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Author Topic: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport  (Read 5437 times)

Online Sami

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2014, 10:09:44 AM »
btw. one requirement for the cargo is the aircraft data. Of 719 different weight variants already 522 does have the cargo capacity data available, so a great majority. This already would enable the 'belly cargo' feature and separate cargo planes would be added then later on, together with pax->cargo aircraft conversions and combiplanes.

I am thinking if I would be able to push some initial version of the new demand systems only for cargo use at first. But have not made any exact plans it yet either, and it may be too complicated but might be an idea to start with (= absolutely no promises or no schedule).

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2014, 12:17:32 PM »
btw. one requirement for the cargo is the aircraft data. Of 719 different weight variants already 522 does have the cargo capacity data available, so a great majority. This already would enable the 'belly cargo' feature and separate cargo planes would be added then later on, together with pax->cargo aircraft conversions and combiplanes.

I am thinking if I would be able to push some initial version of the new demand systems only for cargo use at first. But have not made any exact plans it yet either, and it may be too complicated but might be an idea to start with (= absolutely no promises or no schedule).

In my mind, cargo would be incredibly simple to implement, even with all of the considerations listed in this thread.  You say we have 719 different variants, but only have 522 with cargo data, but I would argue we have the data for every variant.  The payload values give us the amount of cargo an aircraft can handle.  IRL passenger aircraft only take on cargo if they are underweight, so if you are flying with 50% load factors you can throw in some mailbags and we could calculate how many mailbags using payload values.

For freight/logistics, you could create three classes of freight which are based on delivery.  The contingency cargo, which is the mail bags thrown on if there is room would be very low revenue cargo because there is no guarantee it will get delivered on a specific date etc.  The standard cargo, which is the usual stuff found on a cargo plane.  Then there is the expedited cargo which is time sensitive.  Standard/expedited can only be shipped on dedicated cargo aircraft.

The contingency cargo could be easily calculated by the passenger demand and/or the population since more people = more mail.  Standard cargo would be the same and similar to "economy class" and expedited would be like business or first class, based on industry/business metrics.  The expedited cargo is where it would get fun--penalties for cancelled flights or missed deadlines, demand bonuses/preference for serving more locations.  This would open up the Cessna market considerably :)

So based on what I know, all of the data is there with the payload data and city-based demand values, so it's just a matter of crunching the numbers :)

Online Sami

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2014, 01:44:17 PM »
In my mind, cargo would be incredibly simple to implement, even with all of the considerations listed in this thread.  You say we have 719 different variants, but only have 522 with cargo data, but I would argue we have the data for every variant.  The payload values give us the amount of cargo an aircraft can handle.  IRL passenger aircraft only take on cargo if they are underweight, so if you are flying with 50% load factors you can throw in some mailbags and we could calculate how many mailbags using payload values.

Yes, of those 522 we already know everything - both volume and weights. Of the ones missing we know the weights already, just the volume is missing. But those missing ones can be added later on, just mentioned those figures to show that the a/c data is not a real issue anymore as I have been building that cargo information gradually all the time. The payload values have been there always.

If we know that airplane X has a cargo volume of 10m3 and can take a full house of pax + 5000 kg cargo, we need to figure the volume remaining for the cargo, since bags take part of it. Pax bags are already in the standard pax weight though.

Cargo could be divided into three classes too, small/light & medium & heavy/bulky  .. first two can fit to normal pax planes, apart medium cargo to small planes, and the last category would require dedicated cargo planes. Each of them would have a certain volume vs. weight ratio that is fixed for that class for simplicity.  ..or something in that way, have not planned at all.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 01:46:53 PM by sami »

Offline Longbow

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2014, 07:30:22 AM »
Could the "jettainer" solution help somehow?


Btw, in logistics and transports, goods are shipped using the taxable volume, which is different by the real volume.

On the other hand it's used the taxable weight vs the real weight: it depends on the carrier type.

