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Author Topic: Slots - the final solution  (Read 4433 times)

Offline Sanabas

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #40 on: October 11, 2013, 01:58:36 AM »
I don't necessary agree the LH route start is the culprit. If you nerf it to the point it is not really usable, everyone flying SH start will kill the slot even faster. A sudden increase of competition as everyone is flying SH start will make new comer even much harder to survive.

Not saying that starting with LH routes is the culprit, just saying that LH being far and away the best way to start is a problem itself, and the slot-hogging penalty as described will tip things even further towards LH being the only good way to start.

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2013, 02:19:40 AM »
-If the terminal/expansion system is in place, perhaps something can be work with involving alliance. Right now the alliance mechanic is too minimal IMO.

I agree there is a lot to gain with alliances being involved.  It would have to be something to do with degrees of separation.  So if you serve 100 airports out of your hub, that is level 1.  If you fly to an alliance member's hub/base and they fly to 100 different destinations, that makes level 2 connect to 200 airports.  I don't think going any deeper than that would be worthwhile, but you could scale demand/image/etc. based on connecting at your hub and an alliance member's hub (3 flights with 2 connections).  The "interconnectedness" of the network would drive an increase in demand, just as it does IRL.

Using the terminal model, this would promote using larger aircraft to serve that demand unless you have slots to burn.  So when you upgrade your fleet, you'd go from a BAC 1-11 to a B737 or MD80 instead of an F100, for example.

Offline JumboShrimp

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2013, 02:30:46 AM »
If you nerf it to the point it is not really usable, everyone flying SH start will kill the slot even faster. A sudden increase of competition as everyone is flying SH start will make new comer even much harder to survive.

Couple of points:
- We are looking at only 50% of the slots at the beginning of the game world.  I would abandon that idea and start with 100% level appropriate for the year of the game
- There is not enough aircraft on the UM to completely fill all of the demand, all of the slots.  Maybe half.

So the UM runs out of aircraft before the slots are gone, and then the slower phase, of getting deliveries of New aircraft kicks in.  And then at some point, flying LH becomes viable, once CI is high enough.

FORSBERC

  • Former member
Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2013, 02:37:45 AM »
EDIT: This is in response to LemonButt's comment.

You could also have alliances "buy" a terminal or pay for an expansion of a current terminal at a specific airport. Now, this would require the alliance to have money, which they currently do not have. (I'm using my knowledge from a few years ago on this one.) And any airlines using this new alliance terminal or alliance focus airport would have higher passenger demands, thus potentially making the purchase worthwhile. By having an alliance budget, it opens a ton of possibilities for alliances, from alliance wide marketing to this terminal idea.

I personally am a huge fan of buying gates from an airport (or leasing gates from a gate owner). It would allow much more customization of the quantity of "slots", which are essentially gate availability times. I know IRL, the runways will have an effect too, so perhaps having a list of how many total departures are trying to leave at a specific time would indicate the probability of delay. This would in turn allow the airline much more control over their delay/ cancellation rate than they do currently.

brique

  • Former member
Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #44 on: October 11, 2013, 03:02:28 AM »
alliance-funded marketing is in effect already, its what the % taken from your revenue is (notionally) used for and can add a significant amount to your airlines RI and CI scores, giving more pax take-up.

I like the terminal/associated slots idea and think it would go along way to solving issues. Alliance funded terminals? Why not, within limits : how to fund that is another matter, and would require an alliance spending account be held. There would be the question of what then happens to its tenants should the alliance fold, or one leave and join another alliance : would the benefit be transferable or just lapse?

I also like the idea that delays/punctuality get affected by how clogged the runways may be : the notion of 'knock-on' effects of delays on subsequent flights has been raised recently (apologies, cant recall exactly who did so), and in RL missing your slot at a major is no small matter, there are even penalties imposed for doing so without sound reasons, because fitting the delayed flight back into a busy take-off/landing schedule will impact on other airlines punctuality too. But, nice as that would be, in terms of reflecting actuality, I'm not sure the server could handle processing the effects at a major like JFK of just one late take-off. So it would need to be part of the wider calculation regarding punctuality rates : but yes, if you knew spreading take-off times more would improve that, then the incentive would be there to do so.

