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Author Topic: Making alliances actually worthwhile  (Read 1289 times)

Offline BobTheCactus

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Making alliances actually worthwhile
« on: October 17, 2011, 08:14:22 PM »
Currently, there are many disadvantages of being in an alliance, but few tangible advantages...

For example, an alliance member:
1) has to pay fees
2) must coordinate with other alliance members about oversupply, since all alliance members are counted together
3) cannot sell planes to other alliance members at significantly higher than market value prices, even if planes to non-alliance members would be selling at this price (like an A320/B737 at the beginning of MT)

In order to counteract these disadvantages (which all probably have to be there in order to maintain rules), there should be some tangible advantages to alliance membership.

For example, in AWS, you can't supply over 200%. In the real world, an advantage you could have on the same route is you could have a JV with the other carrier, and/or you could codeshare so that their flight also becomes yours.

In addition, SkyConnect has been advocating for a long time (although I don't think we ever put out a formal feature request) that alliances should have a central fund, that airlines can contribute to when they are profitable, and draw from when they are in trouble. Allowing strong airlines to support weak airlines is something which we feel is very important. It's advantages like these which would make an alliance actually worthwhile, compared to the state which they are in now, where alliances are largely a burden on the airline rather than an advantage. SkyConnect could open a free forum on another website right now (phpBB is very user-friendly), and be done with the alliance concept altogether. This would mean that:
1)don't have to pay alliance fee any more
2)don't have to worry about accidentally oversupplying routes
3)no restrictions on the profitability of aircraft sales - airlines can sell to each other at the going market rate rather than an arbitrary restriction (10%). I remember in the beginning of MT5, I could sell an A32x at 130%, and it would be gone within 2 minutes. Taking a 20% cut to my profitability, especially at the beginning of the game, is a real motivator to sell outside the alliance.

I do hope that a solution can be found where alliances can be useful, but not required for successful gameplay.
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Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2011, 09:20:27 PM »
Currently, there are many disadvantages of being in an alliance, but few tangible advantages...

For example, an alliance member:
1) has to pay fees

That definitely is a downside that is not compensated enough elsewhere

2) must coordinate with other alliance members about oversupply, since all alliance members are counted together

Is this really enforced by the system?  Or is it just a guidance?

3) cannot sell planes to other alliance members at significantly higher than market value prices, even if planes to non-alliance members would be selling at this price (like an A320/B737 at the beginning of MT)

Good point.

In order to counteract these disadvantages (which all probably have to be there in order to maintain rules), there should be some tangible advantages to alliance membership.

For example, in AWS, you can't supply over 200%. In the real world, an advantage you could have on the same route is you could have a JV with the other carrier, and/or you could codeshare so that their flight also becomes yours.

In addition, SkyConnect has been advocating for a long time (although I don't think we ever put out a formal feature request) that alliances should have a central fund, that airlines can contribute to when they are profitable, and draw from when they are in trouble. Allowing strong airlines to support weak airlines is something which we feel is very important. It's advantages like these which would make an alliance actually worthwhile, compared to the state which they are in now, where alliances are largely a burden on the airline rather than an advantage. SkyConnect could open a free forum on another website right now (phpBB is very user-friendly), and be done with the alliance concept altogether. This would mean that:
1)don't have to pay alliance fee any more
2)don't have to worry about accidentally oversupplying routes
3)no restrictions on the profitability of aircraft sales - airlines can sell to each other at the going market rate rather than an arbitrary restriction (10%). I remember in the beginning of MT5, I could sell an A32x at 130%, and it would be gone within 2 minutes. Taking a 20% cut to my profitability, especially at the beginning of the game, is a real motivator to sell outside the alliance.

I do hope that a solution can be found where alliances can be useful, but not required for successful gameplay.

There is one advantage, but it is apparently so small that it is basically negligeable.  The alliance rating is supposed to slightly boost LFs.

Perhaps a way to make alliances more worthwhile is to make this benefit more significant.  Maybe it could be incorporated into CI.  Right now, CI range is -100 to 100.  Maybe the new CI could be the old CI plus the alliance rating, with new range of -100 to 200 (or some other scale), where aiiliance ratings plays a significant role, enough to compensate for millions paid in alliance fees.  My alliance fees are about half the marketing expense (for rating of 100), so it would not be unreasonle proposition.