I.e.: taxable weight for a/c usually is 1cbm=150kg (small packets) up to 1:600. This means:

if real volume x 150 > real weight the price will be done on this taxable one, otherwise will be taken the real weight.
So sending feathers via plane is like committing suicide, also sending lead.

Usually A/Cs have cargo slots (for jettainers) or weight queue.
The demand vs space could be modeled on a standard three grade dimension, assuming that each type has fixed slots: if a cargo plane could hold 40 jettainers (example) of type A small cargo, will load 20 medium or 10 large, but the a/c must be configured with the right jettainer holders.

Bigger class := bigger weight

Huh?
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 03:51:14 PM by Longbow »

Online Sami

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2015, 05:34:39 PM »
The specs of the cargo levels would need to be locked.

The current plan is to include three levels of cargo which determine the size of aircraft they can be loaded into. Each cargo level will have a different volume vs weight ratio and a different "price" (other specs could be added too but I don't feel it's necessary). Since cargo is a very variable thing that comes in all shapes and sizes the idea is to dumb it down a bit and use three standard types of cargo which have always the same specs - think of them as the average representations of the main types of cargo.

TypeAllowed aircraft sizesWeight (kg) per Unit (m3)
Light cargo, Mail and small parcels (bulk)   All pax and cargo planes   ?
Standard cargo, Misc. cargo ULDs   All cargo planes (apart size class Small), and pax planes of size Large & Very Large   ?
Heavy cargo, Large and/or heavy cargo   Only cargo planes of size Large & Very Large   ?

This is a simplified solution still providing flexibility for different operations and benefits for using real cargo planes.

The downside is that it's again limited to the 4 aircraft size classes, and will not take into account for example the fact that a pax-only B727 couldn't really handle that much cargo since the freight doors are so small and it cannot accept containers - while a A320 in the same size class can in real life take larger cargo units. But adjusting the accepted cargo types on individual aircraft model basis is too much work already in my mind.

Cargo demand would be presented in volume, cubic meter / feet, (since the players are able to see the available cargo volume in their aircraft) for each route pair. And the weight of the cargo per volume is calculated using the standard table (above) per each cargo type. Minimum cargo unit shown/transported is 1m3 and demand/sales would be done in 1-unit increments like passengers (or perhaps 0.5?). In the demand charts the amount of service/capacity supplied by players with pax+cargo combination planes would assume that pax seats are all sold, and the remaining space is allocated for freight (= the minimum possible space the plane has left). At the route editing/scheduling interface players cannot and do not need to adjust anything separately (apart from cargo pricing if they like) since the system will automatically allocate remaining cargo space from each flight to cargo operations (see below). For cargo planes naturally it's a bit simpler ..

Cargo demand is to be generated by the new city based system which is not tied to airports at all. Light cargo comes from all areas where business, industrial or tourism exists (large population areas boost this too), with emphasis on business areas. Standard cargo is not generated by tourism, and only lightly by business areas but largely from industrial areas. Heavy cargo relies solely on industrial areas. Cargo output is boosted by island areas and poor infrastructure.

Demand figures will be presented in an own chart in the route planning page, below the passenger demand chart.

All airports can handle all types of cargo.