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #45 on: October 11, 2013, 03:19:27 AM »
With terminals you could also lift the arbitrary 100 aircraft limit at bases.

brique

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #46 on: October 11, 2013, 03:30:33 AM »
With terminals you could also lift the arbitrary 100 aircraft limit at bases.

that's true, as the terminal size itself would be the limiter, or how much you were prepared to spend to enlarge/upgrade it. I could see that also relieving the pressure to base more aircraft at HQ and thus ease any monopoly-type penalties there as well :

Offline Sami

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #47 on: October 11, 2013, 12:38:05 PM »
Reading the comments, here would be my initial and broad solution. Details to be discussed:

Airport capacity

Capacity of an airport is limited by many things, and in AWS the model for this limit is mainly the runway capacity (= slots, runway slots). Other limiting factors in real life are ramp space and terminal capacity for example.

So I would propose combining the suggested terminals feature to the current slots feature. Having terminals alone as the capacity metric is not realistic, and airlines rarely build or fund own terminals outside US, but we can merge these two to create a suitable solution here that has both real-world elements and solves the airport issues in the game. (the current slot allocation is not realistic either)


Elements

Two elements are needed: runway capacity and terminal capacity.

Runway capacity will be calculated based on the current system, but added with the airport expansions where airport authority can elect to build new runways and expand the airport's runway capacity when it becomes limiting. There's a separate thread of this too with basic details here: http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,21347.msg268408.html#msg268408  (the idea's details may have to be changed a bit for this but basic idea remains: airport can expand its runways every X years and thus grow larger => more capacity). So this element is dynamic, but slow - like in reality as new runway planning and building can take time (how much time, we should discuss - taking into account 70-80 year game spans)


Terminal capacity will have many elements and possibilities and it is also dynamic, but faster than runway dynamics. Basic idea starts with each airport having a single terminal operated by the airport authority - this is the same like today. So for any small airport with very little traffic nothing changes. But we will introduce a possibility where players can open new terminals for their exclusive use, and possibly also rent this terminal space to other players (or alliances; details to be defined).

Terminal will have a defined max capacity per hour like runway slots. Terminals can be expanded by player input (money), and the airport authority would also expand their own terminal if needed.


Usage

Base idea would be that local airlines have to make their own terminals once they pass certain size, and all visiting airlines use the "default" (airport authority) terminal, unless they wish to make a contract of using player's terminal (similar to fuel contracts etc; just have to make easier interface tied to route opening screen). Each terminal can have defined costs for handling, pax transit etc. Each terminal would also have a quality rating based on some values (to be defined) and this in turn would affect the pax'es desire to use this airline (terminal).

What each airline does inside his own terminal would be then his own matter; longhaul, shorthaul, whatever. However we could allocate the 'gates' (parking spaces) at the terminal also according to the 4 plane size classes so that you'd have different available capacities per plane type. For example total capacity of 10/hour could mean 2x very large or 10x small (just examples).

Staff numbers would also change; you wouldn't need handling staff for example anymore if you buy terminal services from airport authority or other airline, but staff would grow when your terminal grows etc.

Capacity usage % of slots and terminals would also affect to flight delays. Terminals could operate up to ~120% of their design capacity but delays would grow much when >95% capacity is exceeded. (this is advanced part, not necessary)


Costs

Slot costs would be radically reduced as your main costs would go into operating the terminal. There would be no slot limits per airline (apart from the hourly limits etc) but the limiting factor should be the size on your terminal. I would also presume the overall runway slot numbers would need to be increased.

Or alternatively the relative size of the terminal vs. other terminals would be also your max. share of the total rwy slot allocation at that airport. But these are details.


Bases

We could also eliminate the base 100 plane restrictions, since it's limited by terminal capacity now (and past certain size you'd need the terminal, or you can build it right away too). And this feature would also make this "number of aircraft based an airport" feature work: http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,25319.0.html   ..which is basically the same thing what is talked here.

For non-based airlines flying here the airport authority would make sure there is always runway and terminal capacity to them (for runway capacity this has to be thought well too).


Update

This all in all is a massive update and could not be implemented to v.1.3 most likely which is bad since we got 13 months of games left there etc. Eta for building/testing 3-6 months+.


All combined, this would still mean that airports cannot grow exponentially and wildly (runway capacity) but much more dynamics would be introduced with much chance for players to interact and make changes to the environment themselves too. On bad side this could possibly be complicated and also if the runway capacity does not work it would still mean issues (however at some point the rwy capacity will limit anyway). Also how to deal the game start situation is another thing to think about too.

