There are like millions of threads, blog posts and studies all over the Internet regarding this matter. Just do a simple Google search and see for yourself.
In short, there are two main differences between regional jets and turboprops:
RJ is faster
TP burns less fuel per hour
On short flights (~350nm or ~60 minutes), TP’s slower speed is hardly noticeable, while fuel burn is significantly lower than RJ’s. I had a look at the performance tool for the ATR72-500 and Embraer 170 in AirlineSim and found out that this is nicely simulated, as expected.
On longer flights, TP’s slower speed becomes obvious. Furthermore, TP will spend more time in the air meaning that it will also burn more fuel than an RJ. I had a look at the performance tool for the ATR72-500 and Embraer 170 again and found out that this, however, is not simulated at all. ATR was still more fuel efficient than E-jet in AS.
So, I have two questions now:
@ASTeam: Is this issue going to be fixed in the next performance system you talk about (or anytime sooner/later) ?
@OperatorsOfRJsInAS: Why the hell do you use aircraft that have considerably higher acquisition, fuel, maintenance, staff (…) costs? Am I missing something here?
Don’t forget fuel burn isn’t the only factor involved in operating costs. Greater utilization has been mentioned previously, but in reality this is reflected in fixed hourly operating costs (crew, maintenance etc…) obviously the break even distance varies based on aircraft type. Also passenger preference must be considered, passengers may accept the TP on a shorter flight, but on longer flights there’s a clear discrepancy between the TPs and RJs.
This is also a good opportunity for me to mention the Dash 8-400 in the game has inaccurate performance figures which I’ve mentioned repeatedly (cruise speed is actually 660kmh!)
I’ve recently done some research on the Q400 series, as we are working on the new performance system. I found out that typically, the cruise speed of 414mph / 667 kph is NOT reached by airlines in service, as this velocity is reached at 17000ft. The Q400 usually operates around 25-27000ft, where cruise speed is traded for economy.
If you have any data differing from what we dug up, please get back to me via PM . We’d be thankful!
Unfortunately your wrong, I fly the Q400 You’ll find the aircrafts max IAS is 285 achieved at around FL180, above this the aircraft becomes limited by mach number (0.6 due to the propellers entering trans-sconic range if set to max in an emergency descent). In any case this still gives, from 170-250 a TAS of 350. Highspeed cruise is used in normal operation as the fuel saved hardly offsets the extra fixed costs associated with reduced speed (Intermediate speed cruise saves 20% in fuel but adds 10% more time). As for FL270, this is only available on the Q400 with the option of drop down oxygen, as this generates more costs in terms or weight, installation etc. its not an option selected by most airlines as withou the aircraft is certified to FL250 so the extra 2000’ gives almost no benefit.