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Reports and Requests => Feature requests => Topic started by: Sami on October 08, 2013, 07:40:31 PM

Title: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Sami on October 08, 2013, 07:40:31 PM
Again with the start of a new large game world I get lots of messages about slots. Many are wondering how player x gets all the slots and how he is able to use them, and sometimes even two players from the same airport suspect both individually that the other one of doing something against the rules  ;D

So far in MT#9 no fines have been issued, but I think all agree that the reloading/first see-first get system is not optimal here, and this has been already talked in the past too. And in the long term I would like to create something in the way of used market calls, as it pretty much fixed the reloading play style there (though the um. calls needs some fixes still). In other words I would like to develp slot system so that all players know when slots will become available, and all interested players have the opportunity to bid for them if they want them.

There are threads of this but pls use this thread to discuss of the "final solution" to slot allocation.

Start situation would be that airport is slot allocation controlled or not. Major airports and those who have very few slots available will be in controlled status, and those with constantly lots of slots will stay like they are now. This status can change, and it then determines if the slots are pre-bidded or not. And any future demand models and airport expansions will support this basic idea too.

How the bidding would work then.. This is the tricky part, as it would need to be very easy for players. And I'd like to hear some ideas. Not necesarily a bidding system but some allocation form that allows a) local and other airlines to share any new slots, b) removes the need to watch the slot appearances all the time and c) allocates slots fairly and completely disables possibilities of hogging all (or most) slots that appear.

Though have to keep n mind that slot problems mainly concern start of a new game world and only handful of airports.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 08, 2013, 08:22:27 PM
I'll throw in this idea : no limits on slots an airline can buy at any airport.

Okay, make that the start point, then ask how to limit them to a realistic amount : and the tool is already there, partly : as you buy more slots, you pay an exponentially higher price for each : tie this to each airline in the base : the more one airline buys, the even higher the price for that airline : eventually, slot cost would become uneconomic, the route could never pay back the cost : ergo, there is the limit. Its dynamic as it is effectively controlled by what demand remains to generate the revenue to pay for it. And there would be no point buying uneconomic slots to 'slot-hog' as it will not stop competition buying them anyway.
 
Just tweak the slot price algorithm to do the job : no messing with auctions, being online 24/7 waiting, etc, etc ; and it lets competition in, until they grow to hit their economic limit and thus we end slot-hogging, squeezing out potential competition and monopoly-controlled airports : it cant make decent coffee though... its not a miracle solution...
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 08, 2013, 11:32:58 PM
The elephant in the room is Heathrow obviously.  Heathrow never has slots and the players based at Heathrow essentially enjoy zero competition on their flights because it is nearly impossible to get slots there to compete against them.  Right now in DOTM there are four airlines based at LHR with the following slot allocation:

6% WhyFly
32% Aston Airways
32% British Air Transport
11% British Skyline

This means that 80% of the slots at LHR are used by airlines based there and only 20% are used by airlines that aren't.  It is no secret that the airline with the highest CV is nearly ALWAYS at Heathrow because they basically have zero competition on their routes due to the fact it is impossible to compete against them.  So what is a guy to do?

In business, there are no solutions--only trade offs.  It's all about opportunity cost and economics is the study of how people and companies utilize their scarce resources.  The problem here is that there are zero resources.

The first problem is competition.  How do we give those based at LHR competition?  That's an easy one.  Get rid of the slot requirement for return flights.  Those airlines at Heathrow can have 100% of the slots because other airlines don't have to coordinate slots.  But this is unrealistic you say.  AWS is already unrealistic because IRL you have to have not only departure slots, but arrival/landing slots also which isn't modeled and would make things ridiculously complicated.

So now the players at Heathrow have 100% of the slots and are facing what seems to be infinite competition.  Now the fun begins.  Airlines at Heathrow have to determine how to best utilize their finite slots to fend off infinite competition.  But then the issue is you'll have one or two airlines hogging all the slots because they are still finite.  This is where the second part of the equation comes in: terminals.

IRL airports have terminals dedicated to specific airlines.  JFK has the jetBlue Terminal which is TWA's old World Port.  This makes it easy for jetBlue employees to go from gate to gate, passengers to transfer, etc.  You typically have an "everyone else" terminal for all the non-based airlines with gates/counters that are rented by the hour.  So the solution is you give everyone a terminal.

In assigning terminals, players then get a fixed number of slots across all hours.  What is a slot really?  It isn't space on the runway--it's space at the terminal (ok, it's also space on the runway, but you get the point).  To make things even more dynamic, you give players specific slot groupings based on aircraft size.  ORD, for example, have gates with no jetways that serve regional jets and require passengers to walk on the tarmac.  So if you're based at ORD, lets say you have a terminal with 15 slots per hour across all hours with 5 of them restricted to small/medium aircraft and 10 of them restricted to medium/large/very large aircraft.

In order to grow beyond the 15 slots, airlines can spend money to upgrade their terminals.  They can upgrade the small/medium gates to accept larger aircraft, thus increasing their larger slot capacity, or they can simply add more gates to their terminal.

This also helps airlines when it comes to bases.  Let's say you're based at a secondary airport like Chicago Midway.  If you're HQ'd there you get a terminal with 10 slots/hour that you can expand.  If you are HQ'd elsewhere and open a base, you get 5 slots/hour to start unless you invest the money to increase capacity.  This keeps the big airlines from decimating the smaller ones when they open new bases.

The "terminal strategy" where you only have to allocate take off slots is more challenging IMO because you have to start making real decisions based on opportunity cost and managing your airline's home base.  Instead of having a huge slot pool that everyone has access to and grows over time, you have a small exclusive slot pool that you can micromanage and upgrade.  You have to make decisions such as do I fly small/medium aircraft with my small/medium slots or wait it out and upgrade them, flying larger aircraft using those slots.  This also opens the doors for further specialization for airlines, such as a VIP lounge.  You shouldn't be able to achieve a company image of 100 without one in every hub you operate.

So in the end, LHR will have infinite competition in theory, but the competition they're facing also has finite resources that they have to consider.  If an LHR airline has LHR-CDG filled with 100% capacity, for example, the CDG airline needs to decide if it is better to get 50% of the pax and compete on the route or use those slots to fly elsewhere.  The terminal strategy also prevents "frequency bombing".

Using the existing data, we could create a benchmark for what total slots should be.  So if the slots at LHR should be 40/hour for example and total slots used are 50, then expanding your terminal will be very expensive.  If slots should be 40/hour and only 20 are being used, then expanding will be very cheap.  When you add in connecting pax to be modeled in the future, airport selection will become extremely important based on more than just local population.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Sanabas on October 09, 2013, 01:17:13 AM
The biggest problem with both slots and the UM is that it encourages people to pool their calls, that there is a large advantage to be had by being online at the right time, and that airlines will hold planes or slots for their friends to get them.

Ideally, there would be much less randomness, and there would be much less incentive to hold things for others. The obvious way to do that is to not make planes/slots immediately available to everyone.

So, in slot controlled airports, the way to do it would be:

At the start of the world, make some number (say 20% of default, or 6/hr, something like that) available to the outside world. For airlines HQed in an airport, they each have access to their own 1 slot/hr. For the first 6 months, that is all that is available. 1 slot/hr, 16 hour day gives 112 slots for the week, that's enough for 21 LH planes, more than enough to get your airline up & running, and profitable.

So, after 6 months, that'll be ~12 slots/hr in use, 50% outside. Can see a couple of ways to do things after that. First, have all slots disappear from public view at that point, and have people put in requests. Think that'll be cumbersome, hard to do an algorithm for. (Think it'd be very good for the used market, that once a week, an airline can request 3 planes of whatever type, and every monday the brokers would allocate planes to airlines. Doesn't mean you get the 3 you want, if there are 200 requests for an a330, there might be 50 offered at a very large markup, if there are only 5 airlines requesting 3 747s each, then all of them would be handed out. Would remove much of the luck aspect, would remove the endless wait for fleets with only a very small number in storage to appear, etc.)

Second option, which would likely be easier to work with, would be basically like LemonButt's idea of terminals. After 6 months, all HQed airlines go up to 2 slots/hr. After 12 months, up to 4/hr. 18 months, 6/hr. And after that, if an airline wants more, they'd need to pay for an upgrade. Slots for outside airlines could stay at double the average size of HQed airlines (so after 18 months, 12/hr), and can't grow past some number no matter how bg the HQed terminals get, say 50% of 2010 default slots, so ~20/hr for LHR/FRA/AMS, 40/hr for ATL/ORD. Biggest benefit to this is it would allow airlines to actually start in an airport mid-game, which is very important for long gameworlds. Current JA, think there were only 3 day 1 LHR airlines, and only 1 of them serious. So by the time others got into the world, it was too late to be able to start there. In fact, after a year, AMS was the only one of the top dozen or so airports to have space for a newcomer. This way, if someone has BKed, their 'terminal' is empty, and so anybody can start a new airline or open a base, and be guaranteed of at least 6 slots/hr to get them up & running. Slot costs would be the same as now, but instead of using how full the airport is overall, it would use how full your own section of it is, so the costs to buy slots would stay roughly the same as now.

Also, on the first monday of each year, or just on Jan 8 if that's easier, all airlines would have to pay some amount for every one of their slots in controlled airports.

We'd have more sustained competition, we'd remove the ability to squeeze airlines out, or prevent their expansion, with slot hogging, there'd be a lot more viable airports for people 5 years into a game. Balancing the costs associated with expanding your terminal ould be the biggest challenge, to make it actually be a considered decision to open up, without it being so big as to be impossible (at least to start with, if it increases to impossible levels when you have 30 slots/hr yourself, then fair enough) or so small as to be trivial (as current slot costs are after you get beyond that initial expansion period).
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 09, 2013, 01:31:08 AM
Sanabas brings up a good point about entering a long game world late and needing a place to setup shop.  Terminals would allow this.  Also, by having dedicated terminals, we could (finally) implement some sort of slot maintenance fee and/or luxury tax to throttle the massive airlines.

Richard Branson said the easiest way for a billionaire to become a millionaire is to start an airline.  You shouldn't be able to explode from 0 planes to 100+ in one year like you can in AWS.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Maarten Otto on October 09, 2013, 08:32:39 PM
Sorry  Sanabas, but not every one is flying a "every monkey can run an airline' with a 737 or A320 or even bigger stuff. If you fly smaller planes like turboprops you NEED more then that 1 slot per hour in order to survive. About that bidding system... A person flying relatively small aircraft will never be able to gain slots as the 737 guys will just outbid the smaller players who play a different game.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Sami on October 09, 2013, 08:38:51 PM
A person flying relatively small aircraft will never be able to gain slots as the 737 guys will just outbid the smaller players who play a different game.