This is what I though of today, and is a very rough idea. Please discuss but do not focus into very tiny details so far. (I may have forgotten something here too)
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 12:52:35 PM by sami »

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #48 on: October 11, 2013, 01:40:00 PM »
So if I understand correctly, we are keeping the old system, removing 100 aircraft base restriction, and adding a new level to the game of terminals?  This sounds fine and dandy to me, but only if the slots available for the entire airport is increased significantly, otherwise we'll still be running out of slots very quickly at the macro level.  I'm also hoping this means that airlines are forced to space their flights out versus having everyone leave at 5am each morning per terminal space requirements (and the gate/ramp crews going from gate to gate to board aircraft versus having some crazy huge staff to board all at once).

If this is a huge update, I think it is prudent to add business plans to the update as the type of business model you plan on using drives the terminal you need.  I mentioned CVG in a previous post.  Concourse C has 80 gates for CRJs loading up on the tarmac whereas the other terminals have ~20 gates with jetways.  If my intention is to run a small regional airline, I should have a terminal suited for my airline.  The most elementary version of this would be giving airlines 3 choices of terminal when they join (for example): 20 gates for small/medium aircraft, 5 gates for small/medium + 10 unrestricted, or 12 unrestricted.  If you are flying long haul, you need less gates/slots and jetways.  If you are flying short haul/regional,  you need more gates/slots and tarmacs.

In regards to slot costs, I think they should be fixed.  You mentioned the majority of costs going towards terminal upkeep (i.e. slot maintenance).  Right now I can order aircraft and I literally have no clue what slots will costs, which makes it difficult.  Even if I do the research, the cost can change significantly, especially if there are only 1 or 2 slots left.  Something like $10k per slot, which means scheduling a 7x daily would cost 140k.  If you are flying 4x daily that is a $560k slot cost.  Simple enough to plan for.

Overall, I really like all of this...


brique

  • Former member
Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #49 on: October 11, 2013, 02:50:26 PM »
Overall, I think such a game development could only help matters : the current system aint totally broke, but as circumstance in each type of airport differs so much, any change to ease one problem seems to throw somewhere else into a tailspin, as with the recent issues with dynamic pricing of slots.

terminals seem to be the way to go : as for how each would share the different classes of service : we all start with a very basic vanilla 'domestic' one and make the limiter pax-handling numbers and gates (as in real life) : then the operator is free to choose what type of plane to operate but cant move more than the limit in pax or fly more the gates can handle in any hour slot. That effectively caps any runway demand as well in that hour. From there, if the operator wants to fly Sh/LH, then they use the 'shared' main terminal, and its limits on pax and gates, until they generate enough funds to upgrade their 'home' terminal to SH : notionally, they'll need customs and immigration facilities in-house, for example.

each aircraft type would occupy a gate for its turnaround time : (so there's a nice player decision : run that big bird but lock that gate for hours, or run smaller aircraft more often? ) this would effectively space out runway use anyway, but yes, there would still be busy periods which could be worked into a potential 'delay' cause.

If the operator has no interest in domestic/regional services, then they can rent out the initial space to incoming services : how to attract such interest : pricing, facilities (allow minor upgrade's such as catering, shops, low-cost parking, etc which increase the terminals image (TI?) and thus, with RI and CI, attract the pax and/or potential tenants.

how to manage airport expansion is simplified to the management building more infrastructure : a new runway, for example, which means terminal owners can upgrade to increase gates/pax flow : or the extra capacity goes into the 'shared' terminal for incoming flights, or for extra flights that dont fit into owned terminals. interim improvements can also be created : runway capacity can increase by management investment in ground control, for example : a new rail link to the town centre can increase pax demand : such one-off 'events' can be randomised to add a little bit of uncertainty to airport expansion and keep players on their toes.

this does add another tier of investment decisions for the operator : upgrade the terminal or buy new planes? If you want that C/F business, you'll have to add business lounges, valet parking, classy bars an restaurants, and so on, to attract that dollar.

And it gives us the doorway and means for the introduction of the Holy Grail of cargo...


FORSBERC

  • Former member
Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #50 on: October 11, 2013, 08:54:37 PM »
In general, I really like where this is going. However, I think we should be able to customize the terminal. Instead of having only three options, why don't we give the player the option of how to customize their terminal space.

