Well, of course, in a purely wholesale "cut everyone's profits 90%" fashion. But if the economic model was done correctly (and I mean no disrespect to sami, it's a Herculean effort) then some margins would go down and some would go up as well because those who operate more efficiently would actually be more efficient. And more importantly those who actually made smart, logical, rational business decisions might actually see logical, rational results -- i.e. cutting pricing actually doing something aside from simply lowering your revenues -- rather than the game being dominated (speaking as one who does) by those who know how to game the game.
The biggest reason for high margins is lack of competition. What percentage of the routes do you think have competition? 10%? 20%? And I don't mean in the first years of the game, but in the middle of the game or the 2nd half.
As you said, there is no price competion, when a route actually has more than 1 carrier. There is only the pseudo-competition in frequency. The basing cost penalty and aircraft # basing limitation is also a huge anti-competitive tool. Also, inability to open a base at top 20 airports effectively protects top 20 airlines based in top 20 airports from any
Then, lack of passenger connectivity gives the sole player flying AB route a complete monopoly on AB traffic. With passenger connectivity, AB route would have competition from players flying ACB, ADB ... AXB.
And it is already expensive. There's already an exponential curve built into commonality expenses. It's ludicrously, outrageously expensive to operate a large number of fleets.
Well, not really. The (lack) of commonality expenses do grow as a percentage of expenses, but they are easily absorbable if a player makes all the other decisions correctly. There is absolutely nothing there to stop player from growing exponentially with 10 fleet types, then locking up production slots in desirable production lines, and so that later on, the undesirable fleet types can be phased out.
But if you really need some 5 aircraft of the same type to break even (doing everything right), getting 2nd fleet type before you are making some profit with 10-20 aircraft of the same type would just bankrupt you right away. I think that's what Swiftus and I are talking about. That is the only way you slow down the exponential growth early on.
Rather than points, I always look for money to be the answer. If the training and maintenance cost of the first aircraft in the fleet group are so high that it is your single biggest expense of your airline, then very few players will be beyong that single fleet type within first 6 months or a year game time - and still be solvent.
Once you get to some 50+ aircraft of one fleet type, you should be reaching the lowest costs per plane of that fleet type. Adding the 2nd fleet type should not make the 1st fleet type more expensinve. 2nd fleet type should have its own high fixed start-up costs. (perhaps this single per-fleet amount should itself rise exponentially)
I am not exactly thrilled about the way the commonality costs are implemented. They continue hitting you when they should not (when you have 50-100 aircraft of the same fleet type) and they don;t hit you hard enough when they should, when you have only a dozen planes in number of different fleet types....
Anyway, delaying the exponential growth with high start-up fees per fleet type would make the game competitive for longer period of time. As is, the game is more or less decided by the end of 1/3 or 1/2 of the game. But if the biggest airlines are only at some 75 planes within the first 6 years of the game, the game would be more wide open for longer period of time.