Cargo sales for flights will be allocated after passenger sale allocation - any remaining space in the aircraft will be used by cargo (however payload and range limits will need to considered - this may be complicated). For this we need to set up also the value on how much space the checked-in bags of the pax will take. We already know the total weight of all pax + bags in the current model. But I would update this so that pax weight and their checked-in bag weight is treated separately. Each passenger might not have a checked-in bag, depending on the type (domestic/intl/long) of the flight (some will have two, but we'll assume that people will have 0-1 bags only, the likelihood increasing the longer the flight is). Once the number of bags is figured we know the weight (each bag is assumed to weigh the same .. again a standard value, let's say 15 kg per bag [could be factored for flight length too]), and then we need to figure out the volume of them to know how much space is left for cargo (we know the total freight space of the aircraft). So we'll just have to decice a simple volume value for each bag (0.2 - 0.3m3 per checked-in baggage would be a good starting value based from the max measurements for hold bags allowed by airlines; let's assume 0.25m3 per bag).. This would mean that a fully sold 160-pax A320 with 75% of pax having checked-in bags (120 bags) would have 30m3 from its freight hold taken - and since total freight space for that plane is 37.41 m3 there's still some room for small freight to be carried. For cargo planes naturally this step is omitted.. Once the available cargo capacity is known, the available cargo flights/capacity are then compared in a similar manner like pax flights. Cargo will not mind of the airplane age or time it arrives or takes to get there (etc), but route & company image and such will be still factored.

The only problem with the above example is the preference between the cargo types. The 7.41m3 available in that example's A320 can be used to carry standard and small cargo - but how should the system choose what to take? (of course each cargo type would have a minimum size - standard cargo could need for example at least 3m3 space before anything can be carried?)   ..probably easiest is to prefer always the highest cargo class first, and then fill up the rest with the next if more space is left. This way the player doesn't need to worry about this either.

The 'cargo carrying potential' for each plane/route would need to be displayed in the route editor or somewhere else. [how?]

Income statement (etc) will have own lines for each type of cargo.


(Initial testing will be conducted with cargo-only planes and belly cargo is part 2. In the future, if more data is collected, freight conversions of pax planes are possible - a very limited data set exists already. Combiplanes / configurations can be also thought later.)
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 06:02:39 PM by sami »

Online Sami

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2015, 04:39:56 PM »
The three freight classes vs. player supply vs. cargo demand is a bit tricky...

If we assume that a large cargo plane can transport all three cargo classes, like it should, how do we display this information in the demand bars to players?  How much of the plane's total cargo capacity should be allocated to any of the classes? Since it's not feasible for players to fix the plane's "cargo configuration" into the three separate cargo classes..

Option 2 would be to do it so that the three cargo classes are tied to each cargo group, but I don't like this .. (i.e. even the largest full-cargo plane could only transport heavy cargo)

Thoughts?

Offline CarlBagot

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2015, 07:15:33 PM »
" - standard cargo could need for example at least 3m3 space before anything can be carried?) "

I think there should be a minimum for each type but tbh mixing of some cargo types should not happen that much.

Heavy cargo such as a industrial goods is probably not as time sensitive as flowers or fish cargo which would go in the belly of passenger aircrafts while mail gives you more money based on how fast it is delivered. Which will be super important for the future when you and connections.

This complicates things but is somewhat necessary for the future as cargo airlines are different than integrators such as fedex which are in turn different than belly cargo.

A simple solution might be that cargo has a time limit, with desirability going down as time goes on but that some types are more affected than others.



"If we assume that a large cargo plane can transport all three cargo classes, like it should, how do we display this information in the demand bars to players? "

You could always do a pie chart with 3 sections (size depending on demand in area) of different colors with unfilled capacity in that section in a light color and filled in dark. Then just give a number of the total.

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2015, 06:16:35 PM »
A simple solution might be that cargo has a time limit, with desirability going down as time goes on but that some types are more affected than others.

Right now, the pax are either picked up the same day, or they disappear.  Unless some concept of carry-over is introduced, it will remain the same for cargo, so I am not sure if the time sensitivity can be introduced as a concept for cargo.

Online Sami

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2015, 12:25:41 PM »
Just coding the cargo distribution system (how cargo is sold to the flights) and just a few pointers on how it will work vs. passenger distribution:

Cargo will be much less sensitive than passengers. Cargo will not care of the following items that affect pax transportation:

 - flight departure or arrival times (can depart at 03.00 or at 08.00 - no difference)

 - seat quality and onboard services  (naturally ...)