Offline Sami

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2011, 05:39:31 PM »
You are just listing items and issues here, but no real suggestions?

Adding for example 20 extra CI points for being in alliance seems to be an idea though. Or I mean max 20, depending on alliance rating etc.


SkyConnect could open a free forum on another website right now (phpBB is very user-friendly), and be done with the alliance concept altogether. This would mean that:
1)don't have to pay alliance fee any more
2)don't have to worry about accidentally oversupplying routes
3)no restrictions on the profitability of aircraft sales - airlines can sell to each other at the going market rate rather than an arbitrary restriction (10%). I remember in the beginning of MT5, I could sell an A32x at 130%, and it would be gone within 2 minutes. Taking a 20% cut to my profitability, especially at the beginning of the game, is a real motivator to sell outside the alliance.

And also: I would like to add that if I hear that former alliance members are creating secretive alliances (ie. not formal alliances in the system), and see that they are still acting like an alliance (even when not formally being in one; for example coordinating bases or routes) and acting against the rules (such as oversupply or any other attempt to go around the few alliance related rules we have), I will deal out penalties. There is no question about it and no nosense will be tolerated since it means that the users would try to circumvent the rules.

The alliance system is in force and it must be used if the users wish to form an alliance. Other co-operation is naturally allowed and there's no way to stop it if some people agree something in private. But the state of the system is that alliance does have rules, and trying to go around the rules by just creating a board elsewhere and not setting up an alliance into the system is simply not ok (& the fact that the guys have been members of a previous 'real' alliance would make it even worse!) and means that you would try to cheat by not following the rules.

For the item #3, seems to be again fuss over nothing. Since the restriction does not hurt a legimate airline at all. You can sell your plane to a member of another alliance, or member not in any alliance for the full extra high price. But just not to your alliance buddies - because of the general misuse of that possibility. (Can't help of thinking that the general crying about this rule is because it was actually utilized quite much in order to gain advantage by money transfers thru planes, which is wrong in my mind if used repeatedly/continuously.)

Item #2 still applies if you are in alliance or not; and I have not seen the 200% alliance rule as a problem as I can't remember anyone reporting violations of it.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 06:20:19 PM by sami »

Offline alexgv1

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 06:05:35 PM »
Adding for example 20 extra CI points for being in alliance seems to be an idea though. Or I mean max 20, depending on alliance rating etc.

Does the CI calculations in the code allow for CI to be above 100 (i.e. not a percentage or what not). In that case a CI boost which you can measure and see in front of you would be a good benefit of being in a worthwhile alliance. I guess it would be tied to alliance rating. The CI boost would represent the extra fees paid for alliance, like a marketing boost. I guess 20 is just a number picked off the top of your head, but the value of this number depends if the CI advantage is exponential or linear. If linear then 20 seems feasible.

This is something we could work with if more people discuss. I think it might be missing the intentions of the OP however but any measurable advantage must be a good one, rather than a supposed LF factor which not written down anywhere, nor verified.
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Offline Sami

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2011, 06:07:50 PM »
Does the CI calculations in the code allow for CI to be above 100 (i.e. not a percentage or what not).

It's just a number, that is converted into a factor (another number) for pax calc. Since CI can be now -100 to 100, so it as well could be -100 to +999 or whatever as it's not a simple CI 1 = 1% score thing; it's some sort of logarithmic scale etc with various steps/calculations. (there may be some checks which limit it to 100 but that's just a simple change)

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2011, 06:13:07 PM »
Does the CI calculations in the code allow for CI to be above 100 (i.e. not a percentage or what not). In that case a CI boost which you can measure and see in front of you would be a good benefit of being in a worthwhile alliance. I guess it would be tied to alliance rating. The CI boost would represent the extra fees paid for alliance, like a marketing boost. I guess 20 is just a number picked off the top of your head, but the value of this number depends if the CI advantage is exponential or linear. If linear then 20 seems feasible.

This is something we could work with if more people discuss. I think it might be missing the intentions of the OP however but any measurable advantage must be a good one, rather than a supposed LF factor which not written down anywhere, nor verified.

I think CI benefit to LF is verified (in the current range of -100 to 100) - empirically.  The present alliance benefit of slight LF increase based on alliance rating is really hard to verify, so converting the alliance rating benefit into something that is already verifiable would be a good step, IMO.

