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CHR · 31 · 20031

CHR

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on: March 08, 2009, 10:10:44 am
I have noticed that the same questions seem to keep on getting asked about game strategy. As a result, I thought it would be a good idea to make a frequently asked questions spot, to make it easier for people to understand the basics of AM. It might be better under the game manual, but for now I guess we can just put suggestions here and I could update this first post.

Flight Frequencies
What is the most profitable frequency?
That is a bit of a trick question. Almost always, putting another flight on the same route (multifrequency) will make you more profit on that route. However, this is often only by a small amount. You can usually make more profit by doing two flights to different cities rather than two flights to one city. For example, you might make $50,000 on a 1x flight or $65,000 on a 2x flight. If you were to do a 1x and another 1x, you could make $100,000. This logic can be extended to 0.5x flights, which will make more money per hour than 1x frequency flights.
You can make more money on a specific route (pair of cities) by flying higher frequencies, but you can make more profit with the aircraft by flying less frequencies (considering that more frequencies uses up more time).

How do 0.5 frequency flights work?
This should how 0.5 routes work.
Take this example, each letter is an airport:
Day One  
A>B
B>C
C>B
B>D
D>B
B>E
Day Two (reverse)  
E>B
B>D
D>B
B>C
C>B
B>A

You can see the daily frequencies are:
B A - 0.5
B C - 1
B D - 1
B E - 0.5

You can see in the above example that the plane is based at hub B. Because of this, the plane is only able to do 2 x 0.5 flights per day, one at the beginning and one at the end. In the next example, you will see that it is possible to do more than two 0.5 flights per day, however this requires flying between different bases. Basically, if you can work out a way for a plane to fly the frequencies you have specified without teleporting, it is should work.

You can also use 0.5 frequencies to go one-way between places:
Day One  
A>B
B>C
C>D
Day Two (reverse)  
D>C
C>B
B>A

The daily frequencies are 0.5 for each route (A B, B C, C D).

Planes
What planes are the most profitable?
There is no most profitable plane.
Each plane has lots of variables, all of which affect the price.
You should try and find the best plane for you.
For example, there is no need to have a plane capable of going 6000nm to do short domestic flights. The extra range will increase the plane's cost. Try to find something with less range.
Remember, the very large planes in AM are not profitable. Things like 747s, MD-11s and A340s will often cost more in maintenance than you will make back in tickets.

How important are: speed, number of seats, age, fuel usage?
The speed of an aircraft will slightly affect the fare you can charge I believe, however this is minimal. However, be aware that a faster aircraft can do more routes per day.

More seats will mean you make more money, however it becomes increasingly less profitable to use larger aircraft. The optimal number of seats will depend on the route itself. To put it in another way, number of seats corresponds directly to price of aircraft, however profit slows down in its increase, so that at high seat levels, little extra money is made over lower seat levels (this can in fact be less profitable due to the increased running costs). It is difficult to make a generalisation about the correct number of seats.

Old planes require much costlier maintenance. These costs far outweigh the initial purchase costs. Older second hand planes (as in more than a few years) are only useful to small airlines who intend to replace them fairly soon. The discounts you get will be far less than the extra costs from maintenance.

Regarding fuel costs, don't worry too much about them. Most of the time fuel is not a very big expense. For example, in a world currently in 2005, fuel only makes up around 7% of my costs (despite having a new fleet, average age 1.3 years, maintenance is 40%), indeed fuel is the second smallest of all the costs, behind staff expenses.

See also: The AM Wiki

Maintenance
Maintenance is one of the biggest costs for airlines, and is something players need to consider carefully when buying aircraft.
Does fleet commonality affect maintenance?
No. At the moment, having a more of the same aircraft type or from the same manufacturer does not make maintaining aircraft any cheaper.

What does affect maintenance then?
There are two factors which affect maintenance, the first is the aircraft's value. More expensive planes (which are generally the bigger, more complex planes) cost more to maintain. The second factor is aircraft age. Older aircraft cost more to maintain. Although you can see how many hours and cycles (flights) a plane has done, these are not currently factored into maintenance costs. Generally, it is recommended to replace planes after 3 or so years. Note that you will have almost certainly made up the value of the aircraft a few times over in ticket revenue by this point.

