Two short hops or one long for LCC long-range?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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August 24, 2017, © Leeham Co.: We presented WOW Air yesterday, a long-range LCC which is using its Reykjavik, Iceland, hub to fly passengers over the Atlantic in two shorter hops instead of one long one.

It allows WOW Air to operate with single aisle A320 family aircraft instead of the classical long-range widebodies. But is it a more economical way of flying? The distance over the hub is longer than if flying direct, Figure 1.

Figure 1. Distances when flying Berlin-Chicago direct or over Reykjavik. Source: Great Circle Mapper.

We use our performance model to understand if two shorter hops with an Airbus A321 is a lower cost alternative to flying passengers direct with an Airbus A330.

  • What is the most economical way to fly? Two shorter hops with an A321or one longer with the A330?
  • Our airline performance model gives the answer. We calculate fuel burn and compares Cash Operating Costs (COC) using WOW Air as example.

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