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Author Topic: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?  (Read 2388 times)

Offline Lambert_M

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Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« on: February 10, 2013, 04:11:34 PM »
Hi folks,

Excuse me for being stupid, but Iīm a newbie. I have a domestically based airline in Beginners World that is doing quite ok, so I thought Iīd try to play with the big boys. But I have huge problems establishing a sound business operation in "Dawn". First problem being, of course, that all the "good" airports have already been taken since I joined late.

So general strategy question: Do I have to join the game at the very first game day to have any chance to compete? Or do I have to try my best from the beginning to weed out my competitor at my home base? It seems the few tries I have had at the big game ends up in a semi-profitable turbo-prop operation ferrying 50 pax here and there. But I donīt seem to be able to excel from that level. Itīs just hard, I guess. And lots of patience needed?

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2013, 06:00:42 PM »
The whole game of AWS is about patience.  In my opinion, it is almost easier to start in a game late than fresh because the used market is usually flush with decent aircraft, giving you the ability to expand when you need to versus ordering aircraft that will be delivered in 2-3 years.

The key to success in AWS is the same as the key to success in real world business: create a strategy and use your resources to support it. If you base at an airport dominated by a huge airline flying big birds, undercut them with frequency using smaller aircraft.  You can also serve the thin routes that your competition has deemed too thin to compete on with the smaller aircraft.  One of the things that I hate about this game is most people think the only way to be successful is base at a big airport, get a huge fleet of A320 and B737 and watch the cash roll in.  I have successfully run an airline with nothing but CRJs and others have used only Russian metal and made it work.  Even in the real world, you have airlines like Allegiant that buy up 20+ year old MD-80 for $4 million each while charging $50 for a flight and they are hugely successful.

If you can provide more info on where you based, competition, etc. I'm sure people would provide good feedback.  The bottom line is you can't expect to go into a big airport already dominated by a large airline and mimic their strategy, because that ship has sailed.  Beginners World is also setup so virtually any strategy will work no matter where you base thanks to the low operating costs and wide availability of aircraft.

Offline Sanabas

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Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 10:06:27 PM »
Yeah, it's relatively easy to start up now, high fuel price notwithstanding.

There are always viable airports, you just have to search a bit for them. The biggest plus compared to day 1 is you can see the competition you've got. And there will be more airports get emptier as the fuel spike kills people off.

exchlbg

  • Former member
Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 10:38:35 PM »
Sorry ,Pistol,  how can you possibly tell the fate of your airline after just a few game days? This game needs patience and persistance. There is no guaranteed way for anybody to end up with the biggest airline, every world is different and every situation needs a special tactic. And why should a stable and expanding 50-seater airline not be a success?
Of course your chances for a mega-airline are bigger starting early, but so are the chances of a total failure when suddenly serious competition pops up. Later entries have the advantage that everything is much more settled and plannable.
And since there are competitors around you, you can always ask for help with problems, but donīt wait for straight tips to beat them !
These forums are full of FAQīs and valuable tips and answers, if you obey only half of them you soon will play with the "big boys".But before itīs just a few month "grammar school".
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 10:48:02 PM by exchlbg »

Offline ezzeqiel

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Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 10:52:59 PM »
So general strategy question: Do I have to join the game at the very first game day to have any chance to compete?

I depends on what do you call "compete"... If you wanna be airline N° 1, then yes, you need to join the game the first minute, just as any other online game that restarts...

If you want to make a profitable airlines that grows at very good rate and does very well, then you can join any world at any time, but with a good strategy... it won't be crazy to join a world, research all the airports available with their airlines, and then decide your base, so you BK and start in that base...


However, if you want to join an already started game, in the airport you "like" with the planes you "like" no matter which airlines are already there or the planes they are using, then no, you won't have any chance to compete.

Offline Sanabas

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Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2013, 11:03:21 PM »
Had a very quick look at your new airline. You're in a "good" airport that isn't taken, there is still plenty of room for you. No reason at all why you shouldn't overtake the existing airline there, if you want to.

