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Author Topic: Started Today - Challenging to start up  (Read 2206 times)

mondialworld

  • Former member
Started Today - Challenging to start up
« on: January 06, 2010, 09:39:57 PM »
Hi guys!
This is my first post and first day on the game :)

Well, i'm crashing into reallity after the "honey-moon" demo game where i make a killing.

Obviously i have already noticed the difference. I am starting at the domestic US market and it's very difficult to take share of companies with a great image and months of hard work building up for it.

so i wonder, should i wait until the next game to open up or is there still chance for me?

best wishes,
Dan.-

Offline Sigma

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Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2010, 11:33:13 PM »
It's more difficult for sure, but it's far from impossible.  There's still lots of routes that have little demand.  Chicago, at least the last time I checked a couple days ago, still didn't even have an airline headquartered there.  Sure, some routes are full from other airlines, but there's still hundreds of routes with sufficient demand for an A320/737 at the least, and a great many with several  hundred demand per day that's unfilled.  And that's just one airport of many.

Besides, if you can survive this game with the higher fuel prices and competition you'll very valuable experience later.  Chances are if you wait to start at the start of another game you'll still BK as you learn a few things.  Take the opportunity now to stumble and be ready to go at a full sprint when the next games start.

mondialworld

  • Former member
Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2010, 12:28:38 AM »
Sigma,

Thanks for your reply and advise. I have found very interesting posts of yours in the forum.
Curiously i have picked the very same HQ you are on :)

I'm learning and i have now more insight of how to pick my next HQ when i need one.

cheers!
Dan.-



Offline schro

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Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2010, 02:17:27 AM »
A big bankruptcy at DCA just happened.  ORD is empty from a big bankruptcy a week or two ago.

There's been a ton of big BK's lately - I think it has to do with the rapidly increasing fuel prices tanking airlines that weren't sufficiently profitable to sustain an expense increase.

mondialworld

  • Former member
Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2010, 11:41:19 AM »
Surely you are both right.
I have done some research homework and found a couple niche options to explote.
I will be declaring my first BR now and move on with a different strategy.

thanks guys,
Dan.-

hybridace101

  • Former member
Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2010, 03:27:55 PM »
Hi!  I'm also relatively new to this game world.  My airport is based in MNL and have 2 used A320s leased from another firm.  Was it a mistake to order those 2 aircrafts as I have been in the red for quite a long time.  I keep targeting "high demand" routes from my home base with corresponding marketing campaigns but still no luck. 

I plan to declare bankruptcy if the situation doesn't improve.  If I want to start from scratch using the same MNL base, how can I avoid the same financial problems?  Should I only have 1 aircraft and 1 route?

Offline schro

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Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2010, 04:38:28 PM »
Hi!  I'm also relatively new to this game world.  My airport is based in MNL and have 2 used A320s leased from another firm.  Was it a mistake to order those 2 aircrafts as I have been in the red for quite a long time.  I keep targeting "high demand" routes from my home base with corresponding marketing campaigns but still no luck. 

I plan to declare bankruptcy if the situation doesn't improve.  If I want to start from scratch using the same MNL base, how can I avoid the same financial problems?  Should I only have 1 aircraft and 1 route?

It appears that you just restarted, but what I can see of your new incarnation is that you've got 1 A320 flying 1 flight per day on a 520 mile route.  If thats the only flight that your plane is flying, you'll go bankrupt really fast.  You've got to get your utilization as high as possible - any time the plane is on the ground is time the plane is losing money for you.

hybridace101

  • Former member
Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2010, 04:56:57 PM »
It appears that you just restarted, but what I can see of your new incarnation is that you've got 1 A320 flying 1 flight per day on a 520 mile route.  If thats the only flight that your plane is flying, you'll go bankrupt really fast.  You've got to get your utilization as high as possible - any time the plane is on the ground is time the plane is losing money for you.

I plan to add extra flights on the same route if it continues to be profitable.  My concern however will be fuel costs.  Also, if I start another flight on the same route, I fear it will eat-in to the load factors on my existing flight. 

I have another route in mind which has high demand.  Trouble is despite the demand and marketing campaign, the load factor is terrible.  Any tips on how to mitigate their impact?

Offline schro

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Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2010, 05:41:19 PM »
I plan to add extra flights on the same route if it continues to be profitable.  My concern however will be fuel costs.  Also, if I start another flight on the same route, I fear it will eat-in to the load factors on my existing flight. 

I have another route in mind which has high demand.  Trouble is despite the demand and marketing campaign, the load factor is terrible.  Any tips on how to mitigate their impact?