I did not say the bidding would involve a "highest money bid gets it" type system, as that does not work.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 09, 2013, 09:00:21 PM
Sorry  Sanabas, but not every one is flying a "every monkey can run an airline' with a 737 or A320 or even bigger stuff. If you fly smaller planes like turboprops you NEED more then that 1 slot per hour in order to survive. About that bidding system... A person flying relatively small aircraft will never be able to gain slots as the 737 guys will just outbid the smaller players who play a different game.

there is the rub, whatever system is in place, it will have trouble working equitably for all players and all types of airline : domestic services need more slots as smaller planes run more flights per day than LH: whatever system is put in place to ration slot take-up will inevitably disadvantage small plane flyers.

I did post in favour of a 'terminal' system way back when : and it could go some way to solving a lot of the issues : I'd be happy with a system like based on that notion.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 09, 2013, 09:22:16 PM
I am afraid this allocation / bidding smells of a complete disaster.

As opposed to curing the underlying problem, it seems we are discussing symptoms.  A step back may be a good idea and examine the causes:
1. There is a limit to slots.  Players know about it.  They act rationally and hoard the limited resource
2. There are airports where demand exceeds the number of slots needed to serve it.  It puts pressure on slots at these airports

Don't turn AirwaySim into a SlotSim.  Airport slots should be far lower on the list things that give players a headache.  Just relieve slightly the 2 causes of the slot headaches, and all will be fine.

Really good scheduling of aircraft can be challenging even frustrating.  Even when slots are there the second I want them.  If there is a whole new elaborate system (a pipeline) for even getting the slots, it exponentially increases the challenge / frustration of creating a damn schedule.

I don't know today when, what time period I will need the slots tomorrow.  If I need to put into some sort of a pipeline a request for slots today, for aircraft that I will be scheduling tomorrow, next week or next game month/year, it just needs more planning and preparation that even an experienced player is willing to invest in.  And it will completely turn off the newbs...

My proposal would be to greatly downgrade the challenge of obtaining slots.  Make it easier.

An example of a good solution is how new aircraft lines operate - based on demand.  IF there is demand for an aircraft in a production line, production rate increases.  And the aircraft never run out.  You can always place more orders, as long as there is demand, the production line keeps churning aircraft.

Why can't airports do the same, just keep churning out slots proportionally to demand?
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Sami on October 09, 2013, 09:45:48 PM
About airport expansions (also slots) here: http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,21347.msg268408.html#msg268408

This would help yes, but I am not sure if it helps enough, as surely there would have to be some maximum in how much airport could expand, but would it be enough then? Do more (lots more) slots mean again more fokkers and that stuff when you should fly a Jumbo instead?


Although. If we look at LHR in beginner world that has been running for 1 month, currently about 130 players or so.. Lhr does have slots all day round. So if we have 600 players, we'd need to multiply current capacity by 4-5 at least to make them last? (250/hr or so??)

One additional thing combined to these is to tweak the dynamic pricing even further, as talked already.

And to add, I am still greatly in favor of adding a rule about how large portion of slots the local airlines can control vs outside airlines (same for any new slots appearing). This happens in real life too, but I am sure all "big boys" playing always at LHR, AMS etc will strongly oppose this... But single local airline getting all of the newly released slots at first parts of the game is plainly just wrong.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 09, 2013, 10:29:46 PM


And to add, I am still greatly in favor of adding a rule about how large portion of slots the local airlines can control vs outside airlines (same for any new slots appearing). This happens in real life too, but I am sure all "big boys" playing always at LHR, AMS etc will strongly oppose this... But single local airline getting all of the newly released slots at first parts of the game is plainly just wrong.


the 'terminal' idea would work there : Add a 'leasing' cost related to its size, which has to be funded from start-up capital, same as your first planes, and that would stop the first in from quickly locking up the airport by grabbing the biggest first.  Lemonbutts proposed method of allocating a number of slots per terminal, in a range of 'sizes', would encourage the operator to fly a proper mix of domestic, regional, etc, rather than go straight to LH only : incoming flights would have their own allocation of slots to choose from : as for expansion : as slot levels grow, the 'terminal' could be allocated more pro rata ; or the operator could, same as with opening a new base, opt to fund an expansion to the existing terminal or a 'move' to a larger one, if available and thus increase their slot options that way.

that would be an interesting challenge : maximising your options re:  fleet, routes, etc to generate the funds to expand further, rather than just order as many of the biggest birds you can find and then count the cash.

Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 09, 2013, 10:40:26 PM
As opposed to curing the underlying problem, it seems we are discussing symptoms.  A step back may be a good idea and examine the causes:
1. There is a limit to slots.  Players know about it.  They act rationally and hoard the limited resource
2. There are airports where demand exceeds the number of slots needed to serve it.  It puts pressure on slots at these airports

The terminal system solves virtually everything.  If a player has an exclusive slot pool, there is no hoarding--slots are used at a players own detriment versus the detriment of other players.  If demand exceeds slots, the demand will either go unserved or players will start using larger aircraft (see LHR IRL).  The trade off being you can use larger aircraft and serve more destinations, but if a player based elsewhere decides to use their finite slot pool to beat you with frequency, then you're in trouble.  These are the business decisions people make IRL in deciding how to use their finite resources to maximize their profits.

A HUGE problem IMO with the current slot system is that if there are 10 slots available at 5:00am a single player can take all 10 slots to the detriment of other players.  Using a terminal system with an exclusive slot pool, players are forced to distribute their flights across all hours versus hogging slots in a single hour.  This is consistent with the real world where an airline will have 10 gates in a terminal and can only board 10 flights/hour due to logistics versus having 10 aircraft load up and take off at the exact same time.

The HUGE problem with an auction and/or bidding system is that the game days are 35 minutes long.  To give everyone a fair shot, you'd have to give players 24 hours of real time to give them a realistic chance to bid on anything.  Can you imagine waiting 24 hours in real time to get a used aircraft if you had to bid on it?  It is even worse than bidding on aircraft because you can always create a new aircraft out of thin air using money, but can't for slots.

Also in regards to terminals and the small domestic aircraft versus long haul--that is easy.  CVG for example had 80 gates to serve CRJs on a tarmac (Concourse C) when Comair was based there and they had 2 terminals with jetways for the bigger birds.  When a player starts a game, for example, give them the option of 20 gates restricted to small/medium aircraft, 15 gates with 5 restricted to small/medium, or 10 gates where they all have jetways for any size aircraft.  As I mentioned, ORD has gates for CRJs on a tarmac that can't fit large aircraft and it is one of the largest airports in the world.  Either that or simply restrict aircraft size based on the airport class.  For example, you shouldn't be running a fleet of EMB-120 out of LHR.  Likewise you're not going to be running a fleet of B777 out of SABA.

So in the end, the ultimate goal of a terminal system is that players have finite resources with an exclusive slot pool.  If they use 10 slots or 1000 slots it is not to the detriment of other players, only themselves, and poor allocation of those slots only hurts themselves.  There is no free for all or first come/first served system where you have to be online 23 hours/day to get slots at LHR.  Players will be forced to distribute their flights across all time slots versus having every aircraft leave at 5am to the detriment of other players not being able to take off at 5am.  Players can invest and expand their terminal and get more slots.  The opportunity cost being is it better to pay and expand my current terminal at my current airport or pay the money to open a new base?  Currently, opening a base costs a considerable sum and those costs are essentially the cost of opening up a new terminal in a new airport.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: FORSBERC on October 09, 2013, 10:50:14 PM
I am personally a fan of the terminal idea proposed by LemonButt for determining slots at hub airports. However, I would still have the current slot system for outside airlines. This would relate to the limited nature of the "other" terminal. As demand increases for the "other" terminal, slots would increase.

However, I think it should be a "global news event" saying
Quote
The London Airport Authority has decided to expand Terminal E and it should be completed by December 20, 1985. There will be 5 small, 5 medium, 10 large, and 0 very large gates added. Slot reservations begin June 15, 1985.

Or...
Quote
The London Airport Authority has decided to open a new terminal with 15 small gates, 10 mediums, 20 large, and 5 very large gates. The terminal is expected to be completed by December 20, 1985. Slot reservations begin June 15, 1985.

Any airline who "owns" a terminal at their hub should be able to expand it, or reallocate/resize gates. For example, if the stock terminal comes with 3 large gates, and 3 small gates, but the airline is only operating small aircraft, they could decide to reconfigure the large gates into small gates, allowing more small gates. This would be similar to reconfiguring aircraft seating arrangements. If you decide to put in smaller seats, then you can fit more seats into an airplane.

NOTE: For company gates, any smaller aircraft can use a higher level gate. For example, a small aircraft could use a large gate, but a large aircraft could not use a small gate.

I think this solution would provide player driven scale-ability and completely separate hub competition from "outside" competition.

On a side note, the "outside" airlines' terminal size could be scaled larger by a player driven payment. A new gate or terminal could be added for a price and could then be "reserved" for that one airline. However, these prices should be VERY large. However, players should have the option of teaming up with other airlines to help drive down the cost for the gate or terminal. Who ever helps pay for for the reservation, would be entitled to use the added availability. It would be up to the group to decide who will take which ones.

Another interesting addition to the terminal idea would be to have the ability to "lease" extra gates out to others, just like leasing owned airplanes. The option to lease would only apply to the airline's "hub" airport terminal gates. The price and duration would solely be determined by the owner.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Sanabas on October 10, 2013, 12:15:37 AM
Sorry  Sanabas, but not every one is flying a "every monkey can run an airline' with a 737 or A320 or even bigger stuff. If you fly smaller planes like turboprops you NEED more then that 1 slot per hour in order to survive. About that bidding system... A person flying relatively small aircraft will never be able to gain slots as the 737 guys will just outbid the smaller players who play a different game.

With a turboprop-only airline, you'd be looking at about 4 slots/day/plane. 1 slot/hr is enough for 6 Q400s without a curfew, or ~12 737s, or ~21 LH. By the end of the 18 months, you'd have enough slots for 36 turboprops. Try starting on day 1 in LHR and ending up with turboprops only, and I bet you don't get that many slots after 18 months, you just can't get the money to buy them in time. And just to be clear, I'm only talking about doing this in the biggest, slot restricted airports. Running turboprops out of Pittsburgh, or 30 seaters out of Glasgow, you wouldn't be restricted to 1 up to 6 slots/hr for the first 18 months, because those airports wouldn't be limited that way. Smaller planes are definitely slot-intensive, but even if your 30 seater airline uses no night slots at all, you're still at a little over 4/hr as your overall average, though you've got 15/hr in some time slots. Nobody in LHR has an average above 4/hr, either, biggest is 3.9. So I think your current small airline would survive ok if it was under those restrictions, it'd just mean you'd need to pay more attention to scheduling instead of starting every plane at 05xx. But you wouldn't be under those restrictions unless you tried to run 30 seaters out of a massive airport, and you'd get less slots doing that under the current system.

I agree bidding, and not knowing when your slots might arrive, is not a good idea. Even if the bid system is done fairly, the problems caused by not knowing which slots you might get, when you might get them, etc, would I think be too damaging to gameplay, need you logging back in to check too often.