Fleet choice is ok, though using turboprops means you will have slow growth.

Basic mistakes:

turn times look good, you may actually be using very long turn times at HQ some of the time.

You're putting 100 seats straight on to a 100 pax route. You'll only get 20 pax to start with while RI is low, much better to only put 50 seats on it now, and put the other 50 somewhere else. When RI has grown and you have more planes, then you add the 2nd 50.

You're flying very long routes for a turboprop. Would you want to spend 4+ hours jammed into a HD seat on a small plane? Rule of thumb that works well is if the flight time is more than 3 hours, then HD seats are a bad idea. Look for routes under 300 NM for preference, there should be more than a few. Your route to Split is about the longest I'd use while starting up. Cork & Corfu are too far away. It lets you fit more flights into the day, so you make more money, and you won't lose sales to people hating HD seats.

Offline Lambert_M

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Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 03:23:56 AM »
Thanks all for your kind feedback. Sanabas - You are right that my setup wasnīt working too well. I was losing too much money, so had to close it down. Interesting what you say about turboprops meaning slow growth. I have now changed my gameplan in Beginners World because of this, so weīll see how that works out.

Offline Lambert_M

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Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2013, 05:16:50 AM »
By the way, regarding what you say about turn times being short at HQ, Sanabas. I always leave room so that likelyhood of delay is less than 1%. Can I leave it shorter on my home base and still be ok?

Offline Sanabas

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Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2013, 05:39:54 AM »
No.

You want the same turn time at HQ as you do at destinations. You're using F28s, so the minimum turn is 30 minutes, the 1% turn is 50 minutes.

If I'm reconstructing your schedule properly, your 1st plane flies routes 001, 003, 005. So earliest route lands at HQ at 1010, and hovering over the route in the schedule will say 'earliest next dep 1040' If you actually put it at 1040, that's a 25% delay chance, and a really common beginner mistake. For a perfect 1% turn, you want it at 1100. If you have it later than that, you're wasting time and getting less revenue, which I think your previous airline was doing. Looks like you've got perfect schedules on all of your first 3 planes, 3 routes on plane 1, 2 each on 2 & 3.

Your only problem is the nasty 10 hour curfew you have to deal with. You've picked a challenging airport, but doing everything right.


BizFlyer

  • Former member
Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2013, 11:07:23 AM »
Well, I am still a beginner myself, but what is the major objective of the game?

In my view it is to found an airline and then to survive in the market and under the line produce black figures.
In this case survival meant for me and probably means for you to find niches, into which you can go to make money and not be too much disturbed, while doing this.
Then even survival from a curfewed home-base is possible.

A niche means a destination, that offers in relation to your capacity ENOUGH passengers.
A niche also means a destination, where you are more or less alone.
When there is a destination, where others fly to as well, then it is only interesting, when certain time-windows are not yet being served AND there are so many passengers as total demand, that your small plane-load, that you carry away, is not irritating your competitors too much.

What others said, is true!
It may be a slow process to grow and indeed, I wonder about the growth-rate of some airlines. But I do not mean this critically, I just mean it, as in "I donīt know".

I had several tries to start up my airline, starting out with larger turboprops or even with jets, such as B737 or similar.
I grew too fast in terms of fleet AND I had leased all my planes.
That was a big mistake in the beginning, because either the lease of the respective plane was too expensive from the very beginning, or the lease ate up most of the revenue.

Another point to observe too, is the fleet.commonality AND finally someone in this forum pointed out, that at the beginning not too much money should be spent on marketing.
Marketing is very expensive and when you are small, it does not, by a long shot, give you the plus in business, that you need. And this is logical. You have lny a small fleet and that can only generate so and so much revenue and not more.

Of course some basic company-image marketing must be done, to keep you above zero image, but, for example, the route-marketing is almost not a ll required. The routes go to 100 by themselves over time.

Now I think, I am on a better way.

I started really small (3 x B99) and I OWN them. That just left the initial loan to pay off and not any lease.

