+35% Increase in Fuel Prices Sinks Air Service to Small Towns
“We all got carried away with it,” says Glen W. Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president for network planning, revenue management and marketing.
Chart: Weekly US Jet Fuel Prices
In the late 1990s, when jet fuel cost one-fourth of today’s prices, the small jets and turboprops were a profitable way for airlines to connect people in small cities to the rest in the world. The flights attracted business travelers who tended to pay more for tickets.
Then jet fuel prices soared. They’re at $3.16 per gallon today, up from 78 cents in 2000. That’s changed the economics of small planes.
Nearly all so-called regional jets sold between 2010 and 2019 are expected to have 51 seats or more — with the biggest category being jets with 76 to 130 seats, according to Forecast International.