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Author Topic: Mentor needed  (Read 1550 times)

Offline Andre090904

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Mentor needed
« on: November 05, 2015, 02:44:16 AM »
Hi folks

I am new to this game, read all the manual, tried playing the beginner's world and ended up on Gameworld 4. Not that I would be the biggest aviation nerd of all times, but I consider myself to be no noob in this field. Nonetheless, I have trouble running an airline in this game.

I already requested a mentor - to no avail. Is there somebody willing to help me out during my first game round?

Main problem: finances.

I am based in Split (Yugoslavia) and have currently 7 aircraft. There are 3x DC-9-62/63 and 4x F27. Most of the routes I fly (except 2) are monopoly routes (so no competition). Still, I hardly make any profit. Well, the aircrafts do make profit, but the costs are simply higher than that according to my income statement. Load factors keep improving from day to day (at least), but I doubt if I can gain profits soon. Also, route image is somehow stuck? Or am I just too impatient?

Feel free to ask my anything you need to know. A mentor would be truly helpful.

Best,
André

Offline schro

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2015, 03:01:15 AM »
So, for new airlines, the biggest barrier to entry is the RI of the routes, especially when you're flying a route that about equals the demand of your plane. It takes a bit over a game year to boost RI on any given route to 100, which isthe point where all passenger demand is available for you to sell. When your RI is at 0, then you will only be able to sell seats equal to about 20-30% of demand at the most, which typically is not enough to build a profitable airline. At a very quick glance, it seems somewhat likely that you'll become profitable in a few game months as RI increases for the routes that you're currently flying. The main trick is to not have spent your entire cash reserve to set up the airline so you can feed the fire until it can sustain itself...

Offline Andre090904

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2015, 03:12:00 AM »
Hi Schro,

Thanks for your fast response, highly appreciated!

I indeed have such routes where the supply equals the demand (especially those F27 routes with a demand of ~50). Also, not sure why, but one DC-9 route is going extraordinarily well, while others don't. So I guess I just keep waiting then? I still have ~16 million of my 21 million I started with. At the moment, I am at a loss of up to ~100.000 per week. My airline is 4 weeks old.

Do you recommend doing extra route specific marketing campaigns or do I just keep flying to the destinations until everybody knows me?

Offline gazzz0x2z

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2015, 09:56:19 AM »
Route specific marketing is cheap early in the game, so maybe you can afford some now. When your company is getting mature, it's getting harsher, and I don't use it for anything under a 737. But, un the beginning, normally, it's OK.

And 4 weeks is really young. Some lines need more than 1 year to reach their full potential, without advertising.

Offline mikebravo

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2015, 11:19:41 AM »
2 hints for a starter:

- start with the shorter routes first to get your aircraft flying 4 to 5 legs everyday (specially those small F27 ones)

- consider the following scenario:

plane with 50 capacity
route A with 100 demand
route B with 50 demand
route C with 50 demand

For your RI to increase faster it is better for you to fly route A twice per day than route B + route C once per day

Good game :)

Offline schro

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2015, 01:29:02 PM »
2 hints for a starter:

- start with the shorter routes first to get your aircraft flying 4 to 5 legs everyday (specially those small F27 ones)

- consider the following scenario:

plane with 50 capacity
route A with 100 demand
route B with 50 demand
route C with 50 demand

For your RI to increase faster it is better for you to fly route A twice per day than route B + route C once per day

Good game :)

Ri does not increase faster at two flights per day vs one.

Offline Andre090904

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2015, 02:53:29 PM »
Well, there is hardly any demand anywhere. I am quite happy that I have found a couple of routes where demand is ~50 without any competition. Yes, the routes are quite long I admit, but what can I do? There are no alternatives.

Split is closed between 22-06. So the prop machines rarely get home in time to fly more than 2 legs a day.

Offline schro

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2015, 03:00:10 PM »
Well, there is hardly any demand anywhere. I am quite happy that I have found a couple of routes where demand is ~50 without any competition. Yes, the routes are quite long I admit, but what can I do? There are no alternatives.

Split is closed between 22-06. So the prop machines rarely get home in time to fly more than 2 legs a day.

So, as far as more direct advice goes, it is fairly difficult to make money when flying small planes on longer routes. Two flights per day on an F.27 isn't always going to be super profitable (as that should be maybe 2x 800nm routes).... But since you have so little competition, yo'ull probably be OK once your RI goes up...

Offline Andre090904

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2015, 03:28:00 PM »
I know that it's not the wisest decision ever. As a passenger, I certainly would not like to fly 4,5h with a prop aircraft to London from Central Europe. But since I am the only one on this route, well...