But some sort of terminal system means you can have a very good idea of future slot availability, and plan around it. For me, the game in big airports is already 'slotsim', success comes from acquiring the most slots before the airport runs out, becomes a waiting game for the next slot release and the massive splurge of cash on grabbing as many as possible, and becomes really, really boring once you have your airport to yourself. I quit JA because I'd proved I could start late but still end up as the sole airline somewhere big, I'd proved I could make plenty with russian planes, and I had expanded to fill my airport, meaning no more competition. And the biggest reason I did end up like that was because I was the one who ended up with the most slots, because I had both the available cash and was online at the right time to starve my competitors. Use a terminal system, and I could pay attention to expanding my own section of the airport. There'd still be the possibility of new airlines starting up to try and break my monopoly. There'd be more chance of the game staying interesting.

Quote from: Sami
This would help yes, but I am not sure if it helps enough, as surely there would have to be some maximum in how much airport could expand, but would it be enough then? Do more (lots more) slots mean again more fokkers and that stuff when you should fly a Jumbo instead?

Yes. Absolutely, 100% yes. Effectively unlimited slots means flying smaller planes 8 times/day vs bigger plane twice.

Quote
Although. If we look at LHR in beginner world that has been running for 1 month, currently about 130 players or so.. Lhr does have slots all day round. So if we have 600 players, we'd need to multiply current capacity by 4-5 at least to make them last? (250/hr or so??)

Nope, because beginner world airlines are not so aggressive. MT might have 4-5 times the players of BW, but that doesn't mean the desire for LHR slots will be 4-5 times as much. Just one aggressive airline in a money-printing location like LHR will have the same desire & cash for slots as a dozen BW airlines. Make LHR go to 250/hr, and you'll end up with airlines having 100/hr themselves, and LHR will still be slotlocked, but now the LHR airlines have even more cash on hand than they do now.

Quote
One additional thing combined to these is to tweak the dynamic pricing even further, as talked already.

This helps, a lot, early in the game. But further in, slot costs become trivial.

Quote
And to add, I am still greatly in favor of adding a rule about how large portion of slots the local airlines can control vs outside airlines (same for any new slots appearing). This happens in real life too, but I am sure all "big boys" playing always at LHR, AMS etc will strongly oppose this... But single local airline getting all of the newly released slots at first parts of the game is plainly just wrong.

Some sort of terminal system would help. It would do the same job as bidding followed by allocation, without the need to wait around/log back in to see the results of your bid. And as someone who mostly runs (and abandons) 'big boy' airlines, I'd be strongly in favour of it.

Quote from: lemonbutt
Can you imagine waiting 24 hours in real time to get a used aircraft if you had to bid on it?  It is even worse than bidding on aircraft because you can always create a new aircraft out of thin air using money, but can't for slots.

Offtopic a bit for this thread, but I think it would work really well for used planes. Not as 'plane is made available --> everyone bids --> winner gets plane 24 RL hours later' but as 'put in request for up to 3 planes --> every Monday brokers take 200 (later in game) up to 1000+ (earlier in game) planes out of storage, and attempt to fill requests --> planes are offered to airlines who have 24 hours to acquire them from UM/send them back to storage, with delivery in 1 week. Once made decision on up to 3 offers, can put in request again. If you're the only person to request a plane type, you'll get it.' If there are 100 airlines requesting 3 x a320, and 100 requesting 3 x 738, then they mgiht only get 1 plane each, and have it offered at a big markup. Think it would fix a lot of the issues that remain with acquiring used planes, but that's a separate thread.  :P
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 10, 2013, 12:22:57 AM
About airport expansions (also slots) here: http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,21347.msg268408.html#msg268408

That sounds good.  As far as years the expansion would take, years between expansions, that makes good sense from RL perspective, but it again invites gaming of the system.  All it does is invite grabbing those slots and be home free from competition for another 5-10 game years until the next expansion...

I would scrap the current policy of starting with 50% of slots at the beginning of the game world.  It just creates more limits unnecessarily, much earlier in the game than necessary.  If I see early in the game that LHR is down to some 2 slots per hour, the quicker I want to grab those slots.  If I see there are still 15/hr slots left, there is less reason to rush there.

This would help yes, but I am not sure if it helps enough, as surely there would have to be some maximum in how much airport could expand, but would it be enough then? Do more (lots more) slots mean again more fokkers and that stuff when you should fly a Jumbo instead?

The new pax allocation system already limits the frequency benefit greatly, so Fokkers don't automatically win.

But just because slots are limited, it does absolutely nothing about not wasting them on Fokkers or ATRs.  The incumbent airline, an airline that holds near monopoly at an airport does have an incentive to not waste slots at his own airport, in order to maximize his own revenue at his own airport.  But other players could not care less if they are screwing up other airports by wasting slots.

If I am based in Toulouse, and I have 450 demand to LHR, there no incentive for me to use 3 x 738 instead of 5 x Fokker.  In fact, the more I screw LHR, the more slots I waste, the less likely the incumbent airline will have to waste his diminished slots to fly back to my HQ.  So the tighter the limits are, the more incentive there is to abuse the limits and more incentive hoard.

Although. If we look at LHR in beginner world that has been running for 1 month, currently about 130 players or so.. Lhr does have slots all day round. So if we have 600 players, we'd need to multiply current capacity by 4-5 at least to make them last? (250/hr or so??)

Although number of players can be a decent proxy for the demand for slots, there is no reason to use a proxy.  The real variable is right there in front of our eyes to see, which is the number of slots left.  I would just have the dynamic expansion more frequent, in order to catch up with the actual demand.

Number of players may be something to consider for the new world, but I would just favor starting from real, 100% slot availability of the airport on day 1, and make expansions more frequent, say 1 per year, with the expansion adding perhaps 20% capacity.

Slot limitations will not completely disappear.  More desirable slots will go first, but it is less likely that we would be staring, (for years and years) at top 20 airports being all red, with zero slot availability anytime...

And to add, I am still greatly in favor of adding a rule about how large portion of slots the local airlines can control vs outside airlines (same for any new slots appearing). This happens in real life too, but I am sure all "big boys" playing always at LHR, AMS etc will strongly oppose this... But single local airline getting all of the newly released slots at first parts of the game is plainly just wrong.

If the slot growth is dynamic, all of the airports will settle to somewhere around 1.5x number of slots needed to serve all of the demand of the airport.  There will always be some slots available.

If the slot growth is dynamic, than slots are not a zero sum game.  The airlines based outside of a slot congested airport don't really care what percentage of the slots the incumbent there has.  They care about whether they can get 1 set to fly into the airport.  If slots always grow (when the available number shrinks), there will always be slots available, meaning the problem for airlines based outside is solved.

And if the outsiders can always find a slot, there will be no reason to micromanage the ratio of slots between the outsiders and incumbents.  Once the incumbent serves 100% of the demand of his airport, there is no reason for him to keep grabbing slots.  He can't slot lock the airport.  All he can do is to optimize his fleet, and observe how much competition develops.  The competitiveness of the game world will in the end determine the ratio of outsiders vs. incumbent slot ratio.  The more competitive the game world (number of players, number of big airlines) will mean fewer monopoly routes, more competition on all routes, the more slots will go to the outsiders.

I would just let one game world play out with dynamic slots, and I am confident it will prove there is no need for micromanagement of various ratios between incumbents and outsiders.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 10, 2013, 12:47:32 AM
Yes. Absolutely, 100% yes. Effectively unlimited slots means flying smaller planes 8 times/day vs bigger plane twice.

Not if every slot holder is a subject to Airport Expansion fee.  If the fee is high enough, assessed per slot, not per pax, it could completely wipe out the profit of 8x/day airline while 4x/day airline while bigger aircraft could still make some profit.

The idea of Airport Expansion fee is to hit those with small, slot wasting aircraft at slot congested airport far more than those airlines using appropriate aircraft.

It would further limit the frequency benefit, which the last pax allocation system adjustments (partially) tamed.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: dmoose42 on October 10, 2013, 12:57:16 AM
I really like the terminal approach by lemonbutt for what it's worth. (Close to zero.  Might be negative)
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: [ATA] frimp on October 10, 2013, 09:43:32 AM
just bought some slots in ATL in MT9... 23m for 7slots... That will quickly change things.

OUCH.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Teadaze on October 10, 2013, 09:49:17 AM
try 40m

(http://i.imgur.com/yVXTJaX.png)
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: [SC] - King Kong on October 10, 2013, 10:13:54 AM
This is not the solution. Makes the game unplayable...

I run quite some routes in a smaller airport as BOG. I can't pay 5mil for slots to schedule an atr....
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 10, 2013, 12:38:18 PM
try 40m

(http://i.imgur.com/yVXTJaX.png)

Yes--this new rule is unfair for existing game worlds because you are forced to use cash to buy slots versus going negative.  People have ordered large batches of planes and now it will be impossible to schedule them.  Bad idea, at least to implement today.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Maarten Otto on October 10, 2013, 02:29:07 PM
So if I understand Jumboschrimp correctly he is saying that anyone using anything smaller then a 737 is a pain in the arse and has no right for slots as my aircraft is 'just to small and resources could be better spend'. Not polite Schrimpy.

If I am prepared to pay 800K per slot for a 30 seater then that is MY choice. Fine that the same slot can be better used for a 737 at 800K. But as long as we pay the same price it is up to the player weather to decide if he is prepared to cough up the money or not. Regardless of type of aircraft.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Sanabas on October 10, 2013, 03:16:44 PM
Posted this in MT thread, reposting it here as I was having ideas as I typed and it turned into more of a feature suggestion about slots...


I would say the exact opposite. Slot hogging is making a conscious effort to buy as many slots as possible, to limit your direct competition to as few slots as possible. Using smaller aircraft out of an airport that is not going to be persistently slot-locked requires buying a lot of slots at once, up to 105 for 3 turboprops, is certainly not slot hogging, but the new system will not make an allowance for that. It is smaller airlines, short haul airlines, in size 5 but not slot-locked airports that will be indiscriminately punished.

It is going to be longhaul airlines, starting in big airports, that will be punished the least, because they get the most revenue for the least number of slots. Exactly the same way that starting with 2 x DC10 as your initial planes is the best way, by far, to start growing explosively. 35 weekly slots is enough for 7 LH planes, or 2-3 a320s, or just 1 turboprop. Limiting explosive growth at the start of the world is something I'm 100% in favour of. But doing it this way is going to offer huge advantages to LH over regional, even more than it does now. They can get 7 times as many planes before running into highly inflated slot costs. And each of those 7 planes will produce much more revenue.

Make slots be plane-size specific when purchased, and not transferrable, and it'd work far, far better. That way, the 'bought too many slots in last month' amount could be weighted differently for each size, say small = 0.5, medium = 1, large = 2.5, v.large = 5. Go over 200 points in the last month, and you're paying the anti slot-hog fee. Allow a bank for those who are not buying slots, that credits them with 50 slots/week multiplied by the % amount of slots in their HQ between 0600-2255, less 20. So in an 80+% full airport, e.g. LHR, CDG, AMS, etc, you get no credit. In a 50% full airport, you'll get 15 slots/week added to your bank, enabling you to schedule in bulk later. In a near empty, 20% full airport, you'll get 30 slots/week banked, so if you go 3 months without a slot purchase, you'll have ~600 slots available before hitting the hog-fee, enough for 15-20 turboprops.

