Hey, since you have paid the purchase price anyway, you may as well create a lab for learning to get yourself ready for the next game.
Find a midsized airport in the Midwest of the United States, and lease some Fokker turbo props. 5 is the sweet-spot, as the fixed costs will be decided 20% per airframe. For now, don't worry about age. An 18 year old Fokker can still make money with a 30 pax. demand route, and few people are obnoxious enough to challenge you for that route until things get really heated at your base. DO worry about when the next "d" check is, lease the aircraft in such a way that it is returned before that happens (latter on, you can buy aircraft and run the D check, but only do that if own, or if you have the aircraft leased for several years after)
For your first aircraft, set the minimum time for the turn around to 45 minutes, start at 6:30 am, and choose your routes based on distance (avoiding routes that already have competition). Start with the first 51 mile route that has at least 30 pax demand, go to the next nearest, and so on. You should be able to get 4 or 5 routes out of the aircraft, which will start making you $100k a week before the first 4 months are out. Rinse, wash, repeat. Pretty soon, you will be making around $400k a week, which is enough to grow on. You want to get to the point were your first base can sustain 15 aircraft.
That route you avoided because the demand was not worth it? It probably is open all night. Fly your aircraft there overnight. You won't make much money, but any time your aircraft is making money is better than it standing still. Crew costs work in such a way that you pay the same crew for an aircraft that is fully utilized as you do for an aircraft that has only one route, so for your overnight route, anything green is money ahead.
Advertise locally, radio and billboards only, save a few million to burn as operating costs until your route CI gets going. That should do you for as long as you want, if you are not in high competition. Once you plateau, do it again for 2 ad campaigns, your image will settle around 30, which is plenty for a commuter operation.