I have to pay 10 million dollars A WEEK to fly the L-1011. 10-million-dollars.
There's an obvious benefit of having a smaller fleet in the real world, hell Southwest made it one of their selling points to investors. But ECONOMIES OF SCALE will make fleet types pay for themselves, not arbitrarily assigning a 600% INCREASE in training costs and DOUBLING maintenance costs. Those numbers are no where near real world reflective.
In the game, we can't choose to outsource to regional airlines. As such, our Embraer and CRJ fleets have to be taken on by the mainline carrier and counted towards our fleet types. ERJ's and CRJ's have different cost profiles than mainline aircraft, which is in part addressed by the staffing functions. But to insist that overnight one fleet type has made it OVER 6 TIMES MORE EXPENSIVE TO MAINTAIN A FLEET OF AIRCRAFT is outside the realm of fiscal plausibility.
All of the major US airlines would have tanked due to their fleets and this policy. To give some perspective, the three major US carriers with regional subfleets that remain now have:
American - 9 aircraft types
Delta - 14 aircraft types, 11 of which are mainline!
United - 15 aircraft types!!!! 15 freaking distinct types of aircraft!
And that's just the American ones. Air France, British Airways, KLM, Iberia, the large airlines of the world all have a tendency to operate upwards of 10 subfleets!
Now that wouldn't make sense if they were flying one airplane of each. But they're not. They're flying 30 or 40 to hundreds of the same airplane, which makes operating those types accessible. If a real world airline can derive value from more than 3 types of aircraft, then why are we being stifled to do so?
In a study from the November 2010 edition of The Journal of Air Transport Management, Alexander Brüggen and Levin Klose point out that "While a standardized airline fleet can produce significant cost advantages, there may also be drawbacks. Carriers aiming at maximizing efficiency and their cost advantages by using a uniform fleet generally limit the types of service they provide. Airlines require types of aircraft that best suit their network and routes and thus offering a wide range of diverse services may be best served with a more diverse fleet. In the low-cost airline case there are limited variations in demand and routes and thus commonality may be advantageous. In contrast to network airlines such as Lufthansa or Air France operate global services based on hub and spoke systems involving high-demand trunk routes and lower-demand regional connections and thus a more varied fleet may be optimal." Via a regression analysis, they equate a .106 or 10.6% reduction in profitability per additional fleet type.
The same journal from January 2015 features a study by Zou, Dresner, and Yu (I actually just finished a class with Yu in my MBA program at Embry Riddle) which concludes "Using panel data for a group of US airlines from 1999 to 2009, we find that fleet standardization, as expected, leads to lower unit costs. However, after controlling for its cost-reducing effects, fleet standardization is negatively related to profit margin. Our findings provide quantitative evidence of the trade-off between the costs and benefits from fleet commonality. Although airlines can benefit from cost savings in flight operations and maintenance with a more standardized fleet, the potential negative revenue impacts from fleet standardization have generally been overlooked."
I understand why it's there, so that airlines aren't flying every type in existence. But this is where having a sufficiently large fleet and economies of scale would clear the way. If a CEO wants to fly a Piper Seminole, a Beech 1900C, a Beech 99, a Cessna Caravan, and a DHC-6 then let them, and let the breakeven bar be sufficiently high that unless you own 10 or 20 of the types of aircraft it's unprofitable. I bet you they won't find 100 destinations to fly a sizeable enough subfleet of those airplanes to, and makes the whole exercise uneconomical. The same premise exists for larger aircraft, as someone flying the MD-90, MD-80, 737, and A320 will have to operate them in such small subfleets and forego the benefit from having all of them combined. But don't penalize me when I'm swapping 737-300 to 737-700's while operating a 777 for across the world routes, 767's for Europe, 757's for domestic long hauls, and RJ's to connect them all together for a total of 6 fleets. Each aircraft has a (rather large) niche, and when you limit the number of aircraft that I can fly I'm suddenly trying to stuff a 767-300 to do a 777-200's job.
This has a further impact on aircraft production, because now everyone is cramming their flights into the same old fleet types. RJ, 737, 767, or RJ, A320, A330. It's done time and time again. No one orders 777's or 747's because they'll get the penalty, so they stick with the smaller option. It's boring. I want to emulate a real world airline and have multiple fleet types, not adhere to the same crap I did in the last 10 game worlds. Trying out something new is part of the fun that actually keeps things fresh. If you give people the ability to create more colorful fleets, they'll be more inclined to keep playing the game instead of performing the same scheduling grind and lack variety they experienced for the last 8 game worlds. Changing location isn't enough, changing the aircraft is important.
Instead, have an exponential stepped curve, looking something like:
First type free
Second type 10% additional increase to maintenance and training costs
Third type 12%
Fourth type 15%
Fifth type 18%
Sixth type 22%
Because by the time I'm up to the 6th fleet, the small fleet airline is paying out the nose while the big fleet airline can still find those added values by operating sufficiently large subfleets of each type.
I understand this isn't the real world and its necessary to regulate players to be more realistic and competitive, but I believe implementing tiers as described above will add needed variety to the game, be somewhat consistent with real world penalties, and will still serve the function of prohibiting a smorgasbord of fleet types as it will require a scale of economy and cause more careful consideration when choosing fleet types, rather than gaming the arbitrary restraints of the system at 3 fleet types.