Featured Map for 23 February 2023:
Cranky Network Awards 2023: Best Aircraft-Enabled Opportunity


Cranky Network Awards 2023
The 2023 Cranky Network Awards will be presented in Phoenix this Thursday by Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. At the ceremony, The Cranky Flier will award the best in US/Canada airline network planning. The previous two Featured Maps looked at the nominees for the two Sexiest New Route categories, both Short-Haul and Long-Haul.

Today we'll look at the Best Aircraft-Enabled Opportunity category, which for me is the most interesting category because it pushes the economic limits. Not like the Sexiest New Route – Long-Haul category, which includes some world-spanning routes that push the envelope, but more modest routes that only make economic sense to fly with small-yet-capable aircraft. Sometimes technological advances aren't just about the biggest and baddest.

It's no surprise to see the Airbus A220-300 appear twice on this list. Carrying 120-150 passengers in a 2-class configuration with a range of 3,913 mi / 6,297 km, the aircraft is perfect for new long, thin routes. (The smailler A220-100, which seats 100-120, has a slightly longer range of 3,971 mi / 6,390 km.) Air Canada puts 137 seats on theirs (including 12 premium seats) while Breeze has just 126 seats thanks to a generous 36-seat premium cabin.

American's entry, operated by Envoy Air with an Embraer E175, uses the aircraft's performance not for range but rather for a short runway. The single runway at Ian Fleming International Airport, which serves Ocho Ríos, was just 3,000 ft / 914 m until it was lengthened in 2010. Even now, at 4,769 ft / 1,454 m, it's a fairly short runway, though for the short hop to Miami it's no challenge for the Embraer E175.

A step up from the A220-300, the Airbus A321LR that SAS will fly on their nominee seats 180-220 in a 2-class configuration (SAS puts just 157 seats on their examples, in a 22/12/123 configuration) with a range up to 4,603 mi / 7,408 km. Three Additional Centre Tanks (ACTs) add extra fuel relative to an A321neo for extra range. SAS flies the Airbus A330-300 from Newark to their hub at Stockholm but with 262-266 seats the aircraft is too big for the thin route to Göteborg. With over 100 fewer seats, the A321 is a better fit and the A321LR version provides the necessary range.

Icelandair has long operated a fleet built around the Boeing 757 but the 183-184 seats in Icelandair's version of the 757-200 may be too much to break the ice in a new market. With 160 seats, the 737 MAX 8 is a more suitable size and offers significantly better range than the pre-MAX 737s that Icelandair once flew.

Today's Featured Map shows these five nominees for the Best Aircraft-Enabled Opportunity category.

(If you're at the event please look for me and say hi!)

References and additional information:



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