Looking at demand right on that particular route, I do not think its a good idea for you to add an additional flight on it - I suggest finding another city with enough demand to support an A320 and put the plane on that in addition to it.

Your load factors will stink unless you drop your initial pricing about 25% from the suggested pricing level.  Advertising the route is good, however don't overdo it - if you spend 100k per week to advertise a route that only has that much profit potential, you're wasting your money.

The other thing to consider is that there are variable costs and fixed costs to operating your airline.  I can tell you that flying a single plane on a 500 mile roundtrip route can't possibly generate enough profit to cover the fixed costs of running your airline. If your route is making a profit, thats great - just realize that you've got fixed costs to cover as well that aren't accounted for in that profitability statement. A profitable route does not mean you have a profitable company.

Sure, fuel can be an issue for profitability, but if you choose your routes carefully and build market share, they can be profitable. Even when fuel is really high, it costs less than half the revenue on my flights.

hybridace101

  • Former member
Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2010, 10:29:35 PM »
For now, I'm making a small profit. 

I'm trying to explore the demand graphs.  If I interpret it correctly, available seats usually mean the seats all the airlines combined offer.  Does that mean if there are more available seats to graphs that say demand, does that mean put-off having flights to that area even if it says high demand?

And when is the best time to pull-out a route-specific ad?  As you know we can each do only a limited number of route-specific ads at a time and I don't want the profitability numbers of routes currently havings ads to suffer.

Offline Sigma

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Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2010, 10:57:33 PM »
Where are you seeing that it "says high demand"?  The only place where demand is indicated is on the route planning pop-ups, and if supply (the green line) is more than demand (the left-most blue line) then it's full.

Do you mean that multi-colored line on the Open Routes menu, the one that goes from red to green that says "Passengers"?  That simply indicates the relative size of the airport in terms of pax, it's not necessarily indicative of demand on that route.  It's usually a decent barometer, but smaller airports could have larger demand to your airport or vice versa.

As for the demand graphs, the furthest left bar indicates the total number of people that want to fly it.  The green line in the middle indicates the total seats being offered already.  Then there's another blue bar that indicates the number of seats you offer.   If the green line is higher than the left line, those seats are flying empty (generally, there are exceptions, but I'm simplifying).  You want to minimize the height of the green line above the demand unless you're purposefully trying to force competition off the route, which I don't recommend at your stage.

In your case, that route is fairly full.  And your competitor is a huge airline, meaning the passengers are going to want to fly him a lot more.  You can either keep making that flight and try to steal the passengers away, or you can try some other route.  The benefit to keeping more flights on the same route, is that there are fewer costs.  You've already got ground crews and other personnel to that destination.  Additionally, each destination increases your necessary marketing spend.  So you can afford to fly a bit emptier because you've got less costs to cover than if you seek out a new route.  On the other hand, it will be harder to steal seats from KidCo, so you'll need to reduce your ticket costs.  You also run the risk of drawing attention to yourself by trying to dominate a route, and when that happens KidCo might decide to cut his rates to nothing and run you out of business; which he can do on a whim if he so desires.  Personally I would hesitate to put at least a couple more flights on that route, as there's enough demand there to keep another couple flights running pretty full.

hybridace101

  • Former member
Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2010, 11:05:58 PM »
Where are you seeing that it "says high demand"?  The only place where demand is indicated is on the route planning pop-ups, and if supply (the green line) is more than demand (the left-most blue line) then it's full.

Do you mean that multi-colored line on the Open Routes menu, the one that goes from red to green that says "Passengers"?  That simply indicates the relative size of the airport in terms of pax, it's not necessarily indicative of demand on that route.  It's usually a decent barometer, but smaller airports could have larger demand to your airport or vice versa.

As for the demand graphs, the furthest left bar indicates the total number of people that want to fly it.  The green line in the middle indicates the total seats being offered already.  Then there's another blue bar that indicates the number of seats you offer.   If the green line is higher than the left line, those seats are flying empty (generally, there are exceptions, but I'm simplifying).  You want to minimize the height of the green line above the demand unless you're purposefully trying to force competition off the route, which I don't recommend at your stage.

In your case, that route is fairly full.  And your competitor is a huge airline, meaning the passengers are going to want to fly him a lot more.  You can either keep making that flight and try to steal the passengers away, or you can try some other route.  The benefit to keeping more flights on the same route, is that there are fewer costs.  You've already got ground crews and other personnel to that destination.  Additionally, each destination increases your necessary marketing spend.  So you can afford to fly a bit emptier because you've got less costs to cover than if you seek out a new route.  On the other hand, it will be harder to steal seats from KidCo, so you'll need to reduce your ticket costs.  You also run the risk of drawing attention to yourself by trying to dominate a route, and when that happens KidCo might decide to cut his rates to nothing and run you out of business; which he can do on a whim if he so desires.  Personally I would hesitate to put at least a couple more flights on that route, as there's enough demand there to keep another couple flights running pretty full.

