I completely disagree and would suggest re-evaluating your strategy.
I joined the Dawn of the new Millenium (previous world game) at almost 25%; failed a couple times. I then picked Calcutta, India, which was crowded, but had plenty of open routes following a fuel spike like the one we are having now. This was at least 8 game years in (almost like now). By about 75% of the scenario, I was one of the largest airlines and based on metrics was larger then my main competitors in India and held my own against quite a few large airlines across Asia (different scheduling rules).
In this game, I'm in India again and do not operated bases from Delhi or Mumbai, the two largest cities with the most demand, and I'm doing quite well and in the top 10-50 range on a number of the rankings.
I would suggest to quit trying to be an airline mogal in Narita, O'Hare, LAX,LHR, Frankfurt, etc, etc (i.e., all the airports everyone wants to operate from). Pick a mid-size city that appears underserved with decent international demand and see if you can get the hang of the game play in these large worlds. You could pick a half dozen cities in China alone that could provide fun and quick revenue expansion.
The large airlines are part of the game and there are a lot of seasoned veterens that like playing, so you need to figure how to out-manouver them or at least fly under their radar long enough to get your self established. With that said, while it's difficult, it is not at all impossible to start late and grow your airline to be one of the large ones...that's really all part of the fun and challenge (for me at least).