But then again, I checked each and every country, every possible destination within reach...and that's still the best I could come up with. The only alternatives would be Vienna or Rome (as two examples), but those routes are already flown by some other airlines. The Rome route is indeed interesting because demand is ~80, but the other airline flies 4x daily with a ~20 seat aircraft. Would I be the better choice (in the view of the passengers) if I offer the same route flying a bigger (and slightly faster) aircraft?

The other airline uses N262 and I'd use F27. The demand is currently over-satisfied. So I am not too sure if I should go into battle about this route. There is also Istanbul where the demand is not fully satisfied...but that's again quite a distance for the F27.

You see...there is (at least in my eyes) no real option here. I have to take what I can get my hands on. Or what would you suggest?

Offline mikebravo

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2015, 05:26:29 PM »
Ri does not increase faster at two flights per day vs one.

You're 100% right.
"Image of a certain route can be increased by flying the route regularly over a long period of time and with route marketing."
I got this from the Route image page description. Now I figure out that I have understood it wrong.

However, there is a certain point in my strategy. Let me explain better. The same scenario, no competition:

plane with 50 capacity
route A with 100 demand
route B with 50 demand
route C with 50 demand

You start to fly route A offering 50 seats. Let's say that 6 game months later you've got new planes available. Instead of flying route B or C, you'll be better off completing the demand for A, since by that time your RI should be higher on that route. This, for a starter, means having a few more bucks available in books to reinvest. When you grow big, it doesn't matter anymore.

I know that it's not the wisest decision ever. As a passenger, I certainly would not like to fly 4,5h with a prop aircraft to London from Central Europe. But since I am the only one on this route, well...

But then again, I checked each and every country, every possible destination within reach...and that's still the best I could come up with. The only alternatives would be Vienna or Rome (as two examples), but those routes are already flown by some other airlines. The Rome route is indeed interesting because demand is ~80, but the other airline flies 4x daily with a ~20 seat aircraft. Would I be the better choice (in the view of the passengers) if I offer the same route flying a bigger (and slightly faster) aircraft?

The other airline uses N262 and I'd use F27. The demand is currently over-satisfied. So I am not too sure if I should go into battle about this route. There is also Istanbul where the demand is not fully satisfied...but that's again quite a distance for the F27.

You see...there is (at least in my eyes) no real option here. I have to take what I can get my hands on. Or what would you suggest?

My advice is: do not engage in competition games while your airline is small. Try to grow quietly and you'll be fine. Just as an example, if you've got a revenue of 500k$ / week and your competitor 100m$, chances are that once dividing demand in a certain route it will cause more harm to you than to him, since his revenue structure is strong enough to absorb the hit.
I manage a medium regional airline with 74 DC9s (75 to 105 seats) and my planes fly an average of 17.6h. Margin of 23%. All my bases have 3 airlines operating from. My hint is to fly overnight and keep your planes off the ground. Your base airport may be closed from 22h to 6h, however, your last flight can depart at 21h55 head somewhere where you've got an open airfield and return at an hour so that you can arrive after 6h back home. Overnight flights have a certain hit in demand, though. Try to play with time fuse so that you don't fly at too weird hours. ;)
« Last Edit: November 05, 2015, 05:46:13 PM by mikebravo »

Offline Andre090904

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2015, 05:56:20 PM »
Thanks for your response, highly appreciated!

I currently have a weekly profit of -100.000 to -200.000. So there isn't too much I could invest. ;)

Still waiting for the numbers to improve...hope that happens one day.

Offline mikebravo

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2015, 11:37:11 PM »
I checked your airline, it's still too early to expect results. Wait few more game months and it will be ok, really. ;)

EDIT:
But looks like you're unlucky. Taken from world events:

"Protests in Yugoslavia against the government have escalated.
Several foreign governments have issued travel warnings due to the threat of violence.
New elections will be held in two weeks. Protests and riots are likely to happen until then.
Several people have changed their travel plans and this will show as fewer people flying in and out for the next two weeks."

 ;D ;D ;D ;D :(

Offline Andre090904

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2015, 12:34:04 AM »
This event is already over, but I fear there will be more when Yugoslavia splits up into its different individual countries.

@Maintenance: How come maintenance costs vary so much between different weeks? I had 196.000 (for 7 aircraft?!) last week, this monday I'm already at 211.000. This is, by far, the biggest factor in all my income statement. Are these costs normal?

