I’m currently building an airline in Devau based on offering high-frequency mid-range flights operated on older MD-81s and 737-500s. Right now, I can lease five MD-81s for the price of leasing one Q400, so my strategy is to build up my network using these jets and then as I build up cash to slowly replace them with 737-700s and -900s. The only big gap I have right now is that I have a lot of mid-range capacity but the economics of flights under 750km or so don’t work out. I’ve played with the type evaluation and can’t seem to find anything that offers a good return without running 95% load factor on every flight. Even the Q400, while more profitable than other props, doesn’t seem to cut it.
Can someone suggest a good, cheap (hopefully under AS$25,000/installment lease) prop or small jet that could fit such a need for routes like HOU-AUS, HOU-DFW, FLL-MCO, FLL-JAX, etc? There are a lot of good airports that could use more service to my hub and connecting network if I can find the right equipment to run on it