 - number of stopovers

 - type of aircraft

 - alliance membership

 - No penalties for overlapping departure times (have 10 cargo flights depart at 04.00 - no problem)

 - Cargo oversupply won't be probably checked either (let's see if that works out..).

 - No minimum aircraft size penalties (fly DC-9F across Atlantic if you like).

 - Cargo demand will not be stimulated by low prices or high number of available seats, like in the pax side.


Currently the actual demand generation of the cargo (how much goes from A to B) is totally unfinished (works technically, but I've just inputted some dummy numbers there). The player interface is probably around 50% finished, and the distribution system of the demand is almost done (80%?).

The major work remains in the demand generation system that will be based on the new city demand system. It's technical basis has been done for pax calculation already (= the basic structure and how it works).

First step is to make a cargo-only game and test the dedicated freighters and only after that build the belly cargo (which isn't that complicated to add).



One of the fundamental decisions still (of what I wrote earlier) and what I haven't decided yet is the cargo classes and aircraft sizes, and their distribution in the airplanes.

Let's say that a Cargo-only aircraft in the Large size class (like DC-9-33F) is allowed to transport (per game settings) Standard Cargo and Heavy Cargo .. And the cargo capacity of that plane is 1000 units. How do we distribute the capacity into these two cargo classes?  Allowing player to choose the capacity distribution is a bit complicated, and unnecessary since cargo planes don't really have any dedicated configurations (vs. seat configurations of pax planes).

Naturally the simplest way would be to allocate the settings so that each aircraft can only transport one type of cargo only. This means that all available cargo space is automatically made available only for that cargo type and it simplifies the system and especially the player's interface VERY much.

Opinions?   There are 3 cargo classes and 4 plane size classes. Light cargo would be transportable in any small & medium sized planes. Heavy cargo would possibly go only into very large aircraft. And this would leave standard cargo which is then allocated to only large aircraft?  The downside on this is that naturally in real life a very large aircraft is capable of transporting "standard" cargo too .. But then it would load two different cargo types, making it complicated.

« Last Edit: April 25, 2015, 12:29:59 PM by sami »

Offline Helix

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #29 on: April 25, 2015, 01:20:59 PM »
Is it planned to include connections?

I understand the complexity but limiting cargo to plane sizes will make it hard to build a large HUB (bringing in a bunch of light cargo with small planes to fill the 747 to wherever).

Also, how would light cargo (mail, etc.) come from say South Africa to Asia or Europe if it's only allowed to be carried by small/medium sized aircraft. (unless we tech stop it all the way but that makes it highly unrealistic not?)

I dont think it's too much to ask to make a player define how much space he wants to allocate for each cargo type. After all, players have to choose how they distribute First/Business/Economy in their planes (and allocate Service/IFE in the future)

Demand pages for cargo could have their own separate overview/window. Layout could be the same as for PAX demand pages where the bar is divided into the 3 cargo classes.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2015, 01:34:08 PM by Helix »

Online Sami

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2015, 02:09:13 PM »
yep, the another option is to have also the cargo side of the aircraft configurable in the same manner like seats are now. There player can choose for example that 30% of space is for light and 70% for standard cargo (depending on what the a/c is allowed to have..).

This would simplify the background processes but limits the flexibility of the aircraft. But I guess neither of the two is perfect...

Offline Captim

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2015, 07:25:01 AM »
Will there be an option to reconfigure a pax a/c into a cargo conversion?

In the long GW's this would massively extend the lifespan of a/c's like the DC8, as it did in RL.

However, the fleet commonality hit you'd take from that would trash any benefits. So, how about allowing cargo a/c's to not count towards the standard commonality formula? Or, at least fill their own sub category so that airlines could continue to operate three fleet types, plus some cargo a/c...

