Well the post-mortum on Locke Air in Vegas was a combination of fuel prices and C/D checks. My biggest losers when prices went high were my 767's, which, admittedly, I'm still learning how to use on long-haul routes. They simply were not paying for the leasing costs, even though my individual long-haul routes were profitable. The 767's also were not used very efficiently outside their big long haul's, I didn't have the time (I was on vacation when I failed), to add a large number of routes to about 30 767's with 5-6 hours of spare time, each aircraft, every other day (working around maintenance and some shorter routes I HAD set up). The cash reserves were very low over the last 4 years, and D checks came and were taken care of for most, but not all, of my planes. The C checks came up early after last year's D checks, and I didn't have cash to spend on them. C checks expired, then planes started getting grounded a couple months later, and fines were accrued, and of course I still had bills to pay. When I finally bankrupted (2 days early from the game's forced BK), I was about 1 billion negative cash, with 600 million in loans. When I was about 600 million negative cash I put all the MD-80's not used as collateral (about 35) on the market because it was still "theoretically" possible for me to get positive, pay for maintenance, and continue with my other aircraft (70 leased MD-80's, 20 more owned and used as collateral, 40 Airbuses, 30 767's, 10 777's, and 12 Q-400's). There ya go buddy! Be careful with the C-check scheduling (I suggest, once you get in the 100's of aircraft range, staggering them out so they don't all come up in the spring, making you negative, and thus you spend the rest of the year getting positive; do like 10 a month or something just to spread it out). Also don't go into long-haul's too early. I really should have just bought another 100 MD-80's and soaked up the rest of the routes in the US from Vegas (there were tons I didn't even fly to past the 1560 range on the east coast). Fleet commonality was a small issue, but the costs were probably only 5-10 million higher a month from the new types I added (airbuses, q400's). Good times! And props go to Go Away in Vegas - tough cookie.
Also I agree with whoever mentioned the density strategy. It's awesome and I love it. And another note from someone else about aircraft purchases was right on. I almost bankrupted in 2002-2003 when I took delivery of 10 purchased 777's. Had to sell every single one of them over the next year (at a marked up price
I probably made 20 mil each plane).