One or Two hops cheapest for long flights?

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By Bjorn Fehrm


May 26, 2022, © Leeham News: There is a notion that it’s better to fly a long flight in two hops rather than one long flight. The idea is that the plane has to carry extra fuel to bring the fuel for the last bit of the long flight, increasing its drag due to weight.

So far, the theory. Is it also the case in practice? We use the Leeham airliner performance and cost model to find out.

LEVEL is an example of the long-haul low-cost operator we look at. Source: IAG.

  • The widespread hypothesis of two shorter flights being more economical than a single long flight needed a check.
  • When we check it with an operational cost model that considers all cash costs, we conclude the hypothesis does not apply to normal long-range flights.

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