Offline Frederik

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2015, 11:53:52 AM »
There are also three main ways to transport cargo:
1. bulk (you place/throw mail, luggage etc into the cargo hold)
2. pallets (there are some normalized pallet/cargo sizes so for each aircraft you can calculate/determine how many pallets can be fitted)
3. ULDs (the max number of ULDs per aircraft can also be determined)

Today ULDs are used to carry both luggage and cargo but historically saw the use of bulk, then pallets then ULDs - this will automatically be modelled when new aircraft types come into service

Of course not all aircraft can carry pallets (only main deck cargo aircraft or "combis" can do this) or ULDs (only large and very large aircraft can do this)

There might be a fourth category of special items that can only be carried in Guppy/Beluga/An225 but no-one will mind this not being included in the simulation

An other area of interest is that cargo is very much a one-way traffic (fish from Iceland or computers from Korea) which is why pure cargo carriers have unusual multi stop routings (look up the schedules of Cargolux!) It may take some times for players to figure out optimal operations....

So most aircraft should/could be configurable (ex combis) and the types of cargo could be allocated to the spaces available for them. Pricing would obviously be different for each cargo class - just like FCY pricing and the handling costs should also be different.
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Online Sami

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2015, 11:03:38 AM »
Decided to do it so that cargo space will be configurable separately via Aircraft Configuration pages, the same page where you set up the seat config. You can then modify the cargo spacing individually for each aircraft. And in case of payload limitations the cargo space will be automatically downsized for that flight.. etc.

Initial interface of this will use the current/"old" seat config's interface (expanded to include cargo) but will be later updated once I work with IFE and such stuff.

Cargo distribution system (how demand is allocated to flights) is nearly done.

Online Sami

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #34 on: August 10, 2015, 05:22:55 PM »
Some of the aircraft models are still missing the cargo capacity data (= how much cargo space is available in total for both bags and cargo, in the normal standard pax version of the aircraft). If you can help with the info see this thread: http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,59598.msg347675.html#new

Offline kscessandriver

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2015, 02:43:20 AM »
What are the chances of changing the aircraft age limit, especially in terms of freighters. Let people fly an old DC9 for 50 years if they want to, because, it is still realistic. Freighters tend to be old airplanes, so the artificial age limit kind of kills that.

Online SaipanPilot

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2015, 10:19:03 PM »
What Kscessnadriver said. Plenty of freighters fly long past the 35 year old mark.

onecharliefox

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #37 on: August 15, 2015, 07:00:49 PM »
I third the above posts about letting older planes fly. There are 60 year old Convairs flying around today as freighters.

Offline Frederik

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2015, 06:59:17 AM »
That is because they do not fly a lot and have maintenance by the hour.
In this game maintenance is the same as it is based not on flying time but real time.
Maintenance on older planes will kill you!
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Offline tcrlaf

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Re: Thoughts on freight / cargo transport
« Reply #39 on: August 17, 2015, 04:19:07 PM »
In my experience, admittedly U.S.-based, is that Cargo is a supplemental Income for a passenger airline, not a priority. The exceptions of course, are mainland to Alaska/Hawaii/Carib. The more remote the location, the higher the need for cargo availability, it seems.
 
FedEx/UPS run recent aircraft, fly them daily, and supplement with older, contracted aircraft, when needed. They carry the largest amounts of US Domestic Air freight, by far, and have the advantage of a connecting hun/spoke system. The "Cargo-Only" Airlines in the U.S. run largely supplemental, or International Contract (Southern, Polar, Atlas, etc.) Even the smaller ones (Suburban, Mountain, Kalitta,  etc) are flying largely for FedEx/UPS.

In less-developed areas, Air Cargo is a higher priority, and percentage of revenue, than say, internal CONUS, or internal Europe, with highly developed transport systems.

At one company I worked for, we would get FedEx, UPS, and US Mail. If we carried over 50 lbs. on a flight, that was "big" load, but it was financially insignificant, in the long run.

I have no idea where I am going with this thought, just offering examples.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 04:21:35 PM by tcrlaf »

 

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