Yep I'm always using 2 fleet types. But when you have 700 aircraft, with 400 and 300 respectively of each type.. well then it's not even possible to switch out one of them without storing hundreds of planes for several years. Simply an incredibly backwards game mechanic which ruins the sim.
You just have to be extra careful, and put a ton of planning effort early on to map out the fleet transitions. You just can't jump on every shiny new fleet type that launches, and you end up with fleets for far longer, past their prime. You need to have the fleet transitions 10+ years apart. I think the 3 fleet limitation really stresses strategic planning.
You can run 400-500 aircraft airline and be self sufficient in ordering aircraft replacements. To go beyond that, and we are talking maybe top 10 airlines in the game, you will need some help, from the alliance or from UM to make the transitions.
The investors would own a certain percentage of the company and expect returns corresponding to their capital investment as well. There are a lot of ways to do it. The last part about the leasing companies I 100% agree with you on, it would be a great way to hinder growth in a realistic way.
The credit market, IMO, needs to be re-worked, to be a little more realistic. The whole credit rating, credit worthiness, borrowing power based on that right now really plays almost no role for running an airline. Barring any short term miscalculation on my part, I can play the entire game without looking at it once.
For starters, the implied interest rate that goes into the leasing price should have some dependence on airline's credit rating. Meaning, there would be a trade-off:
- Grow fast, have low capitalization, low credit rating, but pay more for leases.
- Grow slower, concentrate on profitability, build equity, improve credit rating, but then have better rate on leases, loans
This trade-off does not really exist now in early fast growth phase of the game world.
We already have the UM, and price the AI brokers are asking for the aircraft to purchase. All that would be needed is to have the lease price be derived from the interest rate appropriate for the airline, based on airline's credit rating. For starters.
Then, the lease payment obligations (from leased aircraft in use, and aircraft ordered) would be compared to current revenue and profitability, and calculate a cap, in dollar terms, as far as total value of aircraft the player can have on lease.
With these changes, the player would be checking his credit rating, borrowing power on daily basis...
I still want fleet commonality, just tweaked differently with additional sub groups like cockpit commonality/type ratings, maintenance, training, and so forth. Just not an artifical bump anywhere in the mix.
The commonality should be a bonus, IMO, like in real life, not a penalty. Each successive aircraft in the same fleet should be cheaper to operate.
To go from the existing system, we have the "Administrative Fee" for a fleet, which is one fee per fleet. To go to successive fleets, the fee would scale, say:
- 2nd fleet: 5x
- 3rd fleet: 20x
- 4th fleet: 100x
This way, you still would have the incentive to stay within 2-3 fleets, but if you are operating 800 aircraft, 200 per fleet, each fleet would be large enough to earn enough money to cover the administration fees. And each additional aircraft would make that fee less per additional aircraft, rather than more as it is modeled currently.
And this approach would successfully slow down the early growth, maybe more successfully than the current system. Right now, when you are under 100-150 aircraft, you can pretty much fly 10 fleets with almost no penalty. With administrative fees scaling with additional aircraft even at early stages, players would be more judicious in adding extra fleets.