When does a larger airliner pay off? Part 2

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By Bjorn Fehrm

March 14, 2024, © Leeham News: We are doing an article series about what drove the cross-over from Airbus A319 to A320 and then to A321. We start with the ceo range to understand at what passenger numbers did a route support the A319 versus the A320 and A321.

The same change in airliner size happened for the Boeing 737, but we will limit the investigation to the Airbus range as the modern variants, 737 MAX 7 and 10, are not yet in service.

We will use our Airliner Performance and Cost Model (APCM) to model typical sectors and see at what load factors the economics favor a switch.

Figure 1. The Airbus A320ceo with it's characteristic wing fences. Source: Airbus.

  • We develop the Passenger Mile Costs for the different A320ceo variants, A319, A320 and A321.
  • Then, we gradually lower the number of passengers transported on the A320 and A321 until we have the same Passenger Mile Costs for all variants. This shows how many more passengers a route must support to motivate a switch to a larger model.

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