That would slow down explosive growth, without unduly punishing those running regional airlines, without unduly punishing those in bigger HQs without so much slot pressure who want to schedule in bulk on a weekend.

It would also stop players abusing the current system by getting a handful of LH planes as cash cows, then any 50-100 seater they can find to hold as many slots as possible for later switching to LH. You want to hold a slot for a v.large LH plane, you'll need to buy it as a v.large slot from the start. Or buy it as a medium slot for a medium plane, then close the route and rebuy it as a v.large later on. Easy to slow that hogging down too though, if you give back a slot of one size and want to buy it again, you could have to pay a really large fee.

Players attempting to run huge airlines in huge airports might actually have to start focusing on actually buying slots for the routes they're about to fly, instead of focusing on greediliy grabbing as much of the limited resource as they possibly can, in order to keep anyone else from having it, and to distribute to their real routes at leisure.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: [ATA] Sunbao on October 10, 2013, 04:14:50 PM
Yes--this new rule is unfair for existing game worlds because you are forced to use cash to buy slots versus going negative.  People have ordered large batches of planes and now it will be impossible to schedule them.  Bad idea, at least to implement today.

Not at all, you will get a new 737/320 every 25 days or so, that flies three routes thats 21 slots, then you will get one long haul also around every 25 day, thats in total around 28 new slots every 25 day.
And that will not be penalized under the new rules.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 10, 2013, 05:33:07 PM
So if I understand Jumboschrimp correctly he is saying that anyone using anything smaller then a 737 is a pain in the arse and has no right for slots as my aircraft is 'just to small and resources could be better spend'. Not polite Schrimpy.

If I am prepared to pay 800K per slot for a 30 seater then that is MY choice. Fine that the same slot can be better used for a 737 at 800K. But as long as we pay the same price it is up to the player weather to decide if he is prepared to cough up the money or not. Regardless of type of aircraft.

Airports want passengers, and they want their potential passengers be actual passengers.  When it comes to assigning a slot, they would always prefer a larger aircraft with more pax to smaller aircraft.  I don't remember seeing 30-seaters at JFK, definitely not at NRT.

If slot is the limiting resource, there is more demand than the airport can serve with its existing slots, the slot "resource" could definitely be better spent on a larger aircraft than on a 30 seater.

My proposal is not to ban 30 seaters, but to grow slots until there is some surplus, and at that point, 30 seaters are fine.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 10, 2013, 05:55:29 PM
It is going to be longhaul airlines, starting in big airports, that will be punished the least, because they get the most revenue for the least number of slots. Exactly the same way that starting with 2 x DC10 as your initial planes is the best way, by far, to start growing explosively. 35 weekly slots is enough for 7 LH planes, or 2-3 a320s, or just 1 turboprop. Limiting explosive growth at the start of the world is something I'm 100% in favour of. But doing it this way is going to offer huge advantages to LH over regional, even more than it does now. They can get 7 times as many planes before running into highly inflated slot costs. And each of those 7 planes will produce much more revenue.

I suggested a way to close down the initial LH exploit here, to slow down the initial exponential growth:

http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,46457.0.html

The RI modification that Sami implemented left this exploit unaffected.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Maarten Otto on October 10, 2013, 07:33:48 PM
Airports want passengers, and they want their potential passengers be actual passengers.  When it comes to assigning a slot, they would always prefer a larger aircraft with more pax to smaller aircraft.  I don't remember seeing 30-seaters at JFK, definitely not at NRT.

If slot is the limiting resource, there is more demand than the airport can serve with its existing slots, the slot "resource" could definitely be better spent on a larger aircraft than on a 30 seater.

My proposal is not to ban 30 seaters, but to grow slots until there is some surplus, and at that point, 30 seaters are fine.
In other words you dictate me and the others out there that do not wanna fly like every one does to do so. Your spoiling a game. I believe this was called AIRWAYSIM... Not 737/A320 SIM.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 10, 2013, 07:48:27 PM
In other words you dictate me and the others out there that do not wanna fly like every one does to do so. Your spoiling a game. I believe this was called AIRWAYSIM... Not 737/A320 SIM.

No, I want to improve it, so that we are again playing AirwaySim, not a SlotSim.

If the slots grew based on demand for slots, there would be room for everyone.  But when the slots at major airports are completely sold out, and airlines can't get a slot for a 777, it seems counterproductive to have a Beechcraft taking up a slot.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Maarten Otto on October 10, 2013, 07:53:18 PM
Well. That guy with his Beechcraft BOUGT it for a hefty sum, and has the same rights as a 777 airline.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 10, 2013, 08:05:08 PM
Well. That guy with his Beechcraft BOUGT it for a hefty sum, and has the same rights as a 777 airline.

Well, maybe he did not.  If you are based outside of the slot constrained airport, you pay a lower price for the same slots compared to an airline HQd at one of the slot constrained airport.

Which is one of the reasons I favor the Airport Expansion Fee, assessed per slot.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 10, 2013, 09:49:15 PM
So let's start from scratch with the back of a napkin and talk theory of constraints.  What should be the constraint for an airline's growth?  Slots? Money? Aircraft?

The theory of constraints being the weakest link in a system is going to constrain the entire system, not just one part of the process.  You can have infinite slots and money, for example, but if you don't have the aircraft it will constrain the whole system.  So--what should be the constraint?
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Teadaze on October 10, 2013, 09:56:36 PM
small airline(or beginning)
money(which also translate into aircraft)
medium airline(after a year)
money(reason of aircraft), aircraft(if your model is popular, or everyone filled the production queue already) and slot(if airport ran out of slot)
large airline (after a few years)
slot, assume your airline is successful.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 10, 2013, 10:02:11 PM
small airline(or beginning)
money(which also translate into aircraft)
medium airline(after a year)
money(reason of aircraft), aircraft(if your model is popular, or everyone filled the production queue already) and slot(if airport ran out of slot)
large airline (after a few years)
slot, assume your airline is successful.

A terminal system would give small/medium airlines all the slots they need and just leave money as the constraint, followed by aircraft avail.
For large airlines that are successful, a terminal system would also lead to slot scarcity and force them to use bigger aircraft/less frequency or pay large sums to further expand.

IMO the constraint should always be money, no matter what.  If an airline has billions in cash, but there are zero slots available to buy at any price level, then this is a problem.  For a couple billion you could build another runway at Heathrow/JFK/etc.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 10, 2013, 10:27:48 PM
So let's start from scratch with the back of a napkin and talk theory of constraints.  What should be the constraint for an airline's growth?  Slots? Money? Aircraft?

The theory of constraints being the weakest link in a system is going to constrain the entire system, not just one part of the process.  You can have infinite slots and money, for example, but if you don't have the aircraft it will constrain the whole system.  So--what should be the constraint?

I would rank the constrains, as they should be (IMO) from highest to lowest:

Money > Aircraft > Slots

Unfortunately, many players (in busy slot constrained airports) will find themselves in situation where it is completely reversed
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 10, 2013, 10:29:19 PM
IMO the constraint should always be money, no matter what.  If an airline has billions in cash, but there are zero slots available to buy at any price level, then this is a problem.  For a couple billion you could build another runway at Heathrow/JFK/etc.

Completely agree.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 10, 2013, 10:32:10 PM
I have money, aircraft and slots : its the pax who are missing :(

I think demand needs to be included in the mix of constraints too : after all, the reason LHR, CDG, ETC get slot-locked is the potential demand outstrips the ability to service it :
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 10, 2013, 10:45:36 PM
I have money, aircraft and slots : its the pax who are missing :(

I think demand needs to be included in the mix of constraints too : after all, the reason LHR, CDG, ETC get slot-locked is the potential demand outstrips the ability to service it :

In the current system, demand is what it is.  When the connecting pax system is implemented, you may be able to create some of your own demand through connections and steal some of the demand from neighboring airports.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 10, 2013, 11:06:16 PM
Indeed, its going to be far easier than sending out my ninja goats to kidnap unsuspecting citizens in Port Moresby and keep forcing them onto my planes at gunpoint...
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Sanabas on October 11, 2013, 12:39:26 AM
I suggested a way to close down the initial LH exploit here, to slow down the initial exponential growth:

http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,46457.0.html

The RI modification that Sami implemented left this exploit unaffected.

Yeah, I think that's a reasonable idea.

The slot-hog tax as currently described will just exacerbate the problem of LH being a far, far, better way to get a quick start.

As for constraints, it should be money as the biggest one. The major problem is that the game is just too easy, especially in a huge airport. You can quickly generate enough money so that you no longer have to make many tactical decisions about what to spend money on, you simply use all that free money to grab any slot you have access to, any plane you have access to. Fixing that is a challenge, because it needs to reduce the easy money in LHR and other big airports that are actually some of the easiest places in the game to be a profitable airline, without also making things much harder for all the tiny airlines, all the new players, the hundreds of airlines every game that BK in the first 5 years because things are too difficult.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Teadaze on October 11, 2013, 01:07:56 AM
i think a few more thing that can be addressed if a revamp of such magnitude is happening:
the demand model should work inline with slot.
Make larger size aircraft more plausible(727/747 etc) and nerf frequency rape... which is another cause of slot restrain.
-If the recent slot grab penalty is in place, it should not be only towards the leading airline. In a more reasonable world, everyone should be able to grab some at the same cost or slightly higher.
-If the terminal/expansion system is in place, perhaps something can be work with involving alliance. Right now the alliance mechanic is too minimal IMO.

I don't necessary agree the LH route start is the culprit. If you nerf it to the point it is not really usable, everyone flying SH start will kill the slot even faster. A sudden increase of competition as everyone is flying SH start will make new comer even much harder to survive.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Sanabas on October 11, 2013, 01:58:36 AM
I don't necessary agree the LH route start is the culprit. If you nerf it to the point it is not really usable, everyone flying SH start will kill the slot even faster. A sudden increase of competition as everyone is flying SH start will make new comer even much harder to survive.

Not saying that starting with LH routes is the culprit, just saying that LH being far and away the best way to start is a problem itself, and the slot-hogging penalty as described will tip things even further towards LH being the only good way to start.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 11, 2013, 02:19:40 AM
-If the terminal/expansion system is in place, perhaps something can be work with involving alliance. Right now the alliance mechanic is too minimal IMO.

I agree there is a lot to gain with alliances being involved.  It would have to be something to do with degrees of separation.  So if you serve 100 airports out of your hub, that is level 1.  If you fly to an alliance member's hub/base and they fly to 100 different destinations, that makes level 2 connect to 200 airports.  I don't think going any deeper than that would be worthwhile, but you could scale demand/image/etc. based on connecting at your hub and an alliance member's hub (3 flights with 2 connections).  The "interconnectedness" of the network would drive an increase in demand, just as it does IRL.

Using the terminal model, this would promote using larger aircraft to serve that demand unless you have slots to burn.  So when you upgrade your fleet, you'd go from a BAC 1-11 to a B737 or MD80 instead of an F100, for example.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 11, 2013, 02:30:46 AM
If you nerf it to the point it is not really usable, everyone flying SH start will kill the slot even faster. A sudden increase of competition as everyone is flying SH start will make new comer even much harder to survive.