Right now I am still working (as CEO) without a salary, as I want to get rid of my loan as quickly as possible.

Once Iīm rid of that, I am going to become a medium-well-paid CEO, it will sustain my CEO-wife and my CEO-kids and may even buy me a AirwaySim CEO-Porsche. What more do I want?

There is still enough time in this game, to achieve bigger things, if I want to, but I will see about that, when time comes...

Greetings and good success to all the sharks in this pond,

BizFlyer

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2013, 02:35:53 PM »
Yikes!  Good luck with those B99 (I hope you're based in Hawaii with lots of short haul demand).  There is nothing wrong with leasing aircraft, but you need to utilize it enough to pay for the lease, which usually means flying 24 hours from an airport without curfew.  There is also nothing wrong with debt--you don't necessarily want to be debt free.  Almost all companies carry a debt load of some sort to finance expansion.

You also asked what the objective of the game is.  It is a sandbox game, which means the objective is whatever you want to make it.  If it is success flying only regional jets, Russian aircraft, or prop aircraft, so be it.  You also mentioned not irritating competitors too much.  Every airline has so many competitors that one guy with a small fleet is pretty much going to go unnoticed.  Plus, the whole point of the game is to engage and compete with other airlines, not avoid them :)

exchlbg

  • Former member
Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2013, 03:32:19 PM »
I canīt agree to biz flyerīs statement, that leasing aircraft should be avoided and his way of owning planes from the beginning by buying micro-aircrafts. These are definitely a "no-go" for a start-up airline, because they produce tremendous overhead costs they hardly ever will fly in.
Of course every start-up needs leased aircraft. The warning of too much growth right after start is correct. Every new connection needs time to evolve itīs RI, so aircraft will fill up only slowly.Expect initial losses. This money is to be kept back and not tied to buying or leasing aircraft. Donīt forget monthly leases will kick in after 5 months!
This game leaves enough space for everybodyīs preferred way of business, so there is no general goal except maybe "survival".
There are good FAQīs by experienced players which wil help you to find your way through difficult first year.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2013, 03:37:03 PM by exchlbg »

BizFlyer

  • Former member
Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2013, 05:27:41 PM »
Yikes!  Good luck with those B99 (I hope you're based in Hawaii with lots of short haul demand).  There is nothing wrong with leasing aircraft, but you need to utilize it enough to pay for the lease, which usually means flying 24 hours from an airport without curfew.  There is also nothing wrong with debt--you don't necessarily want to be debt free.  Almost all companies carry a debt load of some sort to finance expansion.

You also asked what the objective of the game is.  It is a sandbox game, which means the objective is whatever you want to make it.  If it is success flying only regional jets, Russian aircraft, or prop aircraft, so be it.  You also mentioned not irritating competitors too much.  Every airline has so many competitors that one guy with a small fleet is pretty much going to go unnoticed.  Plus, the whole point of the game is to engage and compete with other airlines, not avoid them :)

That is the problem, I am based at a curfewed airport. But I found my niches...
I agree about the debt, when, for example, the interest-rates are low it may be an attractive way of financing.

One little misunderstanding: I did not ASK about the objective of the game. I made my own statement.
It is also right to engage in competition, but only, when you are fit to do so.
Competition means also, that a big one does not want to be eaten up from the bottom. so, at some point, when the smaller counterpart becomes too much of a nuisance, he will give him the kick in the form of price-competition or flooding the route with offers that the small one cannot compete against.
If the big one doesnīt do this, he will soon find, that he isnīt anymore the big one.

So I avoid the competition as long as possible, until I feel fit to face it.


I canīt agree to biz flyerīs statement, that leasing aircraft should be avoided and his way of owning planes from the beginning by buying micro-aircrafts. These are definitely a "no-go" for a start-up airline, because they produce tremendous overhead costs they hardly ever will fly in.
Of course every start-up needs leased aircraft. The warning of too much growth right after start is correct. Every new connection needs time to evolve itīs RI, so aircraft will fill up only slowly.Expect initial losses. This money is to be kept back and not tied to buying or leasing aircraft. Donīt forget monthly leases will kick in after 5 months!
This game leaves enough space for everybodyīs preferred way of business, so there is no general goal except maybe "survival".
There are good FAQīs by experienced players which wil help you to find your way through difficult first year.