Maintenance brings up to important tips for new players. Firstly, as mentioned above, big planes aren't profitable. Even if you make a profit on a route (which it is difficult not to), you must consider the cost of maintenance. This is often higher than the total profit of a large aircraft doing long haul flights. To avoid very high maintenance fees, it is vital that you regularly replace these aircraft, however as they are so expensive, they will usually not have made up their value in ticket revenue.
The second point in regards to maintenance is the purchase of cheap used aircraft. When planes become so old that maintenance gets too costly, airlines will often dump their aircraft onto the used market. Remember, airlines are usually dumping these planes because they have become so old that they are unprofitable. This is not to say the aircraft market is useless, airlines can often buy small aircraft which are being phased out by large airlines, however, it is recommended that you do not buy large planes which are being retired because of the high maintenance costs.

Terminals
What are the advantages/disadvantages of building a terminal?
Terminals allow your airline to build its own gates at an airport.
Problems
  • High up front cost (about 7 times the rental fee per gate)
  • Need to build a minimum of five gates
  • If you build 10 gates at once, one rented gate is returned (freeing it up for competition)
  • You can't rent any more gates
Advantages
  • You can build unlimited gates
  • The maintenance of the terminal is 75% of the normal gate rental fee

When is a good time to purchase gates?
The most important thing to remember about building gates is that you will not be able to rent any more gates at that airport. This has two consequences: firstly, you will have to pay the large up front fee for every new gate you require; and secondly, although you can normally go into debt when renting gates, you will no longer be able to do this at your hub (as you are buying, not renting, gates).

Firstly, the really easy reasons: lack of gates to rent. There is going to be a lack of gates for two reasons: either you have reached the 25 gate cap (you may only rent 25 gates at one airport), or there are no more gates available for rent (they have all been taken). In these situations, you may consider ceasing your expansion and moving to another base or you could simply build some gates.

Secondly, to save money. Building gates will save you money in the long term. The cost of building a gate is around 7 times the monthly lease cost of the gate. However, you get 25% off the leasing fee if you build a gate. After some simple maths, we see that you will recoup the cost in around 28 months, or 2 years, 4 months. However, this does not mean you should purchase gates immediately. Although you can save a little money by purchasing gates, you will usually be able to make more money by purchasing an aircraft and putting it on some routes. The money you will make (or save) relative to the cost of the gates is quite low. That said, if you have a surplus of money (i.e. you can buy more planes than you can put on routes), you might as well build some gates, and use that money to save you some more.

On the issue of the returning 1 in 10 gates, there is a quite simple solution. This only applies when you buy 10 gates at once. Simply buy up to 9 gates at a time, and you will not have to return any.

See also: The AM Wiki

Alliances
What do I get from being in an alliance?
Alliances in Airline Mogul are slightly different to the real world, providing a number of benefits to players, although different alliances will offer different things. You should check the Alliance section on the in game message board or on this forum for information on alliances.
Note: when you see the number of alliance routes allowed per base this is not per airline, but rather as a total for all the airlines in the alliance. If all the slots are taken, you will not be able to fly from the airport. It will not, however, count as an alliance flight if you already have your own base in that airport.

Pros
  • You can fly out of other member's bases
  • You can get discounted planes or brokerage from other members
  • No/less competition from other members
  • Help if you run into financial problems
Cons
  • Other people can fly out of your bases
  • You may be limited in the bases you can choose

There are really two broad sorts of alliances, open alliances and closed alliances.
Open alliances are characterised by being open to anyone, having high numbers of alliance flights allowed and usually having many members.
Pros: Easy to join, more alliance bases to fly from
Cons: Little help or protection, more people flying from your bases, less slots available at big airports (as other members uses them)

Closed alliances are characterised by only allowing certain people in and usually having less members.
Pros: Often more help/protection, less alliance flights from your bases, more slots available at big airports
Cons: Less alliance bases, more restrictions on bases/flights

Here is a quick summary to things to consider when choosing an alliance:
Will they accept me? If I need to change my plans, is it worth it?
How many alliance routes do they allow from each airport?
What alliances bases do they have?
How many airlines are there? (Remember: more airlines means potentially more people using up the alliance route allowance per airport)
What protection/help will they offer me? (Stop alliance members going into your bases, cheap planes, help during financial trouble etc.)