I actually found that demand to cities like Medan, Indonesia is classified as "mediocre" but on some days has enough estimated demand to fill the aircraft I plan to use.  Should I deploy my aircraft to those obscure cities ASAP as KidCo doesn't have a footing yet there?

What's your suggestion for having intermediate stopovers?  Would you recommend it if I know demand between my final destination and the intermediate point is sufficient to cover my aircraft?  Will I be able to access route planning between those 2 cities?
« Last Edit: January 10, 2010, 11:53:30 PM by hybridace101 »

Offline Minto Typhoon

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Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2010, 09:03:28 AM »
Perhaps the A320 is too big an aircraft for what you are planning.  I am in a regional airport in China and am a newcomer to the game too - this being my first proper game, also starting late. I started with the ATR72, and progressed onto the Dash-8 (faster), the CRJ (range) and now the 737 for longer routes and for competitive routes (lower seat costs).  I have no intention of flying larger aircraft than the 737series.

Your hub airport has to have the abillity to be owned by you - i.e. lots of routes that can be flown with enough passengers to fill the aircraft, but at the same time has to be out of the radar of airlines that put way too large aircraft on a route simply because they have spare utilisation - you see 767s on routes with less than 60pax a day.  Try and choose an airport with 24hr slots, otherwise you (like I am) have to fly wierd and wonderful routes and create secondary hubs to increase utilisation.  I have done this in two airports with lower competition today.


hybridace101

  • Former member
Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2010, 10:50:18 AM »
Perhaps the A320 is too big an aircraft for what you are planning.  I am in a regional airport in China and am a newcomer to the game too - this being my first proper game, also starting late. I started with the ATR72, and progressed onto the Dash-8 (faster), the CRJ (range) and now the 737 for longer routes and for competitive routes (lower seat costs).  I have no intention of flying larger aircraft than the 737series.

Your hub airport has to have the abillity to be owned by you - i.e. lots of routes that can be flown with enough passengers to fill the aircraft, but at the same time has to be out of the radar of airlines that put way too large aircraft on a route simply because they have spare utilisation - you see 767s on routes with less than 60pax a day.  Try and choose an airport with 24hr slots, otherwise you (like I am) have to fly wierd and wonderful routes and create secondary hubs to increase utilisation.  I have done this in two airports with lower competition today.



Since when did you start playing?  You're might be right in saying that the A320 may be too big an aircraft.  It may also be too expensive too.  How long did it take before you got the DH8 and CRJ?  Did you sell the smaller, slower aircraft as you went-up?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 10:53:30 AM by hybridace101 »

Offline schro

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Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2010, 02:01:18 AM »
Since when did you start playing?  You're might be right in saying that the A320 may be too big an aircraft.  It may also be too expensive too.  How long did it take before you got the DH8 and CRJ?  Did you sell the smaller, slower aircraft as you went-up?

You can't afford to buy a plane when you start the game.  You've got to lease the best plane for the routes that you want to fly - I don't think you can select a plane until you know a few things - 1. distance of route 2. demand on route 3. amount of plane you can afford. 

In your case, lets say you really really really want to lease an A320 (which you've already done).  Before determining that as your conclusion, you'd need to find enough routes from your home base within the planes range that can keep it in the air 24/7 with enough demand to keep the plane full when it flies.  You've also got to watch out what you pay for your planes - just because you can lease it, doesn't mean that it makes sense to lease it - the CRJ100 is a great example in this game from what I've seen a friend go through - you'll barely cover your costs of operating it when its full no matter what you do with its utilization and routes that its on. 

You can start playing the game leasing something as large as a 757/A310 sized plane with your startup money should you have routes that you can profitably fly them on.

As you may have read in the manual, maintaining fleet commonality is pretty important from a cost perspective.... so I'd pick a plane type that you can add a lot of...

hybridace101

  • Former member
Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2010, 03:49:14 AM »
You can't afford to buy a plane when you start the game.  You've got to lease the best plane for the routes that you want to fly - I don't think you can select a plane until you know a few things - 1. distance of route 2. demand on route 3. amount of plane you can afford. 