For example, when choosing to build a new terminal, give the player an option to choose the terminal size. (The following are random numbers, but you get the idea.) The minimum is say 5,000 sq feet and can go up to 500,000 sq feet. Each square foot is worth $10.

Once the terminal is built, the user can figure out what you put in it. Coffee shops are xx sq feet, lounges are bb, small gates are yy, large gates are zz, etc. Each option/ upgrade costs differently, and the gates all take up space. This could be very similar to how we customize our seating in aircraft. You may be able to fit 100 economy seats, or only 30 business seats, or only 10 first class seats, or a combination of the above. This would give the user the direct ability to customizing their amount of available gates as the game progresses.

Each gate would correspond to the maximum allowable size of aircraft. For example, a small aircraft could use a large aircraft gate, but a large aircraft couldn't use a small aircraft gate.

Offline [ATA] frimp

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #51 on: October 11, 2013, 09:13:07 PM »
I like this idea a lot but fear this is going to take a lot of time to implement.

I've just thought of a radical idea which I thought I'd share (sorry Sami if it's not easy to implement, just an idea)

How about introducing an allocation of profit for slots.
each airline can set an allocation of their weekly profits aside for slots (suggest 50% Max but can be adjusted).
you then preschedule your routes with the new feature and the system would automatically allocate the slots based on the amount you've saved since the last slot release and the priority of when you've scheduled the slots (I imagine you'd need some sort of unique sequential flight number in the background to identify which ones have priority). So the most common slots would probably go first. Any slot which wasn't scheduled by any airline would open up and become an available slot for anyone to pick up. Slot releases would still have to happen randomly so people cant play around with profits.

I'd also think that big losses should deduct any amount already saved up towards new slots. This would prevent larger airlines from placing big orders to acquire aircrafts and then still acquire slots. So its then your choice of a few slots and a few aircrafts or loads of aircrafts but having to delay your intake of slots. This would also solve the problem of huge backlogs on production slots of aircrafts. Slot costs should not be taken into account of profit as you've set that allocation aside.

in my opinion it would then also mean it's more of a sim rewarding airlines for running efficient airlines and maximising profits to stimulate growth. Also everyone would get some slots at airports at some point so people wouldn't get discouraged. I imagine there will be a few flaws with the idea but thought I'd share it nevertheless. I think it would be fair approach for all airlines. One thing I think that may need to be addressed is that LH flights may be at an advantage early in the game.. maybe slot costs could be linked to distance flown to balance the advantage of LH.

I'd like to hear people's thoughts on this and I'm sure it will be torn to pieces like most of my radical ideas :-)

all the best

Fred

Offline Teadaze

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #52 on: October 11, 2013, 09:19:40 PM »
I like this idea a lot but fear this is going to take a lot of time to implement.....


I actually quite like this idea, but I think revenue based, and you can't change the % of contribution every minute.... so it will create a more challenging setting. An bad planned setting may put a company under.

Offline Elyk1981

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #53 on: October 12, 2013, 02:30:11 AM »
Hi All,

Well basing myself several times at LHR over the years the slot issue has been the main contention in every game and is the reason there are so many ultra large airlines at slot locked airports.

I think the easiest way to deal with it and fairest is to open each game world with the maximum slot allocation available that each airport will ever have.

So for example if at LHR in the year 2019 if there is 100 per slots per hour open the game of DOTM in 1975 with this many slots. Due to a lot less pax demand it would be impossible for one airline to use all the slots and fly to every destination without getting the route "oversupply" warning.

This means every airline is able to fly the same routes as each other airline based at the airport. The edge then comes into running your airline efficently, choosing the correct plane types etc. Obviously as the game years continue airline's would inevitably bankrupt putting there slots back into the market and the cycle repeating itself.

That said it means late starters can join the game and have slots available at all the airports, but you have to have a limit of 8 airlines max based at each airport.

Anyway just my thoughts.

Elyk

Online Cardinal

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #54 on: October 12, 2013, 02:58:33 AM »
I think the terminal idea is a good one, and Sami's rough draft is a pretty good starting point.

Any new terminal or runway construction should take time to be completed. IRL a new runway usually takes several years from committing to the project until concrete is poured (regulatory issues, special interests, NIMBYs, etc all having to be dealt with). And then there's actual construction time. Terminal buildings don't face the same amount of red tape but take longer to build, it's still a couple of years (at least) between the design phase and opening.