See also: The AM Wiki

Leasing and Brokerage
Why should I lease or broker planes?
Leasing and brokerage are often dismissed by players as not worth the effort, and as being only beneficial to the person leasing/brokering the plane. However, used correctly, these can make money for everyone involved. The first thing that must be realised by new players is that large airlines reach a point where they make so much money that they can purchase so many planes that they do not have time to put them on routes. This means large airlines often have billions of Euros sitting in a bank. While both brokering and leasing cost a significant amount of money (and make little profit for investment, relative to putting planes on routes), they still make some profit, and make for a bit of variety in the game.

Leasing
Pros: get expensive aircraft without buying them, don't pay maintenance
Cons: you soon pay more than the value of the aircraft

Brokering
Pros: order aircraft sooner
Cons: pay a mark up

Leasing is quite a simple concept. As a small airline, you can get either more planes or bigger planes than you would be able to otherwise afford. To work out if a lease is going to make profit, simply multiply your daily revenue for an aircraft by 24 (the number of days in an AM month). Unless leases are ridiculously expensive, you can usually expect to make profit. Remember, because the customer does not pay maintenance, you save quite a lot of the "hidden costs" in AM. If you see the aircraft profit is higher than the lease cost, you are probably making money. To lease, just go to the Aircraft Market and browse the available leases.

Brokering is far more complex to understand how one makes money from them. To explain this, one must have a brief overview of the AM brokerage system. Very simply, brokerage is getting someone else to buy your plane and then sell it to your when it is built. In AM, the system is automated. When you submit a brokerage request, you pay 1/3 of the aircraft cost. If the broker accepts, they pay the remaining 2/3 of the aircraft cost and construction begins. The actual process of brokering is quite simple. Where you would normally use the drop down box under "Purchase Aircraft" to buy planes, just use the "Request Aircraft" drop down box. It is relatively simple from then on. Once built, you have a few months to buy the plane. If you do not buy the plane, the broker keeps it and your initial payment.

How does this benefit the customer? You only need 1/3 of the aircraft value to begin construction. This means you can commence construction earlier and have the aircraft built by the time you acquire the remaining 2/3. This means you get the plane flying earlier and making money earlier. Basically, you make money. Similarly, if you have enough money for one plane, you could order three for the same price.
How does it benefit the broker? They charge you a small markup, usually a few percent of the aircraft value. This may seem like a lot, but when you consider you could get a plane a month earlier, you realise that the extra ticket revenue will outweigh this. Do a calculation, work out how much earlier you can get your plane, then work out how much money you expect the plane to make in this time. If you stand to make more money, brokerage will be helpful.

Official brokers
The official brokers in Airline Mogul get planes at a discount when they broker aircraft for others. This means that, instead of marking up the price, they often mark down the price. Here, you not only get the advantages of regular brokerage but can also pay less than you would normally. Unless you are very lucky, official brokers will usually only be found in Public Worlds. They have their own board on the forum, check there for more details.

See also: The AM Wiki (Brokering)

Bases
What is the best airport to base in?
It really depends how you play and where other people are based.
There are three major factors I would consider in choosing a base: number of passengers (more being better), number of near by airports (more being better) and competition (less being better).
Competition can be gaged roughly by how many people are based in a certain city. Naturally the more desirable airports will have more competition, however, you may be able to find one with a good balance of the two. You can see how much competition is at an airport using the View Airport page and seeing how many airlines have a large number from flights from there.

