Before getting started; Yes, I've searched and found a couple of topics about this:http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,12045.0.htmlhttp://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,10670.0.htmlhttp://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,3360.0.htmlhttp://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,6081.0.html
But I still feel the need to vent some thoughts and ideas, so bare with me. Here goes...
The current system is pretty straightforward, point-to-point routes only and very simplified competiton, a bit too simplified as there is a lot of talks now about anti-monopoly regulations etc. To go beyond having just a little fun and have a few planes and really be able to expand, you currently have to be based on a large high-demand airport (fixed to real-world numbers, not dynamic). Even if multilple bases would be added to the game, it still wouldn't really add anything except more simple hard-core expansion options, it wouldn't really add to "being smart". This takes a bit of the edge away. From what I understand the current issue is the staggering amount of calculations that would be necessary to have truly transiting passengers. But what about a simplified, expandable version of this.
Let's start off by some conditions to limit the amount of possibilities for a "transfer" (which can later be expanded/relaxed):
* No "second destinations" allowed in your schedules
* It can only be your own flights
* PAX accepts a maximum of 1 transfer
* PAX accepts a maximum transfer time of 3 hours
This should greatly limit the number of options for a transfer, and can of course be relaxed later on depeding on computational limits etc.
So how would this work?
Every time a route-pair is created/edited/removed the "connections table" (database table) is updated with consideration to the above mentioned rules.
You already have connection A - B - A, departing 08.00 and returning to base at 12.00.
You create connection A - C - A, departing 14.30 and returning to base at 18.00.
When creating second connection the following happens:
A connection "A - C" is created in the database with calculation information such as price, service levels, aircraft, type of aircraft, capacity, departure time, total flight time and other variables necessary to calculate PAX distribution. Also during the creation of connection "A - C" a check is also made to see if a transfer is possible according to the above mentioned rules.
As there is an arrival from a different destination by your own airline within 3 hours before the flights departure, a connection is possible between B - C via A!
A connection "B - C" is created in the database with calculation information necessary to calculate PAX distribution incl. but not limited to an average service level, via, total flighttime, total price etc.
When time to determine distribution of passengers from B to C, all flights are compared (the entered direct connections for those airports and the transfer connections) and depending on PAX preferences the PAX are distrubuted on the avialable choices between B and C.
This would of course require a few more calculations to determine exact capacities of the different legs used, and what is prioritised in terms of direct PAX vs. connecting PAX, and other calculations/presentations to make this work fully as intended.
In combination with adjustments to take departure time (high-demand times) more into account and adjusting flights to make transfers possible, this would add to the "be smart" instead of "be more" part of the game. Since it's obviously impossible to have all flights at all time to depart in the peak hours it would make it possible for smaller airlines to have clever routes with lots of connecting passengers between smaller destinations. As an example a small airline flying small, low-capacity airplanes with short turn-around times would be able to have connecting flights and compete with direct flights as total flying time would not be much more. And as smaller planes are cheaper to operate they should also be able to have pricing levels that make even connecting flights attractive vs. direct flights.
Along with this system I would also like it more clearly shown the prices and service levels of other airlines, in order to provide a possibility to make sensible choices in terms of pricing, service levels, departure times and type of aircraft. I've read the aeguments for hiding this information but disagree as it makes the game anonymous and almost turns it into a vs. computer game. All in all, I would definately ask for more "smart" than "more" improvements (read: connecting flights, better distribution of PAX vs. multiple bases). At least until the "smart" improvements are implemented.
An obvious extension of this is of course to reset the fixed demand figures between airport pairs and recalculate them depending on population, airport size (uptake area) and other nearby airports, and let natural hubs be created depending on where airlines set up their bases. A larger capacity airport (open 24H) would of course allow more flights then. And in an extension having demand be dynamic and based on most utilised aiport in the area, capacity etc. I've read the discussion about it, and maybe now is the time to recalculate the fixed numbers for demand and let natural hubs evolve?
Just some quick ideas before the nightshift. Thoughts?