For the sake of playability, a shortened time frame should be chosen (6 months? 1 year?) between when either the airport decides it needs a new runway or when an airline buys a new terminal, and when said runway/terminal opens. Neither the airport nor the HQ airline should be able to just go buy a runway or terminal at Walmart.

In the meantime:

     New Runway: If there is spare capacity in the common-use terminal or an airline's private terminal, and airlines decide to add flights, delays increase as the current runway(s) is near/at/beyond capacity. Once the new runway opens delays will ease.

     New private terminal: If a HQ/Based airline is still using the common-use gates, and decides/is compelled to build their own terminal, in the interim they (and all "foreign" airlines) remain constrained by the number of common-use gates available.  (If it is decided that every startup airline gets a terminal at their HQ, then this would not apply.)

     Expanded common-use terminal: When the airport-owned terminal reaches capacity and the airport authority announces a terminal expansion, during construction the existing space constraints remain. *Another twist to this could be to add 1%-2% to the delay chances of all flights using the common terminal during construction, as expanding a terminal comes with some growing pains. This could cause airlines to think more carefully about spreading out flights or even slow growth if they know additional flights are going to trigger construction, the "It'll get worse before it gets better" scenario.

     Expanded private terminal: When the hometown airline's existing terminal is at/near 100% capacity, and they spend the money on a new terminal, during construction they can try to squeeze a few more flights into their existing space but delays will happen. *The "growing pains" delay penalty described above could come into play here too.
     Alternatively, if an airline expands their terminal but wants to grow in the meantime without causing delays, they could lease gates in the common terminal, but those leases would expire when their new terminal opens. This would help prevent slot hogging in the common-use terminal as the maximum amount of time the home airline could lease the common-use gates would be whatever the terminal construction time is.

If it isn't too complex to code, the airports that are special cases in real life should be special cases in AWS. (I'm looking at you, Heathrow.) These are the places where the regulatory red tape and NIMBY lawsuits are especially thick. In these certain cases, either the threshold of congestion before construction is triggered should be higher (particularly for a runway), or the construction delay should be longer, or both.


Offline LemonButt

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #55 on: October 12, 2013, 12:00:01 PM »
Hi All,

Well basing myself several times at LHR over the years the slot issue has been the main contention in every game and is the reason there are so many ultra large airlines at slot locked airports.

I think the easiest way to deal with it and fairest is to open each game world with the maximum slot allocation available that each airport will ever have.

So for example if at LHR in the year 2019 if there is 100 per slots per hour open the game of DOTM in 1975 with this many slots. Due to a lot less pax demand it would be impossible for one airline to use all the slots and fly to every destination without getting the route "oversupply" warning.

This means every airline is able to fly the same routes as each other airline based at the airport. The edge then comes into running your airline efficently, choosing the correct plane types etc. Obviously as the game years continue airline's would inevitably bankrupt putting there slots back into the market and the cycle repeating itself.

That said it means late starters can join the game and have slots available at all the airports, but you have to have a limit of 8 airlines max based at each airport.

Anyway just my thoughts.

Elyk

This will not work.  If Heathrow started with 100 slots instead of 50 slots, airlines would simply fly 100 seaters instead of 200 seaters and still use up all the slots in the same manner they do today (see Parkinson's Law).

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #56 on: October 12, 2013, 12:03:35 PM »
     New Runway: If there is spare capacity in the common-use terminal or an airline's private terminal, and airlines decide to add flights, delays increase as the current runway(s) is near/at/beyond capacity. Once the new runway opens delays will ease.

     New private terminal: If a HQ/Based airline is still using the common-use gates, and decides/is compelled to build their own terminal, in the interim they (and all "foreign" airlines) remain constrained by the number of common-use gates available.  (If it is decided that every startup airline gets a terminal at their HQ, then this would not apply.)

The interesting things about runways and terminals is that runways cannot be used until they are 100% built whereas terminals can be used while they are still partially under construction.

Let's say an airport goes from 1 runway to 2 runways.  There is an instant explosion of takeoff/landing slots ON THE RUNWAY due to this.  At a macro level, slots show up overnight.

If an airport opens a terminal, they could build out the terminal in phases and gate slots would be added to a player's exclusive slot pool in phases, or in otherwords: at a micro level, slots show up slowly over time.

