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Author Topic: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread  (Read 1027 times)

Offline Sami

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Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« on: August 13, 2019, 12:10:02 PM »
The fleet commonality as a model to measure the money and manpower used for training, spares and maintenance of different aircraft groups is a core feature of AirwaySim. The basic system is very simple and the core idea and code of the system is already rather old, and there are plans to make a larger fundamental change to the system.

Since the comments on this feature are scattered around the forum, all comments are now being collected only to this thread (other threads of the topic are marked closed).

Base idea is expand the commonality from strict fleet groups to "commonality groups" where we have "scheduling groups" (similar aircraft that require the same flight speeds and turnarounds, such as A319-A321), and then we have maintenance and training commonality groups too. A330 can be for example 80% common in training costs to A320, while B737 is 0% common to A320. Naturally assigning the figures to each a/c types is a complex task, and have to figure out if it's worth it at all. And also presentation to users and cost calculations are another matter. But this would be the closest-to-real-life approach to commonality.

Please discuss and throw in ideas if there are other conceptual ideas on how to model the feature in the future. (but please don't glog the thread with comments going into useless details like "in my mind B767 and B757 should be only 89.5% in common" - this thread is at this point only about the big lines and the grand scheme of the update's direction).


Link collection to threads of the matter:
https://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,81882.0.html
https://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,40746.0.html
https://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,27714.0.html
https://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,30395.0.html
https://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,19976.0.html
https://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,29870.0.html
https://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,30498.0.html
https://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,82029.0.html
https://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,24473.0.html
https://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,46777.0.html
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 12:14:12 PM by Sami »

Offline Mort

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2019, 12:19:15 PM »
Base idea is expand the commonality from strict fleet groups to "commonality groups" where we have "scheduling groups" (similar aircraft that require the same flight speeds and turnarounds, such as A319-A321), and then we have maintenance and training commonality groups too. A330 can be for example 80% common in training costs to A320, while B737 is 0% common to A320. Naturally assigning the figures to each a/c types is a complex task, and have to figure out if it's worth it at all. And also presentation to users and cost calculations are another matter. But this would be the closest-to-real-life approach to commonality.

Very much like this idea, it makes a lot of sense.

I can understand the technical limitations with all models in a given fleet group needing to have the same T/A and speed, however it makes no sense for that to automatically be a disadvantage for operating two otherwise very similar model (groups).

Are you able to share anything on the formulae of the current cost calculations?

Offline Cornishman

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 12:20:32 PM »
Sounds excellent Sami - thank you for giving us some hope and idea for future improvement.  8)

Offline groundbum2

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 12:30:58 PM »
I'm not sure this addresses the key concern of most players - fleet transitions. Most large airlines need 3 fleets, short haul prop/rj, medium narrowbody jet and long haul widebody jet. The big issue is how to upgrade a fleet given this will put us into 4th fleet territory at a time we're big (100+aircraft) so heavy penalties will apply.

I'd like to see a solution to fleet transitions, and this may mean swapping to a different manufacturer so Sami's suggested solution wouldn't help much. It also wouldn't encourage us to play smaller manufacturers such as the Chinese, Canadians, Russians etc as they're unlike to have fleet "families". It' all going to be Boeing/Airbus. The biggest winner will be the B737 as we'll be able to move through the three fleet families easily.

My suggestion, nicked from somebody else, would be to be able to nominate a fleet as "retiring" and from then on a 2 year (s/m, 3 years large, 4 years VL) clock starts where the 4th fleet penalty doesn't apply, but the player cannot acquire any of the retiring fleet or do anything to get numbers up in that fleet.

Simon
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 12:38:30 PM by groundbum2 »

Offline gazzz0x2z

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 12:45:52 PM »
I'm not sure on the retiring option. Ultimately, it allows you to fly 3 fleet groups for the whole game, hence having the firepower to do everything. Not to choose between mediums, larges, very larges, between pax & cargo.