Couple of points:
- We are looking at only 50% of the slots at the beginning of the game world.  I would abandon that idea and start with 100% level appropriate for the year of the game
- There is not enough aircraft on the UM to completely fill all of the demand, all of the slots.  Maybe half.

So the UM runs out of aircraft before the slots are gone, and then the slower phase, of getting deliveries of New aircraft kicks in.  And then at some point, flying LH becomes viable, once CI is high enough.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: FORSBERC on October 11, 2013, 02:37:45 AM
EDIT: This is in response to LemonButt's comment.

You could also have alliances "buy" a terminal or pay for an expansion of a current terminal at a specific airport. Now, this would require the alliance to have money, which they currently do not have. (I'm using my knowledge from a few years ago on this one.) And any airlines using this new alliance terminal or alliance focus airport would have higher passenger demands, thus potentially making the purchase worthwhile. By having an alliance budget, it opens a ton of possibilities for alliances, from alliance wide marketing to this terminal idea.

I personally am a huge fan of buying gates from an airport (or leasing gates from a gate owner). It would allow much more customization of the quantity of "slots", which are essentially gate availability times. I know IRL, the runways will have an effect too, so perhaps having a list of how many total departures are trying to leave at a specific time would indicate the probability of delay. This would in turn allow the airline much more control over their delay/ cancellation rate than they do currently.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 11, 2013, 03:02:28 AM
alliance-funded marketing is in effect already, its what the % taken from your revenue is (notionally) used for and can add a significant amount to your airlines RI and CI scores, giving more pax take-up.

I like the terminal/associated slots idea and think it would go along way to solving issues. Alliance funded terminals? Why not, within limits : how to fund that is another matter, and would require an alliance spending account be held. There would be the question of what then happens to its tenants should the alliance fold, or one leave and join another alliance : would the benefit be transferable or just lapse?

I also like the idea that delays/punctuality get affected by how clogged the runways may be : the notion of 'knock-on' effects of delays on subsequent flights has been raised recently (apologies, cant recall exactly who did so), and in RL missing your slot at a major is no small matter, there are even penalties imposed for doing so without sound reasons, because fitting the delayed flight back into a busy take-off/landing schedule will impact on other airlines punctuality too. But, nice as that would be, in terms of reflecting actuality, I'm not sure the server could handle processing the effects at a major like JFK of just one late take-off. So it would need to be part of the wider calculation regarding punctuality rates : but yes, if you knew spreading take-off times more would improve that, then the incentive would be there to do so.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 11, 2013, 03:19:27 AM
With terminals you could also lift the arbitrary 100 aircraft limit at bases.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 11, 2013, 03:30:33 AM
With terminals you could also lift the arbitrary 100 aircraft limit at bases.

that's true, as the terminal size itself would be the limiter, or how much you were prepared to spend to enlarge/upgrade it. I could see that also relieving the pressure to base more aircraft at HQ and thus ease any monopoly-type penalties there as well :
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Sami on October 11, 2013, 12:38:05 PM
Reading the comments, here would be my initial and broad solution. Details to be discussed:

Airport capacity

Capacity of an airport is limited by many things, and in AWS the model for this limit is mainly the runway capacity (= slots, runway slots). Other limiting factors in real life are ramp space and terminal capacity for example.

So I would propose combining the suggested terminals feature to the current slots feature. Having terminals alone as the capacity metric is not realistic, and airlines rarely build or fund own terminals outside US, but we can merge these two to create a suitable solution here that has both real-world elements and solves the airport issues in the game. (the current slot allocation is not realistic either)


Elements

Two elements are needed: runway capacity and terminal capacity.

Runway capacity will be calculated based on the current system, but added with the airport expansions where airport authority can elect to build new runways and expand the airport's runway capacity when it becomes limiting. There's a separate thread of this too with basic details here: http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,21347.msg268408.html#msg268408  (the idea's details may have to be changed a bit for this but basic idea remains: airport can expand its runways every X years and thus grow larger => more capacity). So this element is dynamic, but slow - like in reality as new runway planning and building can take time (how much time, we should discuss - taking into account 70-80 year game spans)


Terminal capacity will have many elements and possibilities and it is also dynamic, but faster than runway dynamics. Basic idea starts with each airport having a single terminal operated by the airport authority - this is the same like today. So for any small airport with very little traffic nothing changes. But we will introduce a possibility where players can open new terminals for their exclusive use, and possibly also rent this terminal space to other players (or alliances; details to be defined).

Terminal will have a defined max capacity per hour like runway slots. Terminals can be expanded by player input (money), and the airport authority would also expand their own terminal if needed.


Usage

Base idea would be that local airlines have to make their own terminals once they pass certain size, and all visiting airlines use the "default" (airport authority) terminal, unless they wish to make a contract of using player's terminal (similar to fuel contracts etc; just have to make easier interface tied to route opening screen). Each terminal can have defined costs for handling, pax transit etc. Each terminal would also have a quality rating based on some values (to be defined) and this in turn would affect the pax'es desire to use this airline (terminal).

What each airline does inside his own terminal would be then his own matter; longhaul, shorthaul, whatever. However we could allocate the 'gates' (parking spaces) at the terminal also according to the 4 plane size classes so that you'd have different available capacities per plane type. For example total capacity of 10/hour could mean 2x very large or 10x small (just examples).

Staff numbers would also change; you wouldn't need handling staff for example anymore if you buy terminal services from airport authority or other airline, but staff would grow when your terminal grows etc.

Capacity usage % of slots and terminals would also affect to flight delays. Terminals could operate up to ~120% of their design capacity but delays would grow much when >95% capacity is exceeded. (this is advanced part, not necessary)


Costs

Slot costs would be radically reduced as your main costs would go into operating the terminal. There would be no slot limits per airline (apart from the hourly limits etc) but the limiting factor should be the size on your terminal. I would also presume the overall runway slot numbers would need to be increased.

Or alternatively the relative size of the terminal vs. other terminals would be also your max. share of the total rwy slot allocation at that airport. But these are details.


Bases

We could also eliminate the base 100 plane restrictions, since it's limited by terminal capacity now (and past certain size you'd need the terminal, or you can build it right away too). And this feature would also make this "number of aircraft based an airport" feature work: http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,25319.0.html   ..which is basically the same thing what is talked here.

For non-based airlines flying here the airport authority would make sure there is always runway and terminal capacity to them (for runway capacity this has to be thought well too).


Update

This all in all is a massive update and could not be implemented to v.1.3 most likely which is bad since we got 13 months of games left there etc. Eta for building/testing 3-6 months+.


All combined, this would still mean that airports cannot grow exponentially and wildly (runway capacity) but much more dynamics would be introduced with much chance for players to interact and make changes to the environment themselves too. On bad side this could possibly be complicated and also if the runway capacity does not work it would still mean issues (however at some point the rwy capacity will limit anyway). Also how to deal the game start situation is another thing to think about too.

This is what I though of today, and is a very rough idea. Please discuss but do not focus into very tiny details so far. (I may have forgotten something here too)
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 11, 2013, 01:40:00 PM
So if I understand correctly, we are keeping the old system, removing 100 aircraft base restriction, and adding a new level to the game of terminals?  This sounds fine and dandy to me, but only if the slots available for the entire airport is increased significantly, otherwise we'll still be running out of slots very quickly at the macro level.  I'm also hoping this means that airlines are forced to space their flights out versus having everyone leave at 5am each morning per terminal space requirements (and the gate/ramp crews going from gate to gate to board aircraft versus having some crazy huge staff to board all at once).

If this is a huge update, I think it is prudent to add business plans to the update as the type of business model you plan on using drives the terminal you need.  I mentioned CVG in a previous post.  Concourse C has 80 gates for CRJs loading up on the tarmac whereas the other terminals have ~20 gates with jetways.  If my intention is to run a small regional airline, I should have a terminal suited for my airline.  The most elementary version of this would be giving airlines 3 choices of terminal when they join (for example): 20 gates for small/medium aircraft, 5 gates for small/medium + 10 unrestricted, or 12 unrestricted.  If you are flying long haul, you need less gates/slots and jetways.  If you are flying short haul/regional,  you need more gates/slots and tarmacs.

In regards to slot costs, I think they should be fixed.  You mentioned the majority of costs going towards terminal upkeep (i.e. slot maintenance).  Right now I can order aircraft and I literally have no clue what slots will costs, which makes it difficult.  Even if I do the research, the cost can change significantly, especially if there are only 1 or 2 slots left.  Something like $10k per slot, which means scheduling a 7x daily would cost 140k.  If you are flying 4x daily that is a $560k slot cost.  Simple enough to plan for.

Overall, I really like all of this...

Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 11, 2013, 02:50:26 PM
Overall, I think such a game development could only help matters : the current system aint totally broke, but as circumstance in each type of airport differs so much, any change to ease one problem seems to throw somewhere else into a tailspin, as with the recent issues with dynamic pricing of slots.

terminals seem to be the way to go : as for how each would share the different classes of service : we all start with a very basic vanilla 'domestic' one and make the limiter pax-handling numbers and gates (as in real life) : then the operator is free to choose what type of plane to operate but cant move more than the limit in pax or fly more the gates can handle in any hour slot. That effectively caps any runway demand as well in that hour. From there, if the operator wants to fly Sh/LH, then they use the 'shared' main terminal, and its limits on pax and gates, until they generate enough funds to upgrade their 'home' terminal to SH : notionally, they'll need customs and immigration facilities in-house, for example.

each aircraft type would occupy a gate for its turnaround time : (so there's a nice player decision : run that big bird but lock that gate for hours, or run smaller aircraft more often? ) this would effectively space out runway use anyway, but yes, there would still be busy periods which could be worked into a potential 'delay' cause.

If the operator has no interest in domestic/regional services, then they can rent out the initial space to incoming services : how to attract such interest : pricing, facilities (allow minor upgrade's such as catering, shops, low-cost parking, etc which increase the terminals image (TI?) and thus, with RI and CI, attract the pax and/or potential tenants.

how to manage airport expansion is simplified to the management building more infrastructure : a new runway, for example, which means terminal owners can upgrade to increase gates/pax flow : or the extra capacity goes into the 'shared' terminal for incoming flights, or for extra flights that dont fit into owned terminals. interim improvements can also be created : runway capacity can increase by management investment in ground control, for example : a new rail link to the town centre can increase pax demand : such one-off 'events' can be randomised to add a little bit of uncertainty to airport expansion and keep players on their toes.

this does add another tier of investment decisions for the operator : upgrade the terminal or buy new planes? If you want that C/F business, you'll have to add business lounges, valet parking, classy bars an restaurants, and so on, to attract that dollar.

And it gives us the doorway and means for the introduction of the Holy Grail of cargo...

Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: FORSBERC on October 11, 2013, 08:54:37 PM
In general, I really like where this is going. However, I think we should be able to customize the terminal. Instead of having only three options, why don't we give the player the option of how to customize their terminal space.