Offline Pukeko

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #57 on: October 12, 2013, 12:07:39 PM »
I like the idea of somehow being able to add new runways / terminal etc. and that they would take time to build, with some costs up front. Maybe there could be a way where two airlines (or within an alliance), airlines could pool money to build terminals for that alliance only. And, then maybe the 'owner' airline(s), could lease out room (slots) to other airlines at set weekly/monthly costs on an annual basis?

Glob-Al

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Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #58 on: October 13, 2013, 03:48:05 AM »
Just catching up with this thread. There are lots of great ideas here but I'm concerned that there's a danger of making this over-complicated. Most people commenting on this thread are presumably reasonably experienced players who know how it works currently but this system has to be newbie-proof as well. To my mind, having both gate slots and runway slots is adding an unnecessary extra level of complexity. If the design was such that both were limiting factors then you'd have to line both up, making scheduling even more complicated. Or if they were designed so that terminals become the main limiting factor, what's the point of having runway slots at all?

Stepping back for one minute, and looking at the big picture - as others have said we have a scarce resource (slots at popular airports) here. I think the two big questions are:

(1) on what basis should that scarce resource be allocated? Presuming you're not just going to hand out the resource evenly, the three main ways you could allocate it would be money, time spent online or luck. It seems like most of us favour money, which throws up a sub-question of whether the price should be the same for everyone or if bigger airlines should have to pay more. Personally I favour bigger airlines having to pay more. I know it's not necessarily realistic (or entirely fair) but it helps with the gameplay.

(2) should there be a hard cap (i.e. an absolute fixed limit that cannot be exceeded) on this resource, or a soft cap (i.e. there is no absolute fixed limit but buying it gets more and more expensive)? The sub-question here is, if there's a soft cap, how tight should that be? Should it basically always be expandable or should it reach a point where it will be nigh on impossible to expand further? It seems to me that there is a much wider range of opinion in the thread on these questions. Personally I favour a soft cap that is quite tight.

If you go with a hard cap, the logical approach is to stick with runway slots because once they're gone, they're gone. Airport expansions can be used to grow these in a way that is controlled by the system / the admin rather than the players, so as to maintain the hard cap. My preferred way of doing this would be that all airlines based at an airport are invited to contribute to the cost of an expansion, and half the slots are allocated between them in proportion to the amount they contributed. The other half are gradually released (like the current system) but only for airlines based elsewhere to fly in. As an example, airlines based at LHR get a message saying the authorities are planning to add a new runway with 24 slots per hour. Airline A offers to contribute $100m, Airline B and C each offer $300m and Airline D $500m. 12 slots an hour would be divided amongst them so Airline D would get 5, B and C 3 each and A 1. The other 12 slots would be drip-fed out for airlines based elsewhere to fly in.

If you go with a soft cap, I think terminals are a better way to go, with the cost of increasing runway capacity factored in to the cost of terminal building but not modeled separately. LemonButt's ideas are great. In the interests of keeping it simple(ish), I think I would make it so that:
  • everyone begins in the public terminal, but there's a limit to how many slots they can take which is 75% of the number of slots per hour on day 1, divided by the number of airlines based there on day 1. So in extremis, if LHR begins with 24 slots per hour, and 6 airlines based there, the limit would be 3 slots per hour per airline. At the other end, if say CVG has 40 slots per hour and only 1 airline based there then their limit would be 30 slots per hour.
  • an airline can choose to build their own terminal. When they do so they will automatically have exclusively available to them at that terminal the maximum number of slots per hour they could have got at the public terminal. The slots they had at the public terminal are then gradually over time made available for airlines not based at the airport to grab on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  • when an airline wants to expand its terminal, the first expansion is comparatively cheap, with each subsequent expansion becoming 1.5x more expensive (to maintain a soft cap). So expansion 1 might cost $100m, expansion 2 $150m, expansion 3 $225m and so on. (the precise cost could vary based on a number of factors including how many hourly flights there already are at the airport, and some sort of metric for how easy/hard this airport is to expand - so LHR would be more expensive than DXB because of the nimbys)
  • For each expansion the airline could choose from a number of options:
    (a) 3 tarmac gates (= 3 slots per hour) suitable for a/c up to and including size medium;
    (b) 2 small jetways (= 2 slots per hour) suitable for a/c up to and including size large; 
    (c) 1 large jetway (= 1 slot per hour) suitable for all aircraft;
    (d) a first class lounge that increases the chances first class passengers will choose their airline;
    (e) a business class lounge that increases the chances business class passengers will choose their airline;
    (f) a public transportation hub that increases the chances economy class passengers will use their airline;
    (g) a retail area that will bring in some extra revenue;
    (h) extra check-in desks that will reduce the turnaround time on which there is a 1% chance of delays by 5 minutes (e.g. on an A320 it becomes 1:05 rather than 1:10) down to a minimum of the aircraft's minimum turn time.
    If the airline chooses to add more gates, an equivalent number of gates are also added to the public terminal. That way, building a gates expansion gives them an advantage over the other airlines based at their airport, but does not cut off competition with airlines flying in from outside. Building one of the other types of expansion (d-h) will give an advantage over all airlines flying in to their base.
  • when opening a new base, the system looks at whether there is an average of at least 5 slots per hour still available between 0500-2300. If there is, the airline can enter the public terminal. If there is not, they will have to build their own terminal immediately in order to enter the market.

