I'm trying trying to understand some of the nuances of the game and I have a couple of questions.
I was running a nice little commuter airline in South America. I fly F27 props (2) and F28 jets (5). It is a fairly low traffic area, but there is little competition on my routes, so my aircraft are all 50% to 90% full, with an average of about 75%. I was making money every week, except for C-Checks, and building a profitable airline.
Having little opportunity for local expansion, I decided to try a longer hop. I leased a B707 and added a round trip to JFK (New York). No competition and plenty of demand, although only a handful of routes had enough demand for an aircraft that size. The lease was more than double the rate of a commuter jet, but my modeling suggested it would handle the lease amount and still earn a profit.
What killed me was the added personnel. The required cabin crew changed from 34 to 90 by adding one aircraft and one route. I had to add 10 pilots and a bunch of other staff. I don't know why we need to add a new middle and high manager for virtually every new aircraft, and there is really no leveraging staff positions as the airline size grows. The overall increase in required payroll was over $300K, more than the lease of the bird. I ran it for a few months of game time to see how bad it would be ... strong route advertising brought the route image up and the load factor was about 72%. The aircraft showed a nice profit, but it must be direct costs only and not include the new overhead the route brings.
So here's the question ... is there some way to figure out in advance what the payroll image overall will be prior to leasing a plane and adding the routes? I've gone from earning about $1MM per month to losing about $500K per month. In 6 months of game time I've moved from having over $4MM in the bank to running -$3MM in the red, 5 C-Checks included. I did pay off the loan and I haven't seen a bankruptcy notice yet, but I think it is coming soon.
I parking the B707, canceled the route, and fired all the extra staff. I'll eat the lease payment and I'll have to eat the C-Check as well, since I can't dump it early being in the red. The C-Check will likely bankrupt me when it comes. If I survive it, I'll leave things along and let the earnings slowly get me back to normal.
So what errors did I make? What should I have done differently? How can I determine the financial impact of a new aircraft before signing the lease? I know how to do it in real life, but not in the game.