For example, when choosing to build a new terminal, give the player an option to choose the terminal size. (The following are random numbers, but you get the idea.) The minimum is say 5,000 sq feet and can go up to 500,000 sq feet. Each square foot is worth $10.

Once the terminal is built, the user can figure out what you put in it. Coffee shops are xx sq feet, lounges are bb, small gates are yy, large gates are zz, etc. Each option/ upgrade costs differently, and the gates all take up space. This could be very similar to how we customize our seating in aircraft. You may be able to fit 100 economy seats, or only 30 business seats, or only 10 first class seats, or a combination of the above. This would give the user the direct ability to customizing their amount of available gates as the game progresses.

Each gate would correspond to the maximum allowable size of aircraft. For example, a small aircraft could use a large aircraft gate, but a large aircraft couldn't use a small aircraft gate.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: [ATA] frimp on October 11, 2013, 09:13:07 PM
I like this idea a lot but fear this is going to take a lot of time to implement.

I've just thought of a radical idea which I thought I'd share (sorry Sami if it's not easy to implement, just an idea)

How about introducing an allocation of profit for slots.
each airline can set an allocation of their weekly profits aside for slots (suggest 50% Max but can be adjusted).
you then preschedule your routes with the new feature and the system would automatically allocate the slots based on the amount you've saved since the last slot release and the priority of when you've scheduled the slots (I imagine you'd need some sort of unique sequential flight number in the background to identify which ones have priority). So the most common slots would probably go first. Any slot which wasn't scheduled by any airline would open up and become an available slot for anyone to pick up. Slot releases would still have to happen randomly so people cant play around with profits.

I'd also think that big losses should deduct any amount already saved up towards new slots. This would prevent larger airlines from placing big orders to acquire aircrafts and then still acquire slots. So its then your choice of a few slots and a few aircrafts or loads of aircrafts but having to delay your intake of slots. This would also solve the problem of huge backlogs on production slots of aircrafts. Slot costs should not be taken into account of profit as you've set that allocation aside.

in my opinion it would then also mean it's more of a sim rewarding airlines for running efficient airlines and maximising profits to stimulate growth. Also everyone would get some slots at airports at some point so people wouldn't get discouraged. I imagine there will be a few flaws with the idea but thought I'd share it nevertheless. I think it would be fair approach for all airlines. One thing I think that may need to be addressed is that LH flights may be at an advantage early in the game.. maybe slot costs could be linked to distance flown to balance the advantage of LH.

I'd like to hear people's thoughts on this and I'm sure it will be torn to pieces like most of my radical ideas :-)

all the best

Fred
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Teadaze on October 11, 2013, 09:19:40 PM
I like this idea a lot but fear this is going to take a lot of time to implement.....


I actually quite like this idea, but I think revenue based, and you can't change the % of contribution every minute.... so it will create a more challenging setting. An bad planned setting may put a company under.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Elyk1981 on October 12, 2013, 02:30:11 AM
Hi All,

Well basing myself several times at LHR over the years the slot issue has been the main contention in every game and is the reason there are so many ultra large airlines at slot locked airports.

I think the easiest way to deal with it and fairest is to open each game world with the maximum slot allocation available that each airport will ever have.

So for example if at LHR in the year 2019 if there is 100 per slots per hour open the game of DOTM in 1975 with this many slots. Due to a lot less pax demand it would be impossible for one airline to use all the slots and fly to every destination without getting the route "oversupply" warning.

This means every airline is able to fly the same routes as each other airline based at the airport. The edge then comes into running your airline efficently, choosing the correct plane types etc. Obviously as the game years continue airline's would inevitably bankrupt putting there slots back into the market and the cycle repeating itself.

That said it means late starters can join the game and have slots available at all the airports, but you have to have a limit of 8 airlines max based at each airport.

Anyway just my thoughts.

Elyk
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Cardinal on October 12, 2013, 02:58:33 AM
I think the terminal idea is a good one, and Sami's rough draft is a pretty good starting point.

Any new terminal or runway construction should take time to be completed. IRL a new runway usually takes several years from committing to the project until concrete is poured (regulatory issues, special interests, NIMBYs, etc all having to be dealt with). And then there's actual construction time. Terminal buildings don't face the same amount of red tape but take longer to build, it's still a couple of years (at least) between the design phase and opening.

For the sake of playability, a shortened time frame should be chosen (6 months? 1 year?) between when either the airport decides it needs a new runway or when an airline buys a new terminal, and when said runway/terminal opens. Neither the airport nor the HQ airline should be able to just go buy a runway or terminal at Walmart.

In the meantime:

     New Runway: If there is spare capacity in the common-use terminal or an airline's private terminal, and airlines decide to add flights, delays increase as the current runway(s) is near/at/beyond capacity. Once the new runway opens delays will ease.

     New private terminal: If a HQ/Based airline is still using the common-use gates, and decides/is compelled to build their own terminal, in the interim they (and all "foreign" airlines) remain constrained by the number of common-use gates available.  (If it is decided that every startup airline gets a terminal at their HQ, then this would not apply.)

     Expanded common-use terminal: When the airport-owned terminal reaches capacity and the airport authority announces a terminal expansion, during construction the existing space constraints remain. *Another twist to this could be to add 1%-2% to the delay chances of all flights using the common terminal during construction, as expanding a terminal comes with some growing pains. This could cause airlines to think more carefully about spreading out flights or even slow growth if they know additional flights are going to trigger construction, the "It'll get worse before it gets better" scenario.

     Expanded private terminal: When the hometown airline's existing terminal is at/near 100% capacity, and they spend the money on a new terminal, during construction they can try to squeeze a few more flights into their existing space but delays will happen. *The "growing pains" delay penalty described above could come into play here too.
     Alternatively, if an airline expands their terminal but wants to grow in the meantime without causing delays, they could lease gates in the common terminal, but those leases would expire when their new terminal opens. This would help prevent slot hogging in the common-use terminal as the maximum amount of time the home airline could lease the common-use gates would be whatever the terminal construction time is.

If it isn't too complex to code, the airports that are special cases in real life should be special cases in AWS. (I'm looking at you, Heathrow.) These are the places where the regulatory red tape and NIMBY lawsuits are especially thick. In these certain cases, either the threshold of congestion before construction is triggered should be higher (particularly for a runway), or the construction delay should be longer, or both.

Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 12, 2013, 12:00:01 PM
Hi All,

Well basing myself several times at LHR over the years the slot issue has been the main contention in every game and is the reason there are so many ultra large airlines at slot locked airports.

I think the easiest way to deal with it and fairest is to open each game world with the maximum slot allocation available that each airport will ever have.

So for example if at LHR in the year 2019 if there is 100 per slots per hour open the game of DOTM in 1975 with this many slots. Due to a lot less pax demand it would be impossible for one airline to use all the slots and fly to every destination without getting the route "oversupply" warning.

This means every airline is able to fly the same routes as each other airline based at the airport. The edge then comes into running your airline efficently, choosing the correct plane types etc. Obviously as the game years continue airline's would inevitably bankrupt putting there slots back into the market and the cycle repeating itself.

That said it means late starters can join the game and have slots available at all the airports, but you have to have a limit of 8 airlines max based at each airport.

Anyway just my thoughts.

Elyk

This will not work.  If Heathrow started with 100 slots instead of 50 slots, airlines would simply fly 100 seaters instead of 200 seaters and still use up all the slots in the same manner they do today (see Parkinson's Law).
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 12, 2013, 12:03:35 PM
     New Runway: If there is spare capacity in the common-use terminal or an airline's private terminal, and airlines decide to add flights, delays increase as the current runway(s) is near/at/beyond capacity. Once the new runway opens delays will ease.

     New private terminal: If a HQ/Based airline is still using the common-use gates, and decides/is compelled to build their own terminal, in the interim they (and all "foreign" airlines) remain constrained by the number of common-use gates available.  (If it is decided that every startup airline gets a terminal at their HQ, then this would not apply.)

The interesting things about runways and terminals is that runways cannot be used until they are 100% built whereas terminals can be used while they are still partially under construction.

Let's say an airport goes from 1 runway to 2 runways.  There is an instant explosion of takeoff/landing slots ON THE RUNWAY due to this.  At a macro level, slots show up overnight.

If an airport opens a terminal, they could build out the terminal in phases and gate slots would be added to a player's exclusive slot pool in phases, or in otherwords: at a micro level, slots show up slowly over time.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Pukeko on October 12, 2013, 12:07:39 PM
I like the idea of somehow being able to add new runways / terminal etc. and that they would take time to build, with some costs up front. Maybe there could be a way where two airlines (or within an alliance), airlines could pool money to build terminals for that alliance only. And, then maybe the 'owner' airline(s), could lease out room (slots) to other airlines at set weekly/monthly costs on an annual basis?
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Glob-Al on October 13, 2013, 03:48:05 AM
Just catching up with this thread. There are lots of great ideas here but I'm concerned that there's a danger of making this over-complicated. Most people commenting on this thread are presumably reasonably experienced players who know how it works currently but this system has to be newbie-proof as well. To my mind, having both gate slots and runway slots is adding an unnecessary extra level of complexity. If the design was such that both were limiting factors then you'd have to line both up, making scheduling even more complicated. Or if they were designed so that terminals become the main limiting factor, what's the point of having runway slots at all?

Stepping back for one minute, and looking at the big picture - as others have said we have a scarce resource (slots at popular airports) here. I think the two big questions are:

(1) on what basis should that scarce resource be allocated? Presuming you're not just going to hand out the resource evenly, the three main ways you could allocate it would be money, time spent online or luck. It seems like most of us favour money, which throws up a sub-question of whether the price should be the same for everyone or if bigger airlines should have to pay more. Personally I favour bigger airlines having to pay more. I know it's not necessarily realistic (or entirely fair) but it helps with the gameplay.

(2) should there be a hard cap (i.e. an absolute fixed limit that cannot be exceeded) on this resource, or a soft cap (i.e. there is no absolute fixed limit but buying it gets more and more expensive)? The sub-question here is, if there's a soft cap, how tight should that be? Should it basically always be expandable or should it reach a point where it will be nigh on impossible to expand further? It seems to me that there is a much wider range of opinion in the thread on these questions. Personally I favour a soft cap that is quite tight.

If you go with a hard cap, the logical approach is to stick with runway slots because once they're gone, they're gone. Airport expansions can be used to grow these in a way that is controlled by the system / the admin rather than the players, so as to maintain the hard cap. My preferred way of doing this would be that all airlines based at an airport are invited to contribute to the cost of an expansion, and half the slots are allocated between them in proportion to the amount they contributed. The other half are gradually released (like the current system) but only for airlines based elsewhere to fly in. As an example, airlines based at LHR get a message saying the authorities are planning to add a new runway with 24 slots per hour. Airline A offers to contribute $100m, Airline B and C each offer $300m and Airline D $500m. 12 slots an hour would be divided amongst them so Airline D would get 5, B and C 3 each and A 1. The other 12 slots would be drip-fed out for airlines based elsewhere to fly in.

