Sami, thanks for the fast response. Here are my additional thoughts..
This feature has been there for some time already actually. But if you think about it a while, it HAS to be part of these long game worlds.
We (the players) don't know how long the feature has been there, because it was not announced, and that is the problem. This is a big change from the way it used to operate (as documented by the JA5 French airline) and no announcement was made in the forums, so no one knew about the change until someone actually drove into the brick wall in a game (me). So even if the change was made a while ago, in effect it is a mid-game change, if no notice was given before the game.
And while I understand that some major changes are important for game design, realism, or balance reasons, I think it is equally true that major changes to game mechanics or rules need to be pre-announced, for fairness reasons, or else even good/important changes will be game-breaking (not necessarily breaking the whole game, but at least unbalancing the game by breaking a few individual players' games).
I can understand that there are important, legitimate reasons for this change, but I respectfully request that it be applied only to future game worlds rather than the running one (and have a big forum announcement, similar to the one you posted regarding noise limits; that was a good way to handle making a big change).
Since players can gain (unfair) advantage this way since we all know (or can Google) when countries break up or declare independence and can plan it ahead.
But if everyone can do it, it's not unfair. For example, LHR airlines have a massive advantage because of high demand and low competition (slot restriction prevents basing or startups in LHR in mid-game or late game). But it's not considered an "unfair" advantage because anyone can open in LHR at the start of the game if they choose to do so (and join early enough to be in the first 7 airlines at LHR).
And in reality in such cases the airlines cannot continue there (in most cases at least; take a look at Soviet Union break up for example).
In reality, airlines often have bases in foreign countries, since the real-life rule is that you have to get permission from the foreign country, not that foreign bases are all banned. For example, Delta's bases in Tokyo and London; American's old base in London; United's old base in London and mini-base in Tokyo; Pan Am's bases in London, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Tokyo; etc.
I understand that in AWS, the rule is "base in own country only" to roughly approximate reality and keep it simple (avoid need for a complicated system to negotiate for Fifth Freedom rights). But I don't think this is a case where compliance with reality requires a shutdown of the base, because in reality, airlines can have foreign bases with government approval. So, it would not be incompatible with reality for the Algerian government to "grandfather" in my ALG base, since in reality, governments have the authority to allow foreign airlines to base there.
Or in other words if you open a base in ALG (or anywhere else) in 1950s, how could you keep it until 2020 when no airline joining after 1960 can do the same .. that's 60 years of "extra basing advantage" (well not "extra", but "protected" as nobody else can base there apart from new airlines with their HQ there). No, no..
It's not really "protected," because there can be existing airlines there (for example, in JA8 the ALG market leader is not me--it's an indigineous Algerian airline). And also, any airline HQ'd in the country of Algeria will be able to open a base in Algiers.
It's much less protected than LHR for example. In LHR, in most games, no one else can base there after the first 12 months (or even new airlines HQ there) because: (1) there are no slots left, and (2) if an airline BKs in LHR, opening some slots, the other LHR airlines are in a much better position to soak up all the slots instantly (since they have many airframes in LHR already, and lots of cash to afford the expensive slots) than any new startup or other airline opening a new base in LHR. And even at the start of a game, the players who join right away also have an advantage in that they can HQ in LHR. Now, because of the 7-airline cap, airlines who don't join right at the very start of the scenario cannot HQ in LHR either, because it is locked
after 7 airlines HQ there, even if slots are available. This enables the 7 airlines who made it in the door to start soaking up all the slots with less competition for them.
So, if the LHR situation is not considered unfair "protected" basing, my ALG situation should not be either.
It is true that an airline that starts in France later in the game would not be able to open in ALG, and in that sense I have an advantage over future French (and only French) airlines. But those future French airlines would also have advantages over me, including, for example, they can open their HQ directly in CDG, rather than enduring 20 years of punishment at LBG that I am going through in order to be allowed to have an HQ at CDG.
And earlier-starting airlines always have some advantages (such as the LHR situation above, better access to planes before the UM dries up and the new market is backlogged for years, and cheaper fuel at start of game). While later starting airlines might have other advantages (no need to do a prop-to-jet fleet change; more startup cash; etc.). Compared to those things, "French airline can base in Algiers" is a relatively small difference. But starting in late game is never going to be quite the same as starting in early game.
This is a similar case than the aircraft ordering thing; if you order 100 examples of the -200 variant just to get your hands on the new (not yet launched) -300 variant earlier; it has been blocked for a good reason, to keep it fair, and same here.
That is a good rule, because AWS airlines know exactly what variants are coming in the future. But if it were done as a mid-game or unnannouced change, it would still be unfair to the players who first crashed into the consequences. Imagine for example, if originally orders for the -200 variant could be changed to the -300 (as can often be done in real life; but I don't know if it could ever be done in AWS). And some airlines placed orders for the -200, and then actually changed them to the -300. If those players got an in-game mail afterwards from Boeing saying "Orders for 767-200 models cannot be changed to 767-300 models. Also, the 767-200 model is out of production now, so you can't charge your orders back. So, please cancel your orders for the 767-300. If you do not cancel them within 6 months, we will cancel them for you with no refund." That would be unfair to those players, right?
That's the situation I'm facing now. The Algerian rebels are taking back my base (in behavior that is different from the behavior of Algerian rebels in previous game worlds), and they are not willing to refund me the untold millions that I have spent on base opening, slots, and route marketing in Algiers. And they are not willing to take over the leases on my planes, leaving me paying the leases on 60-70 planes with nowhere to fly them to. And I can't go back and open a base in the next-best choice (Orly) because it is now devoid of slots and thus no longer viable as a base.
I can extend the time to 12 months, effective still today.
If you decide that the change must be enforced in this game world (which I ask you to please do not do), then at a minimum, I would respectfully request more time to reorganize. Twelve months is still not enough. If you look at the number of planes I have in ALG, and you look at the demand in LBG and other still-available French bases, you will see that I have nowhere to reposition 60-70 ALG planes to. The only way out of this without BK'ing me is to allow most of the leases on the 60-70 planes to naturally expire, which takes several years. As my airline is currently making a very small profit, I cannot afford to immediately pay the lease-break fees on 60-70 planes to end them all instantly. I might not even have enough money to open a new base.
I think the 5-year time limit suggested by Sanabas might be manageable. Alternatively, if the rebel Algerian government will refund my base opening fee, slot fees, and route marketing fees, I think I could afford to break some leases and maybe complete a reorganization within 3-4 years.
But I agree with the others that the most
fair thing to do would be to ask the Algerian government let me keep my base in ALG.
If that still seems like an unfair advantage to me, then maybe the Algerian government could even impose some restrictions, such as not letting me increase my number of aircraft at ALG (lower the plane cap from 100 to my current plane number), or not letting me open routes to new destinations (while keeping existing destinations), etc., if the government wants to cap my business or encourage me to wind it down and go to an "unrestricted" base instead. But without the 6-month or 12-month banhammer.
Those would be possible compromises that would avoid completely screwing me over with a rule change that (even if it makes sense) suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
Finally, I would like to respectfully note that if you think keeping the ALG base would give me an unfair advantage, then any unfairness would be to the other game players. And so far none of the other players have spoken up saying that they would feel unfairly treated by the delay of this rule to the nexte gameworld, or that fairness requires the immediate shutdown of my base. The people who have expressed an opinion have instead stated that fairness requires advance notice of major game rule and mechanics changes.
Thank you for your consideration.