The other thing is, 4th fleet penalty is a silent killer. Players who don't know about it are gonna collapse without understanding why. Advisors telling "beware" would make more beginners sensible to the fact that commonality costs are an evil to avoid, when you can. 4th fleet penalty is so deadly because it's the carbon monoxide of the game. You don't feel it, you get alseep, then you die; 10 or 20 game years later.

Sami's proposition, IMHO, would just be useful in a limited number of cases, as the infamous DO328Jet. That would become a fleet group in itself, with 95%(or so) commonality with the DO328prop fleet group. Not useless, but secondary.

Offline Tha_Ape

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 12:53:19 PM »
Simon and Gazzz might be completely right.

What Sami mentions here is very interesting indeed, but I'm afraid it only creates a nicer aspect of the game somewhere, without solving the issue.

If Sami's proposal makes renewals easier between some fleet groups (manufacturer + era commonality: DHC-8 -> Q400), this is pretty nice as well, and could solve some renewals, but not all of them (F.100 -> E-Jets will still give the same penalty as before, for example).

This is a large web that spreads amongst many aspects of the game, and not only through the 4th fleet commonality costs. Indeed, when people suggest a faster buying rate on the UM, this is meant to ease the renewal process, without touching a bit to the way the penalty is applied.
Thus we should not only consider the commonality aspect, but the whole issue and its ramifications (commonality also, ways to calculate and apply the penalty, UM rates, golden ticket, etc.).

Or did we get it completely wrong, Sami, and your proposal includes something beyond that?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 01:45:30 PM by Tha_Ape »

Offline groundbum2

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2019, 02:04:53 PM »
I agree totally that the Advisor should be expanded to pop up when poor commonality decisions are being made. I see this as separate from the main body of this thread - which is how to panalise non-commonality - but should be - how to have easier fleet transitions. That's the real elephant in the room.

Simon

Offline Viscount Bailey

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2019, 04:05:03 PM »
1 resounding request - Facilitate airlines being able to actually USE the 3 fleets which makes so much sense, whilst having a means to SWAP OUT a fleet by having a temporary 4th fleet WITHOUT the ludicrous massive penalty incurred if you were trying to "operate" a 4th fleet. (Lets be clear for the sake of those worried by this - that does not facilitate any "growth" by using a 4th fleet without penalty, purely a means to sensibly replace an ageing fleet). How that's achieved only Sami and his team know best, but the fact he states that some nice new system modifications are in the pipeline then that sounds very promising.
VB

Offline schro

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2019, 06:00:52 PM »
So, this discussion also may change a bit depending on the game world type (and perhaps difficulty). Given the recently announced slate of varying length worlds....

Shorter worlds should not receive any additional leeway, especially the short "Challenge" scenarios. The moderate ones (like Modern times) would also be hard to make a case for making things easier as you can ride 3 types to the end of the game without a major challenge.

For the longer/Epic worlds, it's a completely different ballgame given that fleet transitions are required in order to survive the entire length of the game. On one hand, I like how the current limit forces you to have 2 "running" fleets and 1 "transition" fleet at any given time as it forces players to make strategic choices/sacrifices related to their fleet selection. On the other hand, when you feel like you need 3 running types, the accumulation process to do a quick changeover is absolutely brutal. However, the quick changeover concerns could also be solved through a higher used market uptake limit as I've described in a prior feature request.

Beyond the used market uptake rate being changed, I'm not sure much _should_ be changed from a game perspective. The current system forces compromise in fleet selection for large airlines - while contrary to real life, it helps to level the playing field between "small" regional airlines and small regional airlines.

Of course, if the goal is to become more modeled after real life, then I'll be the first in line to take 10+ fleet types without a major negative impact to my airline's bottom line.

Offline groundbum2

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2019, 06:05:50 PM »
+1 schro.

