..it comes to open a new route, a certain number of parameters must be thoroughly analyzed in order to determine whether the route can be operated with a pre-determined aircraft type.


First of all, it is necessary to determine in detail all the constraints applicable on that route, such as traffic rights and overflight permits, but also the capability, for the chosen aircraft, to operate to and from the chosen airports without payload restrictions (for example, hot and high limitations, or pavement resistance issues thru ACN/PCN values). If restrictions are applicable, those will be taken into account for the next phase of calculations, as they can have an important impact on the route revenue generation capability.


The next step in order to determine the route feasibility, is to determine the flight time, which will allow us to calculate the quantity of fuel the aircraft will have to take off with. In order to do that, we need to actually plan a standard route taking into account any en-route restrictions and wind data to obtain the actual flight time and, of course, the trip fuel. Adding up all the mandatory reserves, we have then a standard block fuel for that specific route, which, added to our Estimated Zero-Fuel Weight (EZFW, which includes the aircraft, crew, catering, baggage and passengers for a full flight), will give us an Estimated Take-Off Weight (ETOW). The ETOW will then be compared to the Maximum Take-Off Weight (either the actual maximum for the aircraft, or a Reduced Take-Off Weight if constraints are applicable).


If the ETOW is higher than the MTOW/RTOW, restrictions will have to be applied to ticket sales in order to reduce the weight below the maximum allowed Take-Off weight. If the ETOW is lower, we can take the difference in order to determine, in conjunction with all the other limitations of the aircraft such as maximum hold compartment weight and the Maximum Zero-Fuel Weight, how much cargo may also be carried.

Direct operating cost analysis for a pre-determined route


Once all the weight constraints have been calculated, and operational feasibility is confirmed, comes the most important phase, conjugated with route revenue calculations: the direct operating costs (DOC) analysis.


For that, all the factors must be taken into account:

' Aircraft property-related costs (leasing/ownership, insurances, …)

' Maintenance costs

' Crew costs (salaries, perdiems, HOTAC, transport, …), by determining the crew needs in accordance to the airline service

  standards and Flight Duty Period regulations applicable to the operator’s country of certification.

' Fuel costs

' Handling fees

' Air Nav and landing charges

' Catering, de-icing (if applicable)

' Other costs when applicable


Once all those costs are calculated, we have the DOC for the said route. Those costs, placed into perspective with the calculated revenue, will then show us whether or not a route can be profitable.