Also, it would make alliances more desirable, and airlines (players) in alliances are more likely to stick with the games to the end, so there might be a benefit to AWS in general from making this change.

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2011, 10:40:18 PM »
You are just listing items and issues here, but no real suggestions?

Adding for example 20 extra CI points for being in alliance seems to be an idea though. Or I mean max 20, depending on alliance rating etc.

Right now, the alliance rating is influenced strongly by age of the alliance.  At some point, all alliance reach 100 rating, making basically no distinction between alliances

I would propose to make the alliance rating depend less on alliance aga, and more on alliance marketing (alliance fees raised from airlines).

Another thing: Instead of all alliances being able to reach 100, how about the sum of all alliance ratings being 100.  Basically a zero sum game.  And then, this number could be taken directly and added to CI.  An average game has about 6 alliances, so the average number of points player could gain would be ~17, with some alliance higher, some lower.

This would also be a good way to break CI ties (somewhat) on the statistics page, since there are some 30+ airlines near the end of the game with CI of 100...

Offline DHillMSP

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2011, 02:31:36 PM »
Right now, the alliance rating is influenced strongly by age of the alliance.  At some point, all alliance reach 100 rating, making basically no distinction between alliances

I would propose to make the alliance rating depend less on alliance aga, and more on alliance marketing (alliance fees raised from airlines).

Another thing: Instead of all alliances being able to reach 100, how about the sum of all alliance ratings being 100.  Basically a zero sum game.  And then, this number could be taken directly and added to CI.  An average game has about 6 alliances, so the average number of points player could gain would be ~17, with some alliance higher, some lower.

This would also be a good way to break CI ties (somewhat) on the statistics page, since there are some 30+ airlines near the end of the game with CI of 100...

Agreed on all points, although I think age and marketing should only be two factors in the rating.  I'd like to think that the reach/breadth of an alliance might also factor in, along with other factors I'm not thinking of at the moment.   :-[

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2011, 10:02:57 PM »
Agreed on all points, although I think age and marketing should only be two factors in the rating.  I'd like to think that the reach/breadth of an alliance might also factor in, along with other factors I'm not thinking of at the moment.   :-[

Maybe 2 things (beside age and marketing) that could go into alliance raging would be:
- number of destinations alliance flies to
- number of passengers carried by all airlines in an alliance

Awareness (by public) by an alliance grows not just with marketing, but also by actually flying on one of the airlines, and if one of the airlines serves cities where pax originate or frequently fly to.

The number of destinations would encourage alliances to be more global, having airlines in many not as popular markets...

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2011, 07:11:43 PM »
Since the alliances were discussed, I would like to give this thread a ping.

2 things I would like implemented:
- Add alliance rating to player CI, to make his investment in alliance fees worthwhile
- Change alliance rating so that sum of all alliance ratings is 100.  This, to break a lot of ties (Most alliance ratings tied at 100, 10s of players tied with CI at 100).

Offline EYguy

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2011, 01:40:49 PM »
I would also like to see improvements like:
-reduction in maintenance costs (as happens in real life for real alliances). This can be modelled as per the CI factor everyone talks about. The bonus could increase according to the commonality of the fleets of players. There also should be a maximum bonus for this feature.
-reduction of direct costs per flight when landing at an apo which is the base of an ally. This is what happens in real life.
-discount for purchase of a/c (that's something that happens IRL too)
-frequency bonus for allies flying on the same route. I.e.: we have players A,B and C flying from X to Y. A and B are allies, so the frequency of any of those two players is actually greater because A's flight can be sold by B, and vice versa. C won't get any bonus unless he/she flies with an absolute frequency which is higher than A+B's... That's pretty easy to model, IMHO.


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Offline TK1244

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2011, 02:53:57 PM »
-reduction in maintenance costs (as happens in real life for real alliances). This can be modelled as per the CI factor everyone talks about. The bonus could increase according to the commonality of the fleets of players. There also should be a maximum bonus for this feature.
-discount for purchase of a/c (that's something that happens IRL too)
The ability to purchase and maintain aircraft together with alliance partners would be great.

What I'm thinking about for the maintenance thing is maintenance departments, something like the fuel company. The alliance can set up an alliance maintenance company, which appear at all base airports of its members. This company would operate cheaper than the 'normal' maintenance companies. Let's say, the 'normal' maintenance companies give max. 10% discount for a fixed cost, the alliance maintenance company can give up to 12,5%?