I've also suggested in the past that the game dynamic changes as the game goes on, as right now the rules on day 1 are the rules on day 5921. By the end of a long game it's a slog to replace aircraft etc. So I might suggest any new commonality logic possibly take account of where in the game we are. After a few decades very few players are left in the game so used market uptake/4th fleet etc could be modified at the end of the game. As Schro said this is more important in the epic length games.

S

Offline Talentz

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2019, 06:30:02 PM »
Yes and Schro brings up something that I think about whenever I do read these threads.

Fleet common doesn't kill your airline. You kill your airline. Route selection is the core of all this. If your flying by yourself with full aircraft and excellent scheduling, you can have 11 fleets and still make a profit.

Fleet common is just another layer of cost just as fuel and competition is. I feel fleet common has been made into the go-to scapegoat to explain all that is wrong with your airline when honestly, its truly more about your overall airline OPS.

That said, yes, I think a temp solution is to change 4th to 5th fleet (and ect) allow 1-2 long GWs to mature and digest the data and then formulate a solution. GWs last 1.5yrs, so in two years time, Im pretty sure we can put forth a better fix.

Note: While I favor this approach, I am not naive to think of the problems that will arise. I too, will be right behind Schro pushing AWS to the limits. Plus, I doubt most casual/mid level players would even care or notice about this change. They will simply fly 4 fleet and die from the 5th when the time comes. Blame everything on one rule, refusing to look at the rest of their airline OPS and admit what really is the problem.


Talentz
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Offline schro

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2019, 07:22:51 PM »
you can have 11 fleets and still make a profit.

Not exactly true. It depends on the size of your airline. Once you get up to the 1000+ ballpark, no amount of full planes or price gouging will allow an airline with 4 flying fleet types to survive (even at 700-800 it'd be a challenge).  If you're talking a sub 400-500 plane airline with 11 fleets, then sure, it's a bit more of an operational choice rather than a mandate.

Offline Talentz

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2019, 07:56:11 PM »
If you look at it from a mostly Pax point of view, you would be correct. However cargo changes this (or did) and I've already made 1000+ frame airlines with 5 fleets. True I didn't touch the holy grail measure of 1500 frames... but 1100 and 1400 were close enough. Making 8mil a week in profit per full 747, really changes the dynamics and understood order of AWS.

Now, that said

I don't think that is possible anymore because it seems cargo demand (overall) has been revised down in addition to the new wind/fuel calculations. So in that regard, we won't see that again...

But yes, I get where your coming from. 11 fleets would be a very long stretch.

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Online dandan

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2019, 08:57:41 PM »
OK, here is my two cents: there is a few different issues that were now combined into this thread, which all kind of relate. I will try to summarize what i consider problematic and would be glad if we find solutions on all of the issues - and add some ideas (not all mine):

1) Transparency:
As i have mentioned for a really long time, it would be great if people could actually see what happens with their airline. Just taking a look at a few random airlines, quite a lot of players dont get the "commonality penalty", probably most dont know about it. Therefore:
- Dedicate a page in the manual to this topic. All "unrealistic" (not saying the rule is bad, but just contrary to real world things!) rules should be explained in detail, so this could possibly include some way how to calculate the penalty-amount as well.
- So in my opinion, the additional costs that arise through the penalty should be shown as a separate line in the income statement and in the cash flow statement.
- Also, in the dashboard there should be an info, stating something like: "you are operating X fleets, which means you are paying Y USD in penalties"
- When a) ordering a fleet-type that would incur a penalty if operated, or b) purchasing an aircraft on the UM that would incur a penalty on the used market, or c) scheduling a fleet type that incurs a penalty there should be an infolog coming up that explains the idea of the penalty that needs to be confirmed [maybe include a checkbox that says something like "dont show this again in this gameworld"]