In your case, lets say you really really really want to lease an A320 (which you've already done).  Before determining that as your conclusion, you'd need to find enough routes from your home base within the planes range that can keep it in the air 24/7 with enough demand to keep the plane full when it flies.  You've also got to watch out what you pay for your planes - just because you can lease it, doesn't mean that it makes sense to lease it - the CRJ100 is a great example in this game from what I've seen a friend go through - you'll barely cover your costs of operating it when its full no matter what you do with its utilization and routes that its on. 

You can start playing the game leasing something as large as a 757/A310 sized plane with your startup money should you have routes that you can profitably fly them on.

As you may have read in the manual, maintaining fleet commonality is pretty important from a cost perspective.... so I'd pick a plane type that you can add a lot of...

I realise it's in the long-run more costly to lease the planes.  I've tried an easier game where ATRs dominate the fleet.  Thing there is that it's hard to see how I can make money back quickly given the capacity of the seats.  What I need to find-out is they key to getting your money back as quickly to convince the bank for a loan given

a) heavy competition out of one's home base, especially for routes with heavy passenger demand where the established competition can do predatory pricing all they want
b) limited aircraft to use given one's start-up capital and the routes they can fly

I really strive for a single type of fleet (e.g. all-Airbus, Boeing, ATR)

Offline schro

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Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2010, 04:10:41 AM »
I realise it's in the long-run more costly to lease the planes.  I've tried an easier game where ATRs dominate the fleet.  Thing there is that it's hard to see how I can make money back quickly given the capacity of the seats.  What I need to find-out is they key to getting your money back as quickly to convince the bank for a loan given

a) heavy competition out of one's home base, especially for routes with heavy passenger demand where the established competition can do predatory pricing all they want
b) limited aircraft to use given one's start-up capital and the routes they can fly

I really strive for a single type of fleet (e.g. all-Airbus, Boeing, ATR)

The point of the game is to make you become successful at leasing a large fleet of planes and gradually transition into ownership.  Its not easy to shell out $48 million for a new MD-90 that takes 5 years to ultimatly make that money back for you - that sort of expenditure has to be backed by a solid wall of income. I only grew my fleet to about 30 planes before I started buying - Now I own about half of my 58 plane fleet (well, the bank owns half of that, technically). 

hybridace101

  • Former member
Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2010, 05:06:01 AM »
The point of the game is to make you become successful at leasing a large fleet of planes and gradually transition into ownership.  Its not easy to shell out $48 million for a new MD-90 that takes 5 years to ultimatly make that money back for you - that sort of expenditure has to be backed by a solid wall of income. I only grew my fleet to about 30 planes before I started buying - Now I own about half of my 58 plane fleet (well, the bank owns half of that, technically).  

Do you have any tips on how I can get that income as soon as possible especially if high-demand destinations are in such heavy competition?  Or what aircraft should be used in initial stages?  

*EDIT: Here's one thing I'm getting: it can very tempting to lease a really big aircraft (aka AB4) because of high net demand (demand less the available seats) but it can cripple one's potential for destinations which are potentially profitable with smaller aircraft.  The downside of waiting though is that the net demand is not guaranteed as competition can outmanuver you in getting a foot print to a lucrative destination.   
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 02:09:50 PM by hybridace101 »

Offline schro

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Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2010, 09:25:19 PM »
A lot of these concepts are explained quite well in the game's manual... http://www.airwaysim.com/game/Manual

There's nothing wrong with operating several different fleet types.  It'll just handicap you if you start the game with an AB4 and a F100 as your first two planes due to the expense of maintaining two fleet types.

Aircraft with higher trip costs are higher risk to small airlines.  What happens if you can't fill up an AB4?  It'd cost you a lot more to fly it empty than a F100 :-)

hybridace101

  • Former member
Re: Started Today - Challenging to start up
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2010, 10:56:01 PM »
A lot of these concepts are explained quite well in the game's manual... http://www.airwaysim.com/game/Manual

There's nothing wrong with operating several different fleet types.  It'll just handicap you if you start the game with an AB4 and a F100 as your first two planes due to the expense of maintaining two fleet types.

Aircraft with higher trip costs are higher risk to small airlines.  What happens if you can't fill up an AB4?  It'd cost you a lot more to fly it empty than a F100 :-)

That's right.  A high net demand for the route will not guarantee a plane will be full.  For instance, BKI-SIN-BKI has a really high net demand and I'm the only carrier serving it.  Despite that route getting one of the most aggressive marketing campaigns in my network, I only fill the plane to 45-50% of capacity.

Right now in another game, I'm doing ok.  The most important thing I need to know is that it is just a matter of time to see real results.  Three or 4 months is too short a time to see results even for a small aircraft.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 11:18:56 PM by hybridace101 »

 

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