Using numbers collected from DOT filings, the Airline Data Project at MIT has determined that pilot costs on a wide-body jet run $1,043 per hour, while maintenance costs add another $1,376 per hour. By comparison, a single-aisle aircraft with 150 or fewer seats costs only $1,372 per hour for both pilots and maintenance. But a spokesman for American Airlines says carriers must look at more than raw hourly costs when deciding whether aircraft are profitable. "It'll certainly cost far more raw dollars to fly that wide-body, but simply put, you are spreading those costs" over more passengers flying a longer distance, he says.

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