2) Spice up the game-world:
The whole idea of the penalty is, as i understand it: force big airlines to make choices. Therefore:
- Ease the burden on small airlines. Their life is difficult enough already. Maybe just use the same 3-fleets are ok-rule as with big ones. Certainly a "one fleet only" rule is very annoying (yes, small airlines get penalized for the 2nd fleet!) and takes out the fun if you try to run an airline in Zimbabwe or some other exotic location.
- Give each airline a set amount of planes that are "exempt" from the penalty: Who doesnt like to fly a handful of Concordes? Or the 747? But who will sacrifice a whole fleetgroup for an "uneconomical plane". It is kind of why the 737 is sold out for years and the TU-114 has exactly 0 orders. 1000+ plane-airlines wont profit from 10 or 20 "extra" planes, but all those airplane lovers in the game will certainly enjoy the benefits. Also, for small airlines, that would already make fleet transitions less painful.

3) Make fleet transitions a smaller pain in the a..
It is annoying, I agree with everyone: you have three fleet types; you try to switch one out, you basically are bored for real-life-weeks, wait for the used market to let you get planes again from your team, and then, after the first examples are 3 years old or so, you finally take your 3 day vacation to work day and night to transfer to the new fleet type on all the schedules you have previously planned in detail.
- Yes, you can operate just two fleet types, certainly, and use one for replacement. But then again: looking at your fleet, you will feel self-pity.
- Allow for more purchases on the used market from alliance colleagues per week. Also possibly make the limit per month instead of week, so that one doesnt miss anything when not logging in at 3 in the morning... (maybe allow more purchases from colleagues, but limit deliveries nonetheless)
- There are proposals to mark a fleet type as "in retirement", with certain implications (no new aircraft and need to replace with different aircraft 1:1 or similar stuff; sounds good to me. Maybe a way to go, but also quite a bit of "ifs" to put into the code.


4) Changing of "fleet type" logic
Also a possibility, to just revolutionize the whole fleet-type-logic... many proposals to this certainly floating around. In my opinion although, this topic is rather a lot of more sophistication than 1-3 and i am think most prefer to get 1 to 3 fixed quickly and wait a tad longer for this, because this will not happen any time soon, from my experience with program changes. Nonetheless:
- Bringing manufacturers into the commonality-logic sounds really realistic, but sadly it will lead directly to people just sticking to Boeing and Airbus even more than they are already.
- Would be nice to make "subgroups" in fleets though, that represent different characteristics but do have the same commonality-group. E.g. DHC8/Q400: different speeds, different turnarounds, but a mixed group is still just one "commonality group" regarding the penalty.

Offline groundbum2

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2019, 11:55:08 PM »
I like the previous posters idea of a "fantasy" fleet, where an airline of any size could have, just one, up to say 10 of a type, and it won't count as a fleet type for commonality penalties at all. It would let us add A380s, Concorde, Ju52 or whatever silly thing we feel like doing to brighten up our airlines a bit.

Simon

Offline gazzz0x2z

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2019, 12:53:31 PM »
I like the previous posters idea of a "fantasy" fleet, where an airline of any size could have, just one, up to say 10 of a type, and it won't count as a fleet type for commonality penalties at all. It would let us add A380s, Concorde, Ju52 or whatever silly thing we feel like doing to brighten up our airlines a bit.

Simon

I would put the limit to 14, for scheduling reasons. And I would call it a "prestige" fleet. One per company, can be changed every 3 years or so. I'd really use a few Concorde or A380 like that.

Or, in Vietnam, a handful of 767s. Big companies, 14 concorde. Small company, 14 767s. Or Metros. Or whatever.

Online dandan

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2019, 04:26:33 PM »
I like the previous posters idea of a "fantasy" fleet, where an airline of any size could have, just one, up to say 10 of a type, and it won't count as a fleet type for commonality penalties at all. It would let us add A380s, Concorde, Ju52 or whatever silly thing we feel like doing to brighten up our airlines a bit.

Simon

I would put the limit to 14, for scheduling reasons. And I would call it a "prestige" fleet. One per company, can be changed every 3 years or so. I'd really use a few Concorde or A380 like that.