Sorry for the long post. Hope there's some helpful ideas in there though!

brique

  • Former member
Re: Slots - the final solution
« Reply #59 on: October 13, 2013, 04:46:42 AM »
Lots of very good ideas in there, Al, and you are absolutely correct re: not over-complicating matters so that new players aren't totally confusicated from step 1 : My solution for the runway slot/gates is simple enough : if you have the gate you get the runway slot with it : once the runway slots get tight, you cant expand your gates in your terminal until the airport expands and creates more runway slots thus allowing more gates to be in use : that doesn't stop you upgrading your terminal in other ways, as you describe : business lounges, catering, etc : so you wont be left sitting just waiting for new capacity.

There will still be the element of chance : a BK will free up gates and a quick move may snag them for an earlier terminal upgrade than planned : gates may come free in the common-use terminal to allow parked planes to get flying earlier while waiting for your terminal upgrade, then they can be transferred back in-house once completed.

The idea of airlines contributing to overall airport expansion financially and then gaining some privileged access to the new capacity is fine too : I think the key to keeping competition and access into the airport from outside is that any capacity not taken up by the based airline terminals gets used, along with the 'reserved' capacity, in the common-use terminal : there's the incentive to expand your terminal, as if others take the gates/runway slots via the common-use terminal, you lose that capacity to expand into : there would still have to be a cap on capacity : some percentage must always be reserved to the common-use terminal and barred to based airline use : so if the based airlines did bankroll overall expansion, part of that is increasing capacity for others too. That would be a sort of soft-cap with hard edges, no based airline, even one so big it could bankroll an airport expansion on its own, could expand to totally dominate as the act of airport expansion would also create capacity they could never use, just their competitors : so, a finely balanced decision for them to be making.

As mentioned elsewhere, any airport expansion does need to be a longish-term process ; new runways dont appear overnight, but that would fit neatly into the longer-game scenario well : once an expansion is announced, players will need to start planning for it : new planes, upgrading their terminal for more gates, etc , which should also have a completion time element : I'm of the opinion we should not over-complicate these upgrades : a basic 'level #1 terminal> level #2 upgrade' should give a certain % boost  to CI and RI : together with more gates, perhaps allowing more larger planes to operate from it. Perhaps C/F pax will only consider using a level #3 or better terminal, and so on. Before then, you'll have to use the relatively more expensive (?) and scarcer gates in the common-use terminal for that traffic. That would limit the mentioned elsewhere 'LH exploit' for rapid expansion : you should not be able to really expand LH (and the lucrative C/F business) until you can upgrade your own terminal to handle it.

Anyway, that's my solution to the issue : allow airports to expand, theoretically, infinitely (but impossible to do as the cost would become beyond anyone's pocket) : at the same time, no one airline could ever fill the new capacity on its own, only part of it : the bigger you grow your airport, the more space you create for competition to work in : and there's a sort of self-limiter to using mere numbers to 'win' market share : you'll also have to address the other aspects of your 'offer' to get the competitive edge to maximise returns.

With the much-awaited 'dynamic demand' development also due in play, the ground rules are going to change anyway : LHR may become a back-water to the might of Luton, or Stansted : JFK may have to bow to Atlantic City : NRT will gaze with awe at the 15 runways at Komatsu as the single daily flight to HND returns half-empty...

we can but dream :)

 

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