Need some help



I’m in need of advice in regards to the best aircraft type to operate on some prospective scheduled airline routes.

Some information to help you:

The routes range from around 45 nm to 400-ish nm one way. However, the 400 nm route isn’t very frequent and most routes will be around 250 nm or less one way.

Tropical climate so it gets really hot at times. All airports basically at sea level.

The aircraft being considered are the:

BAE Jetsream 31
SAAB 340 (A&B)
Twin Otter
Beech 1900
EMB-120 Brasilia

Both a 19 seater and a 30 seater will be needed.

I am missing fuel burn figures for the last three so if someone has experience operating them I would much appreciate the numbers.

I do have the specs to compare them but I’m unsure how they compare when it comes to operating costs, maintenance, and also what issues might plague the aircraft that can’t be seen (or easily seen) by the numbers.

Also, if there are any other capable aircraft that I’ve left out, please let me know.

Many thanks in advance.


All are probably more aircraft than you need.

A jetstream or brasilia are going to be the easiest to acquire.

Do you REALLY need a 30 seater? If not the Jetstream is probably the best option.


The one obvious thing I see is the Twin Otter, while a great airplane, is too slow for any serious airline work over 100NM. If the 45 mile trip is into a short runway then it would be a good choice for that route.

Hot weather, even at sea level, kills performance. I live near a sea level airport with a 6200 ft. runway and have seen many times where the Brasilia operator can’t takeoff with a 1% upslope runway even with a 5 knot headwind instead having to takeoff downwind and downslope, this normally happens when they are fully loaded and the temps are over about 80F. Their trips are only about 150NM although they like to carry extra fuel going into the major airports in the area. Bumping a few people is not uncommon on hot days.

A friend of mine used to fly the Saab 340, he said it was a good airplane but there was a pretty good performance difference between the A and B models on warm days.

Having two different types of airplanes is not very cost effective. I would choose one and stick with it.


NOAA says it is 580 pounds/hour at normal cruise. Not sure how close that would be to normal cruise in an airline operation.


Thanks for the input.

I can see some payload issues with the Jetstream.



Yeah, I’ve generally avoided websites for the NOAA/NASA/Military and any other organisation that would alter their aircraft for special needs.


It’s 550/hour according to this: … notter.pdf


On a 45 mile trip I bet the block fuel would be more like 750 PPH.


drdisque & porterjet

I neglected to say, the competition currently runs 30 seater aircraft on a 200nm and two 400 nm routes. They only operate the 19 seater when passenger loads are really low, say 10 pax, or if an aircraft is down due to maintenance. They also occasionally use the 30-seater for higher loads on 45 and 70 nm routes.


I wouldn’t touch it unless;
I had enough capital to go through the setup and fly for a year with zero revenue.
I could supply a service that was notably better than the competition is already providing.
If you can’t do that just send me the money and I’ll flush it for you.


Do you mind if the money came from Nigeria? :smiling_imp:


lol. as long as you don’t want my bank account number first.


I have worked each type both on the ramp and load planning. I think the besy choices would be the Beech 1900 and Saab.
As you said, weight and balance would be an issue with the J31, especially on short hops. We operated them from STL and on short hops to SPI we would often have to bump 2 or 3 pax and a handful of bags. On the other hand at another airline we operated the 1900 and that thing was a tank. You could load it to the hilt, and full pax and would still usually be w/i the envelope and under MTOW.

30 seatwise were more comparable. The Saab has a a larger cargo bin and it seems a little bigger in the cabin, but both are pretty comparable.


Beech built almost 700 of the 1900 variants starting in 1984 and sold them worldwide to every type of operator that can be imagined. It’s conservatively estimated that 90% of them are still flying and, more importantly, making money.


Just ran across an ad for Saab 340 pilots for an airline in Mongolia. I know it’s not exactly tropical or sea level but is that you?


pfp217 & JHEM, much thanks for the input.

Any idea of operating costs of the 340 vs the E-120?

porterjet: Nah, I’m over here in the Caribbean somewhere :slight_smile:


well, it is tropical and it is sea level but it sure aint the Caribbean.

I would imagine the 340 costs a bit more but I have no idea how much.


The one thing about the available Beech’s is that, if you are flying PAX operations, the D model would be more inviting. The B’s and C’s are great cargo haulers but not very popular among PAX because of the very low cabin height. That’s the thing the Jetstream has above the Beech is the cabin is taller and wider (at least taller than the B and C model 1900s). And even the D model feels kinda like being in a dungeon as it’s very dark, and single seat on either side.