Or, in Vietnam, a handful of 767s. Big companies, 14 concorde. Small company, 14 767s. Or Metros. Or whatever.

OK, you did get the basic idea, BUT ... i was trying to say:
- 10/14/20 aircraft of ANY fleet-type.
- So you could fly your boring EJET/737/767 fleet + 7xA380, 4xConcorde (they dont work all too well in 7d anyway, as I remember), and then 1 each of DC-3, that retro 747-200 and a crazy russian TU-144. And people would of course have to pay commonality on each of the fleet types - but they wouldnt have to pay a penalty on it.
- You would start paying a penalty only if you would have like 15 "wild ones". Then the penalty kicks in (in that case, the 7x A380 would be the "penalized group", as it is the biggest; the other planes would not be penalized though).

Offline schro

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2019, 07:45:11 PM »
Since I seem to be pointing out two things at a time.. I should probably emphasis another pair...

There are two variables that are in play for this discussion - 1. Fleet Commonality Costs and 2. Too many fleets in use penalty (game play mechanic).

1. Fleet Commonality costs alone are the ones where the discussion about percentage in common, cost of spare parts stores, etc should come in to play. These should mimic the "real world" - usually related to number of locations that you fly a plane (where you have to stock spares) and the number of bases that you fly that plane from. You'll see with Delta's schedules today that all MD-88 and MD-90 flights are out and back from Atlanta as the fleet dwindles and resources are consolidated in a single place. Of course, this presents a concept of having a maintenance base that you can build to support specific fleet types in your HQ, base, or even some other city that planes of those type will flow through. Actually, to do that last one, we'd also have to change from the current scheduling model to the "pooled" model to realistically have all frames of a given type cycle through a particular maintenance base.

2. Too many fleets penalty - When players talk about commonality costs today, they're really NOT talking about point #1 in this discussion. They're talking about the arbitrary penalty that's in place for game balance purposes. If costs didn't arbitrarily go hockey stick at a particular fleet size or fleet count, then this thread wouldn't exist today. Sometimes I think this penalty was designed and not really tested for extreme fleet sizes. Back when it was put in place, games were 20-25 years long and you could get 6 planes per week in the used market. That was also when bases were fairly limited (3 bases at 100 planes each), so realistically, LHR was about the only base that could support an airline over 1000 planes (maybe LAX). It was useful in those game starts to put the brakes on people picking up anything with wings to fly during game starts. Over more recent history, with 3/week used market limits and restrictions on planes, slots, cash and RI playing a much bigger role, it's generally not viable to take anything with wings on it to the point that the penalty may no longer be needed. If a new airline had to buy 3mm in parts to lease a new plane type, that should stop their expansion fairly quickly. For larger airlines, fronting the parts cost is far easier...

Offline Viscount Bailey

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2019, 11:37:28 PM »
schro hits a really good nail right on the head !

The old rule was great back then to hold folk back from going crazy. Thesedays I don't think it really PROOVEs to be of much use - just a complete annoyance factor when trying to honestly and sensibly swap out an old fleet type for a new one. If you wanted to swap out 300 or 400 737s for A320s - it makes it a real pain in the A.

Offline Cornishman

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Re: Fleet commonality changes - combined thread
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2019, 06:07:20 AM »
schro hits a really good nail right on the head !

The old rule was great back then to hold folk back from going crazy. Thesedays I don't think it really PROOVEs to be of much use - just a complete annoyance factor when trying to honestly and sensibly swap out an old fleet type for a new one. If you wanted to swap out 300 or 400 737s for A320s - it makes it a real pain in the A.

... or more to the point... for a large airline over the decades, it's really a sensible thing to need to swap out a large DC.10 or L.1011 fleet for say 777s and then again 20 yrs later, swap the 777s onto 787s.  It makes perfect sense yet this awful strangle-hold rule make such sensible tasks a nightmare!

 

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