/gal we can find the cost per passenger per trip.

So the gallons on a per-seat, per-trip basis multiplied by the spot price in USD:

US PHL-GRU, 332, 66.9*2.71
US CLT-GRU, 332, 67.68*2.71

AA ORD-GRU, 772, 97.40*2.71
AA LAX-GRU, 772, 113.65*2.71

DL DTW-GRU, 763, 82.84*2.71
DL JFK-GRU, 763, 78.28*2.71
DL ATL-GRU, 763, 76.32*2.71

So the fuel cost to the airlines per-passenger in dollars is

So our totals on a per-seat, per-trip basis are (in Gallons):

US PHL-GRU, 332, $181.30
US CLT-GRU, 332, $183.41

AA ORD-GRU, 772, $263.95
AA LAX-GRU, 772, $307.99

DL DTW-GRU, 763, $224.50
DL JFK-GRU, 763, $212.14
DL ATL-GRU, 763, $206.83

So what do these numbers mean. First it tells us that US Airways runs the most efficient operation of the bunch if they are able to fill the plane. Second, it gives us a very rough idea of how much airline tickets should cost. These numbers are on a one-way basis. Assuming the standard rule of doubling ones marginal cost to achieve a decent return the average round-trip cost of LAX-GRU should cost on average $1231.00 and PHL-GRU should cost on average $725.20. For LAX-GRU the current low fare for random dates is $1024.00 and PHL-GRU is $994.00. So in an over-simplified world AA is positioning itself to lose money and US to make money. That kind of shows why one company just went through Ch. 11 and is merging with another.

Happy Travels!


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