How Much One Flight Costs Airlines?

How Much One Flight Costs Airlines? Have you ever wondered what it costs for a large airline to operate a typical flight? For example, for a flight from New York to Los Angeles, how much would Southwest Airlines spend on its crew, fuel and other cost items?

The cost difference varies according to the flight duration, the size of the aircraft and the average price of the aircraft fuel in Southwest Airlines.

b737-800 southwest airlines

How Much One Flight Costs Airlines? pic: Boeing 737-800 of Southwest Airlines


These aspects can help you answer questions such as costs and, consequently, ticket prices, may vary according to routes and flight capacity, and how an increase in the price of fuel can affect flight cost of Southwest Airlines.

The base case shows a typical Boeing 737 Series flight of 160 seats capacity for almost 2,500 miles between New York and Los Angeles.

As reported by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the financial metrics of Southwest Airlines, we estimate that it will cost the company almost USD 37,000 to operate one of those flights.

You can modify the entries such as Air miles, Number of seats, Hours of flight, Price of fuel, etc. to estimate the operating cost of Southwest Airlines flight for any route and for an airplane of any size.

While from year to year, the cost of fuel has the greatest variability, it represented almost 22.3% of the flight operating expenses in 2017. However, employees continue to be the most expensive component for Southwest, representing almost 41.4% % of operating flight expense.

You can go to our interactive board to see how different cost components can vary for different flight routes. For example, although the cost of fuel is directly proportional to the capacity, duration and length of the flight, we estimate that the cost of maintenance and repair depends mainly on the size of the flight and the number of hours flown.
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