At the ISTAT conference in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines CEO Dr. Temel Kotil shared an interesting view on how the airline selects an aircraft for a certain route: For to 4-5 hour segments, a single aisle aircraft has a lower cost per average seat mile, while on longer routes, a twin aisle aircraft is more effective.
Having Europe, Middle East (including parts of China and India) and Africa within 3,000NM distance, Turkish Airlines is able to effectively reach many of these destinations with a single aisle aircraft. Moreover the airline tries to fully exploit an aircraft’s range.
But in order to avoid spillage and retain highest revenue level s, the airline departs from this theory when necessary. For example, Dr. Kotil stated that on the route Istanbul-Kinshasa, he prefers to deploy a 737-900 than and A330 for the seven hour flight. On this route with the 737-900 Turkish makes a profit whereas with a larger aircraft they will not.
But by the same token, many fliers will refuse to fly seven hours on the tiny 737s. I remember Lufthansa had chartered 737 flights between Frankfurt Mumbai. Who would ever fly that distance on the 737!?
Those 737s were PrivatAirs’ all business class versions, which in the beginning had a small eco section but with generous spacing… and these worked rather well as route developers… A biz seat is a biz seat and in eco, most fliers will go for pricing, so that will be ok… A lot of single-asile A319/A320 and 737s do have an inch or two more spacing in eco for such flights: see also QR, EY…