Maybe, this was a bit too strong of a statement, I made. Of course leasing may always be an option and it neednīt always be the worst.
But my experience was, that due to the curfew-related under-utilization the leasing-rates were spoiling my efforts to come into the earning-zone.
When I lease a plane and I cannot use it for a certen period, then the lease is going to hit me anyhow.
My own plane will just stand around and cost me lost revenue, but nothing else (except for maintenance, if I am operating a proper airline).
Another point is, that I tried to expand and in the course of the expansion accepted too high leasing-rates.
That was my killer at least in one instance.

Regarding the small aircraft:
I was asking myself, "what are my possibilities at my start-up point?"
In order to start up in the way, that I would like to, I would need more investors (like in real life) and banks, who are also more prepared to gamble (donīt tell me now about the bank crisis...)
As this was not available, I took the money and bought 3 aircraft, which I was able to put in the makret in such a way, that they earn money.
So I have just the loan-payments and the lease cost does not burden me.
I believe, that in fact, I am replaying the real start of many airlines, where the entrepreneurs also only had limited amounts of money available and had to start small, no matter what.

Greetings,

BizFlyer
« Last Edit: February 17, 2013, 05:31:39 PM by BizFlyer »

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2013, 06:54:29 PM »
Since you can't take out loans for 10 years anymore, leasing is actually cheaper than loans on a monthly cashflow basis.  Also, if you are flying jets you can still fly 24 hours/day from a curfewed airport--you just need to get in the air before the airport closes, fly a red eye, and come home in the morning.  Depending on the airport the red eye demand may not be there, but even then you can have a 3-4 hour turnaround time somewhere close by and still come out ahead.

exchlbg

  • Former member
Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2013, 10:43:54 PM »
Of course you can have an economical flight plan even at curfewed airports.Itīs just a bit more tricky keeping your fleet busy.If you have most of your planes sitting around on closed airports, you have a problem of organizing your schedules properly.
Other possibility is you chose some lonely airport in the middle of nowhere with no demand that is only open 4 hours a day.Agreed, itīs a niche and you wonīt face competition. But you wonīt face passengers either.
Agreed that facing competition on all your routes after start-up is hard to survive. But not every competition is bad, sometimes you compete with airlines which were able to double fares because they had a monopoly on a route. In that case your revenues will be quite good from day one if you stay with suggested fares.Or you face a weak competitor who will leave route just because you started competing.
Adding services to already heavily competed routes, filled up to more then double their capacity by strong airlines makes no sense at all for a newcomer.So it always depends on circumstances which way to go.Always research all information thatīs available about all destination possibilities and nature of competitors, do a little math and draw intelligent conclusions.

Offline Sanabas

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Re: Cannibalism - The way forward in this game?
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2013, 02:15:17 AM »
If you're only planning on a very small number of planes, and the startup cash more than covers it, then you may as well buy them instead of leasing them.

And, as you say, everyone sets their own goals, has their own measure of success.

For me, having a 3 plane airline that I basically set up on day 1, and then simply watch for 5 gameyears won't keep me interested. It's a game, i want my airlines to engage my interest, keep the game fun, otherwise there's no reason for me to play. Whether that's a project like trying to run 9 seaters, or 100+ turboprops, or trying to prosper on minimal playing time, or just trying to grow huge.

Having a curfew makes it more challenging to be profitable. Picking an already busy airport makes it more challenging to be profitable, too. But you might want the challenge of actually turning a profit in a very busy airport with a curfew & established airlines. Buying your first planes, or paying off your initial loan very early, makes it much tougher to expand, and makes the expansion much slower. But if your goal isn't to expand, then that doesn't matter.

 

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