Offline EAS66

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2015, 04:59:24 PM »
Maintenance costs vary between A checks, B checks, C checks and D checks which are weekly, monthly, yearly, every 8 years. A D check on a L1011 is 6 million for instance so bad planning can wreck balance sheets.

In general - A and B checks can be run by the AI.

Plan you fleet using 7 day scheduling (look it up its worth your time) and then let C checks run automatically as well.

D checks need to be planned as the aircraft is out for like 60 - 80 days so you need to slot in a replacement craft or you lose a lot of income and image. I for instance have 2 extra L1011's that i'm using to slot in for D checks for the whole L1011 fleet, and have rented / bought extra DC9's for the those checks.
 

Offline mikebravo

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2015, 08:44:18 PM »
Maintenance costs also vary depending on the age of the aircraft.

Offline Andre090904

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2015, 11:38:02 PM »
Thank you all for your responses!

I am doing now a profit of ~50.000 to 100.000 each week. Not that it would be much, but I am quite happy with it for now. One more question:

I intend to fly to Barcelona from my home base Split. This route will be the 2nd leg of a DC-9-51. There is another competitor flying this route with a BAe-146-200. His company image is only 10 (mine is now in the mid-30's). My DC-9-51 is slightly faster than his BAe-146-200. He is departing at 14:30, I'll be departing 16:20.

Do you guys think that is a good move? From what I can see, these factors should actually attract passengers to my airline. Or do passengers prefer the "new" BAe-146-200 compared with my somewhat old DC-9?


Also...I have a cancellation rate of 28.6% on one of my routes because of "weather conditions". Should I be worried?
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 11:41:42 PM by Andre090904 »

Offline mikebravo

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2015, 01:03:45 AM »
If he's been flying that route regularly for more than a year and his RI is 100 (which you can't know), it will take time for you to pick up the same route image, and that should have a major impact. If you haven't got any other option with no competition then it's better than not flying at all. Have you got closer routes? You might be better off having those planes fly 4 to 5 short legs even if with competition.
If you absolutely need to fly that BCN route, then lower the standard price by 20% in the beginning.
Cancellation 28.6% for weather conditions should be seasonal. You should watch off A/C rotation cancellation, that one you can control.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 01:05:56 AM by mikebravo »

Offline Andre090904

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2015, 01:47:21 AM »
The problem is that there are hardly any routes with sufficient demand (that means 50+). You speak of 4-5 legs I should fly. Well, I have trouble finding even 3 airports in the whole of Europe worth flying to from my base. My DC-9 has 110 seats (for slightly increased range). It'll fly to Tehran which gives some time for another leg. The only real other option instead of Barcelona would be Alicante. But demand there is only ~50 which is unsufficient for a 110 seat aircraft I suppose. Might still be better than Barcelona with 90 and competition, though. Tricky.

Then there is still Rome (as I said above) with some guy flying 4 times daily to my base with a small N262. That is quite a short flight from Split (~150NM). I could squeeze that in somewhere, but if it makes sense...

Offline mikebravo

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2015, 11:47:13 PM »
Your margin last quarter was -20%, things are not looking good. That airport will never have that much demand and you haven't got many options to expand in Croatia (new hubs) :-\ There's nothing wrong with starting over, I did it once because I made a bad choice of aircraft.

For the future, you may consider the following hints:

- choose an airport with enough demand and expansion options for what you want to achieve (doesn't have to be in Europe or USA, plenty of other options)
- try to stay with 1 aircraft type in the beginning, for instance, DC9 is a very flexible type for this era, with seating ranging from 75 to >100, and you've got many available
- allow your first routes to be profitable before expanding too rapidly (or with another word, do not run out of cash too quickly)
- if you choose a medium sized aircraft type, take over the closest destinations first, as shorter flights tend to be more profitable with smaller types of aircraft

:) good luck

Offline Andre090904

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Re: Mentor needed
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2015, 02:05:28 AM »
My profit margin is actually ~8% by now with new routes improving every day. I expect it to end up somewhere between 15% and 20% by the end of this game year (which is quite okay I find). You're right about the expension options, though. There still is Dubrovnik (which is just as big - or as small - as Split). But that doesn't bother me much. It's my first round and all I want is to survive. Don't need a big fancy airline right from the beginning. :)

Will need to get in touch with the game more...especially when it comes to replacing aircraft types, competition etc. A small airline fits me for now.

One question though: How do these ABCBA routes work? I couldn't find anything in the manual under "routes". Or maybe I am just blind. Any tips on that would be highly appeciated!

 

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