-reduction of direct costs per flight when landing at an apo which is the base of an ally. This is what happens in real life.
I don't know if this happens in real life. The airport itself is not a part of the airline and they don't decided the landing fees, etc.

-frequency bonus for allies flying on the same route. I.e.: we have players A,B and C flying from X to Y. A and B are allies, so the frequency of any of those two players is actually greater because A's flight can be sold by B, and vice versa. C won't get any bonus unless he/she flies with an absolute frequency which is higher than A+B's... That's pretty easy to model, IMHO.
The frequency bonus need to be introduced only with the introduction of codesharing:
Airline A flies in the morning (airline B pays 50% of the costs and gets 50% of the profit), while airline B flies during afternoon (airline A pays 50% of the costs and gets 50% of the profit).

Maybe as an additional benefit, increasing LF depending on connecting flights. Let's say Turkishwings operates Istanbul - Moscow with arrival time 17:00 and partner Aero Soyuz operates Moscow- Tashkent departing 18:00, both flights are getting an increase in LF because of the greater catchment area.
The connecting flight must have 40 minutes (AFAIK this is the minimum transfer time for KLM) in between and max. xxx minutes (I don't know the maximum time a passenger wants to wait for a connecting flight).
With this benefits, members need to plan flights to their partner hubs carefully (wave planning) instead of a random flights.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2011, 02:56:01 PM by TK1244 »
TK Regional

Offline EYguy

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2011, 04:13:09 PM »
I love the idea of the company... Sounds easy enough to be implemented and quite easy for everyone to understand how it works. I'd just push a bit the bonus for the "allied maintenance group", maybe something around 17,5% max if the alliance is big enough and there is commonality.

Terminal costs: it happens, indeed. Just think about all those Star Alliance a/c arriving and departing from the same Terminal in lot of airports. The reason I mentioned is the reason why most of those a/c use the same facilities. "You are my guest at my base airport, and I'll be your guest at yours". Simple as that! ;)

IMHO the codesharing is something that we will not see very soon. Some kind of frequency bonus for routes operated by allies of the same alliance (say FRA to LHR) should be awarded to members of an alliance because they have the limit of 200% pax demand... It will not affect the income statement directly, but it will help to create a sort of "codesharing" in an embrio phase... :) At least that is what I think can be done in a future world without waiting for AWS 1.4! :)

Offline alexgv1

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2011, 04:16:51 PM »
It's sad that at the moment allaince members do not count for combined frequency so they still technically in competition on shared route rather than cooperation. Should not be full bonus as if single carrier because people still have some brand loyalty to airlines not alliances even if frequent flyer program.

I also think maybe fuel contracts could be passed on (the discount only) to alliance members flying to partners bases. That could be a way of reducing costs for partners linking I each other.
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Offline TK1244

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Re: Making alliances actually worthwhile
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2011, 07:50:12 PM »
I love the idea of the company... Sounds easy enough to be implemented and quite easy for everyone to understand how it works. I'd just push a bit the bonus for the "allied maintenance group", maybe something around 17,5% max if the alliance is big enough and there is commonality.
The % I gave was just an example ;)

Terminal costs: it happens, indeed. Just think about all those Star Alliance a/c arriving and departing from the same Terminal in lot of airports. The reason I mentioned is the reason why most of those a/c use the same facilities. "You are my guest at my base airport, and I'll be your guest at yours". Simple as that! ;)
Haven't thought about the terminal etc :-[ It is indeed something seen regularly in real life. Just thinking of the closest example for me, the departure terminal 2 at Schiphol are all KLM check-in desks, where also flights for Alitalia, Air France, Delta and other SkyTeam partners are checked in.

IMHO the codesharing is something that we will not see very soon. Some kind of frequency bonus for routes operated by allies of the same alliance (say FRA to LHR) should be awarded to members of an alliance because they have the limit of 200% pax demand... It will not affect the income statement directly, but it will help to create a sort of "codesharing" in an embrio phase... :) At least that is what I think can be done in a future world without waiting for AWS 1.4! :)
Unfortunately :( although it is a good idea for a "codesharing in an embrio phase" thing, but isn't it double work for Sami? If it is 'easy work' do make it work until the real codesharing is launched, I'm in. better something than nothing :laugh:
TK Regional

 

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