If you go with a soft cap, I think terminals are a better way to go, with the cost of increasing runway capacity factored in to the cost of terminal building but not modeled separately. LemonButt's ideas are great. In the interests of keeping it simple(ish), I think I would make it so that:

Sorry for the long post. Hope there's some helpful ideas in there though!
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 13, 2013, 04:46:42 AM
Lots of very good ideas in there, Al, and you are absolutely correct re: not over-complicating matters so that new players aren't totally confusicated from step 1 : My solution for the runway slot/gates is simple enough : if you have the gate you get the runway slot with it : once the runway slots get tight, you cant expand your gates in your terminal until the airport expands and creates more runway slots thus allowing more gates to be in use : that doesn't stop you upgrading your terminal in other ways, as you describe : business lounges, catering, etc : so you wont be left sitting just waiting for new capacity.

There will still be the element of chance : a BK will free up gates and a quick move may snag them for an earlier terminal upgrade than planned : gates may come free in the common-use terminal to allow parked planes to get flying earlier while waiting for your terminal upgrade, then they can be transferred back in-house once completed.

The idea of airlines contributing to overall airport expansion financially and then gaining some privileged access to the new capacity is fine too : I think the key to keeping competition and access into the airport from outside is that any capacity not taken up by the based airline terminals gets used, along with the 'reserved' capacity, in the common-use terminal : there's the incentive to expand your terminal, as if others take the gates/runway slots via the common-use terminal, you lose that capacity to expand into : there would still have to be a cap on capacity : some percentage must always be reserved to the common-use terminal and barred to based airline use : so if the based airlines did bankroll overall expansion, part of that is increasing capacity for others too. That would be a sort of soft-cap with hard edges, no based airline, even one so big it could bankroll an airport expansion on its own, could expand to totally dominate as the act of airport expansion would also create capacity they could never use, just their competitors : so, a finely balanced decision for them to be making.

As mentioned elsewhere, any airport expansion does need to be a longish-term process ; new runways dont appear overnight, but that would fit neatly into the longer-game scenario well : once an expansion is announced, players will need to start planning for it : new planes, upgrading their terminal for more gates, etc , which should also have a completion time element : I'm of the opinion we should not over-complicate these upgrades : a basic 'level #1 terminal> level #2 upgrade' should give a certain % boost  to CI and RI : together with more gates, perhaps allowing more larger planes to operate from it. Perhaps C/F pax will only consider using a level #3 or better terminal, and so on. Before then, you'll have to use the relatively more expensive (?) and scarcer gates in the common-use terminal for that traffic. That would limit the mentioned elsewhere 'LH exploit' for rapid expansion : you should not be able to really expand LH (and the lucrative C/F business) until you can upgrade your own terminal to handle it.

Anyway, that's my solution to the issue : allow airports to expand, theoretically, infinitely (but impossible to do as the cost would become beyond anyone's pocket) : at the same time, no one airline could ever fill the new capacity on its own, only part of it : the bigger you grow your airport, the more space you create for competition to work in : and there's a sort of self-limiter to using mere numbers to 'win' market share : you'll also have to address the other aspects of your 'offer' to get the competitive edge to maximise returns.

With the much-awaited 'dynamic demand' development also due in play, the ground rules are going to change anyway : LHR may become a back-water to the might of Luton, or Stansted : JFK may have to bow to Atlantic City : NRT will gaze with awe at the 15 runways at Komatsu as the single daily flight to HND returns half-empty...

we can but dream :)
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: FORSBERC on October 13, 2013, 06:54:42 AM
Simplifying the slot system should definitely be considered, however, I certainly believe that the terminals do not need to be all that simplistic. I think they would add whole new level to the game and would help cap the large airlines by having them spend more money in order to expand. Unlike now, where the only true capital expense for expansion is additional bases and aircraft.

For new terminals, we could have an architecture bidding process, where you input your required TI (Terminal Image which would directly affect the CI and RI for routes flying to/ from the terminal), quantity/ size of gates, and other facilities you require. After say a month, the bid comes back and says that it will cost you $100 million, you will have 15 gates, and that the TI is expected to be between 70 and 80. From this, you can choose whether to modify your terminal, or build proposed design.

In addition, because the terminals would be a large capital expense, the decision to reconfigure the terminal must be present. This would go hand in hand with aircraft seat configurations as I have mentioned earlier, allowing the user to customize the asset to their content and specifications.

Furthermore, we could have a "terminal" marketplace where users could buy used portions of (or whole) terminals. This would allow airlines the ability to make revenue in additional ways and provide a player driven ability to directly open slots up to other operators at specific airports.

NOTE: By making the new modifier Terminal Image (TI), it could directly affect the RI and CI of the airline. The RI would never go to 100 without a TI of above 75, thus making nice terminals necessary for the best loads, but certainly not required.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Cardinal on October 13, 2013, 08:48:42 AM
Furthermore, we could have a "terminal" marketplace where users could buy used portions of (or whole) terminals. This would allow airlines the ability to make revenue in additional ways and provide a player driven ability to directly open slots up to other operators at specific airports.

Used terminals. That just gave me a thought:

What happens when an airline that built their own terminal goes bankrupt? Do those gates sit empty until another airline buys the terminal? And who does the new owner buy it from? The airport? Do all those gates become common-use?
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 13, 2013, 09:21:17 AM
Used terminals. That just gave me a thought:

What happens when an airline that built their own terminal goes bankrupt? Do those gates sit empty until another airline buys the terminal? And who does the new owner buy it from? The airport? Do all those gates become common-use?

my thoughts :

In that case : the empty terminal stays so until a new player moves in (as it would be their 'free' start-up HQ) : I assume any upgrades made by the previous owner would lapse and the terminal revert to basic level : Additionally, the airport could offer the terminal to existing based players, who might see it as a quick upgrade, then their old terminal would fall empty (and its capacity) and that become the start-up terminal awaiting a new player basing there.

There is the issue of how do players HQ-ed elsewhere go about opening a new base at an airport: this could be part of the process, taking over a BK-ed players terminal (with any upgrades reflected in the price) or just being allocated a vanilla start-up one they would have to prettify themselves.

There is the issue of just how many player-owned terminals an airport could realistically have : again, back to the overall capacity limiter of runway slots (less the reserved % for the common-use terminal) and the limitation is the total number of gates (and associated runway slots) : no more capacity = no more new terminals or gate upgrades : this should then 'push' the airport management into expansion mode : in which case, it could calculate how much demand exists, is it being filled, can its tenant airlines attract more pax (under dynamic demand) and will its tenants part-fund any expansion : it could happen the airport demands that tenants upgrade the 'comforts' side of their operations to attract more demand first : perhaps a metric governing the overall Airport Image is at work too?
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 13, 2013, 01:52:04 PM
Used terminals. That just gave me a thought:

What happens when an airline that built their own terminal goes bankrupt? Do those gates sit empty until another airline buys the terminal? And who does the new owner buy it from? The airport? Do all those gates become common-use?

You could just flip the old terminal to the common terminal and more airlines based at other airports can fly into the airport.  New players start from scratch, but the old terminal adds to the usage of runway slots.  So if you're at ATL with 5 competitors and all 5 bankrupt, the common terminal will be expanded greatly (depending on how big those airlines got before going BK).  This makes sense because it is only the airports where players can reach the point of massive terminals like this that the most competition is needed.  The largest airline at LHR has 500 aircraft in DOTM, for example.  It is going to take the non-LHR airlines probably 1000-1500 aircraft to give him any competition worth dealing with.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 13, 2013, 01:53:24 PM
Also, I must add that even if there is a huge slot pool avail for non-based airlines, they are still restricted by their own terminal space at their own airport, so it's not like there would be a flood of airlines flying into the airport overnight.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 13, 2013, 02:58:54 PM
Also, I must add that even if there is a huge slot pool avail for non-based airlines, they are still restricted by their own terminal space at their own airport, so it's not like there would be a flood of airlines flying into the airport overnight.

good point, mustn't forget there are two ends to the route : but given the (current) LHR/NRT/AMS/etc demand, its fair to say folk will use their precious slots to try to fly there and not to Ulanbator : which may not be so bad, as it would leave uncontested routes to other airports and thus give an option for those who dont join the stampede.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 13, 2013, 08:40:26 PM
I just got an oversupply warning (had to block more seats).  I just realized terminals would eliminate the need for the oversupply/monopoly issues as it is there predominately to keep players from slot hogging.  If we have terminals and they want to use excess slots to overserve a route, I say let them...
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 13, 2013, 09:15:16 PM
I just got an oversupply warning (had to block more seats).  I just realized terminals would eliminate the need for the oversupply/monopoly issues as it is there predominately to keep players from slot hogging.  If we have terminals and they want to use excess slots to overserve a route, I say let them...

It does change things on that ground, yeah : a beta test game-world would no doubt bring up other in-game rules that no longer work as intended or are needed : also was thinking, it would change the thinking behind A-B-C routing too : if that was then allowed but only between your own terminals as start and finish points : perhaps?
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 14, 2013, 07:56:35 AM
Elements

Two elements are needed: runway capacity and terminal capacity.

Runway capacity will be calculated based on the current system, but added with the airport expansions where airport authority can elect to build new runways and expand the airport's runway capacity when it becomes limiting.

As far as transitioning from current airports, it may not be clear if the airport is runway capacity limited or terminal limited.   In order not to be stuck where we are now, it may be a good idea to assume that airports have greater runway capacity than the current system indicate and they are terminal / gate limited.

There's a separate thread of this too with basic details here: http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,21347.msg268408.html#msg268408  (the idea's details may have to be changed a bit for this but basic idea remains: airport can expand its runways every X years and thus grow larger => more capacity).

Let's just hope that airport expansion of runways will add so much capacity that most airports will be limited by terminals / gates (that while costly to enlarge, they will be under player control.

Terminal capacity will have many elements and possibilities and it is also dynamic, but faster than runway dynamics. Basic idea starts with each airport having a single terminal operated by the airport authority - this is the same like today. So for any small airport with very little traffic nothing changes. But we will introduce a possibility where players can open new terminals for their exclusive use, and possibly also rent this terminal space to other players (or alliances; details to be defined).

I think the transition to new terminal will be challenging.  What might work is that the player will have to start with the smallest terminal, with incremental upgrades with ability switch flights from common to private terminal.  This way, the space at the common terminal will free up gradually.  And, if the players happened to grab 100% of, say 0500-0700 slots, that his new, small terminal cannot accommodate, the player would not have to stop flying.

Anyway, the idea is for the player to have access to 2 "sources" of slots all the time, and enough incentive financial (cost) and CI/RI/TI (Terminal Image, for lack of a better word) incentive to use his own terminal.  So perhaps, using common terminal would give the flight TI of zero, using his own terminal would give him TI based on the size / quality of his terminal.

Terminal will have a defined max capacity per hour like runway slots. Terminals can be expanded by player input (money), and the airport authority would also expand their own terminal if needed.

Hopefully, that expansion would be slow, such as runway expansion.  Since every time player moves out, there is more capacity left at the main terminal.

unless they wish to make a contract of using player's terminal (similar to fuel contracts etc; just have to make easier interface tied to route opening screen).

Might be better left for future versions.

What each airline does inside his own terminal would be then his own matter; longhaul, shorthaul, whatever. However we could allocate the 'gates' (parking spaces) at the terminal also according to the 4 plane size classes so that you'd have different available capacities per plane type. For example total capacity of 10/hour could mean 2x very large or 10x small (just examples).

I think this - dealing with sizes of gates, as far as plane sizes they can accept might be even a bigger change than the building terminals, since, in theory, it should apply to the common terminal as well.  It might be best left out of initial version, and just stick to slot is a slot, gate is a gate.  This might be something that would have to be left for future, after the main mechanics are worked out, and apply only to new game worlds.

Staff numbers would also change; you wouldn't need handling staff for example anymore if you buy terminal services from airport authority or other airline, but staff would grow when your terminal grows etc.

But the economics / improved image should favor own terminal - at great deal of capital expense to build it.

Capacity usage % of slots and terminals would also affect to flight delays. Terminals could operate up to ~120% of their design capacity but delays would grow much when >95% capacity is exceeded. (this is advanced part, not necessary)

I think the delay system could use a re-write, so that it actually simulates aircraft flying, challenges it is facing, and cumulative delays / ability to catch up.  Best to handle that separately.

Slot costs would be radically reduced as your main costs would go into operating the terminal. There would be no slot limits per airline (apart from the hourly limits etc) but the limiting factor should be the size on your terminal. I would also presume the overall runway slot numbers would need to be increased.

Yes, probably a good idea.

Bases

We could also eliminate the base 100 plane restrictions, since it's limited by terminal capacity now (and past certain size you'd need the terminal, or you can build it right away too). And this feature would also make this "number of aircraft based an airport" feature work: http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,25319.0.html   ..which is basically the same thing what is talked here.

Sounds like a good idea.

Update

This all in all is a massive update and could not be implemented to v.1.3 most likely which is bad since we got 13 months of games left there etc. Eta for building/testing 3-6 months+.

I would foresee is something minimalistic, simple to get off the ground, with testing being done by creating a copy of existing, running game world.  Testers would start (continue their existing game) without a terminal, using one common terminal, with an option for the player to build his own terminal.  Otherwise, the test would just take too long.

As far as implementation, I would foresee something minimalistic: One slot screen per terminal as opposed to one slot screen per airport.  Player with a terminal would be able to switch between the 2 screens to view the slots at each terminal.

Route screen would have an option enabled for a player with a terminal (disable for player without a terminal), allowing him switch the flight back and forth (with edit, setting a check box, save).  Plus, overall runway capacity limit would be enforced.  That's pretty much it, apart from working out the staffing, costs, and some boost to potential LF by the Terminal Image.  So everything works exactly the same for the player without the terminal, only changes when the player decides to build a terminal.

One potential change might be that when a player builds a terminal, the capacity of the common terminal might need to shrink, by some 50% of the size of the new terminal, and same for each expansion of the player terminals.  We would not want to have 80 evening slots at LAX common terminal, with each airline there being able to add maybe 40-60 of his private slots and we end up with 300 evening slots at LAX, all flying red-eyes...  This way, there would be some check on the overall capacity of the airport.  So if 2 players add 45 each, for 90 total between them, the common terminal would shrink by 45 from 80 to 35 slots.

When the test game world is started (copied), players all without the terminal would first check if all the mechanics work pretty much the same as their existing live game world.  Once that is verified, the option to build terminals would be enabled, and the players would have at it.  The advantage of using a copy of existing game world is that it will have a number of large, established airlines, without players having to start from scratch, go for weeks before they are large enough to be able to test the feature.

Maybe more than 1 cycle of this test might be needed, starting with a fresh copy of a game world and re-verifying no changes to non-terminal play.  Then when testing is done, all game running game worlds would get the new code base (since it was verified and re-verified it does not make any changes to player without a terminal) and then the terminal option would be enabled in all game worlds.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Sami on October 15, 2013, 05:40:21 PM
I'd be happy if someone can dig up some terminal building costs from news etc.. To get a rough idea how much it costs to set up your own shop.. (And other similar reference links)
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: ZombieSlayer on October 15, 2013, 07:45:11 PM
I'd be happy if someone can dig up some terminal building costs from news etc.. To get a rough idea how much it costs to set up your own shop.. (And other similar reference links)

I will do some research tomorrow. Recent terminal's that have been built that I know of include KCLE Concourse D, which is a commuter terminal with 12 jet bridges and 24 prop stands, cost CLE $80m in 1997 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Hopkins). The KDAL terminal under construction will cost $519m and includes 20 new gates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_Love_Field).

Don
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 15, 2013, 11:49:44 PM
I'd be happy if someone can dig up some terminal building costs from news etc.. To get a rough idea how much it costs to set up your own shop.. (And other similar reference links)

This is probably on the expensive end of things since it is a crowded airport, cost overruns (which seem to be standard), and the fact all the gates were built for large aircraft like the A380/B777/B747 etc.

Atlanta's new international terminal with 12 new gates (plus customs, etc):

Terminal and concourse structures, people mover tunnels to connect to rest of airport: $817,227,958
Expansion of Concourse E central expansion for heating/cooling for international terminal: $5,049,056
People mover system expansion:  $65,510,514
Pavement surrounding Concourse F and aircraft fueling system at gates: $103,339,936
Underground utilities and fill to prepare site and bring to airport elevation: $100,039,308
Terminal roadways/Maynard H. Jackson Boulevard: $102,753,501
Commercial vehicle hold lot: $8,855,581
Hourly parking structure: $32,089,558
Interstate signs: $11,798,592
Relocation of groundwater monitoring wells to enable roadway construction: $925,505
Georgia Power substation relocation: $32,485,180
Relocation of airfield site utilities and other infrastructure surround the international terminal site: $47,901,274
Relocation of the US Post Office, demolition of old cargo facilities, replace Delta parking area taken for roadway construction: $60,536,823
Total: $1,388,512,785.
Management reserve: $25,000,000
Total costs: $1,413,512,785

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/the-new-international-terminal-what-cost-so-much/nQTq3/
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: LemonButt on October 15, 2013, 11:59:57 PM
I'd be happy if someone can dig up some terminal building costs from news etc.. To get a rough idea how much it costs to set up your own shop.. (And other similar reference links)

On the low end, Duluth, MN had the most pathetic airport I've ever been in--I've seen bus stops more complicated.  They recently (2013) built a new terminal in Duluth at a cost of $78 million, and it was a really cheap/easy place to put a new terminal relative to bigger cities.  I believe they only have 4 gates with seating for 400, so that comes out to ~$20 million per gate compared to Atlanta's ~$115 million per gate.

http://www.duluthairport.com/news-expansion-landing.php
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Infinity on October 25, 2013, 08:55:09 PM
While I like some - or for that matter, most - of the more elaborate proposals in this thread, I think that the most important thing is getting to the core of it:
Change the game in such a way that makes it irrelevant WHEN I spend my time with it. The way it is now, it's the largest lowlife winning. I always deemed myself in a pretty good position to win in that system, having the privilege of having a computer nearby most of the day and being able to pause work whenever I please. Well, I have been proven wrong. Even with those generous prereqs, I am currently learning, you can lose to someone who really subordinates his entire life to the game. It becomes comical when just that same person PMs you, accusing you of being a borg that's online 24/7, but that's another story.

Please excuse that little personal rant. Now to get down to the core of my post.

We need a system that gives equal chances to everyone, wether he spends his daily playtime in one sitting in the evening or in many small increments throughout the day.
This is more important than anything else. We need this change and we need it fast, well as fast as it can be done: ready for the next game world. I personally won't play another one with the current system. It's just degrading.

So, with all those great proposals here, I would like to appeal to sami to consider truthfully what's in his power to achieve until the next game starts and not get lost in the - as I can't emphasize enough, mostly great - proposals in here.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: brique on October 25, 2013, 09:38:13 PM
Looking through wiki for some data on terminal costs, etc : which is so complex it hurts the brain : partly cos some are new build on virgin soil, others are rebuilds, some extensions, some involve complete relocations of whole chunks of airport infrastructure, such as control towers.. in the end the actual cost of the building is lost in the overall cost figure announced.. which may not be accurate anyway.

far as I can tell, your bog standard terminal/or terminal exansion seems to come in at around $20-25mil per gate : your all-singing all A380-dancing Dreamliner-capable state-of-the-art uberterminal comes in at the $4bil+ mark. Frankly, where everything sits in the middle is anyone's guess.

there was one useful illustration found : its wiki commons so no copyright :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Terminal-Configurations.png

maybe that provides a template that can be worked up to give a decent spread of terminal types/capacities, with the 'cost' calculated more for the benefit of game-play than as a totally accurate reflection of real world figures?
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: Sami on October 25, 2013, 09:55:48 PM
yes, just looking for some ballpark figures to base it on eventually.
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: ZombieSlayer on October 25, 2013, 10:09:14 PM
yes, just looking for some ballpark figures to base it on eventually.

IMO, a good way around the complexity of the cost of a terminal is to increase the base cost with each new terminal built. Trying to figure out what airports are land locked, which are in areas with high land values, etc would be way too much work...

Don
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JumboShrimp on October 29, 2013, 08:59:40 PM
Looks like the temporary solution of just adding more slots (seems like back to MT5-MT6 level, reversing the reduction of MT7-MT8) is already helping quite a lot.  It seems that less than handful of airports are out of slots (unlike tens of airports that were out of slots prior to the increase).

IMO, there is no need for any restriction / caps / regulation.  All that is needed is for the slot counts at the airports being able to serve the demand of the airport.  LHR is still way out of line in this regard and maybe a couple of more airports ...
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: JJP on October 15, 2015, 08:59:37 PM
I am very intrigued by this and am curious if this is still on the "to do" list.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Slots - the final solution
Post by: tise1983 on October 27, 2015, 02:49:30 AM
I am new to the game, but I am amazed at how the slots do not increase exponentially...Meaning For every new slot you buy at say ZBAA the slot cost does not go way up, say the first slot costs 200K, the next one 300K, the next one 450K, the next one 625K...or something...I keep thinking in GW#$ we have it bad at ZBAA and then I look at Heath-row, and ZBAA looks promising!

You could also put a limiter on the number of slots you can buy...Say at heavy traffic airports you cannot buy more then 10% of the slots in a given hour or Half-hour, that would allow larger airports to be Hubs instead of HQ's...And say at smaller Airports players could purchase 75-80% of the Slots, and these would be HQ airports...

Like Little Rock could be an HQ and Atlanta would be a hub...And you could vary this by the current sizes of airports we have now...Like a level 5 Airports 20% slot per player per half-hour, Level 4 airport - 40% slots per player per half-hour, Level 3 Airport 75% slots per player per half-hour, and Level 2&1 90-100% slots available to whoever wants it.

But really this wouldst work either...I have just thought to myself maybe a terminal system may work, and I was trying to make an argument against it...BLAH