The largest airports, particularly early in the game, will usually make you more money - allowing you to expand quicker, but require more route editing to do so (due to increased competition). Smaller airports (say in Europe or America, outside the top 10) will often have a few, or even no competitors, but still allow good profits.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 09:47:22 am by CHR »


gisa

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Reply #1 on: March 09, 2009, 04:09:17 am
Excellent tips.  Perhaps a mod could make this a sticky?

CHR, would you be so kind as to explain why a plane can only have a maximum of 2 .5 frequencies?  It might come in handy for some other people...

 8)

Mr Gisa ^^
Gisa Airlines: Gateway Into South Africa!
Sky Knights: The sky is the bottom limit!



CHR

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Reply #2 on: March 09, 2009, 07:52:13 am
I added some info to the flight frequencies info and about maintenance.


gisa

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Reply #3 on: March 09, 2009, 11:38:19 am
Great and thanks for the explanation!  It actually helped me out a bit.  I bet that the .5 frequencies only (if set up properly) is very wise when it comes to the big planes...

8)

Gisa ^^
Gisa Airlines: Gateway Into South Africa!
Sky Knights: The sky is the bottom limit!



StephenM

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Reply #4 on: March 09, 2009, 02:51:50 pm
On initial glance it looks quite good, but I have yet to read the detail in it.

Topic sticked anyway!
Stephen Murphy
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pseudoswede

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Reply #5 on: March 09, 2009, 03:59:25 pm
CHR, would you be so kind as to explain why a plane can only have a maximum of 2 .5 frequencies?  It might come in handy for some other people...

It's logical when you think about it.

Before this was implemented, your plane could fly nothing but 0.5 flights, which made zero sense, but it brought immense profit to your airline.

That said, you could in theory, do a circular route with 0.5 flights to all of your focus cities if you want.
             
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Opinions expressed in my posts are suggestions to achieve maximum airline value and top rankings.
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trimotor43

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Reply #6 on: March 09, 2009, 04:26:10 pm
Quote
Remember, the very large planes in AM are not profitable. Things like 747s, MD-11s and A340s will often cost more in maintenance than you will make back in tickets.

You guys are working on a fix for this aren't you? In the real world, economies of scale make these types of aircraft extremely profitable, though airlines must be careful when and how they use them and of course they put a limit on the numbers that they own. An example would be that 747's and A380's make the most profit on trans-pacific routes, and are less profitable on trans-atlantic where A340's and 777's tend to be profitable.


skywaker9

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Reply #7 on: March 09, 2009, 06:02:10 pm
Quote
Remember, the very large planes in AM are not profitable. Things like 747s, MD-11s and A340s will often cost more in maintenance than you will make back in tickets.

You guys are working on a fix for this aren't you? In the real world, economies of scale make these types of aircraft extremely profitable, though airlines must be careful when and how they use them and of course they put a limit on the numbers that they own. An example would be that 747's and A380's make the most profit on trans-pacific routes, and are less profitable on trans-atlantic where A340's and 777's tend to be profitable.

Yeah well that is because they make mucho $ on first/business class fares.  Since AM doesn't have those, we have no luxury...


trimotor43

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Reply #8 on: March 10, 2009, 06:07:30 am
Just a guess but it might be that the game allows to many of those types of aircraft. Once they get order staggering figured out and maybe increase the cost and length of production of the really big jets it might reduce their numbers. Order staggering might also help in reducing the frequency of people buying 30 planes and dumping them on the used market right away. Hopefully it won't take very long to figure out.


CHR

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Reply #9 on: March 11, 2009, 02:03:02 pm
Added section on terminals. If anyone has suggestions/tips, please give them and I can put them in the first post.


pseudoswede

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Reply #10 on: March 11, 2009, 04:23:43 pm
I personally this all needs to go into the Wiki, with links to said-subjects.
             
Planet Express Airways
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Opinions expressed in my posts are suggestions to achieve maximum airline value and top rankings.
If you do not wish for either, then feel free to ignore.


CHR

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Reply #11 on: March 11, 2009, 07:52:43 pm
I was thinking about putting it the wiki, however it seems that many people don't look at the wiki before asking questions on the forum, as the answers can often be found there.
I am also unsure as to what qualifies for the wiki. I was under the impression that the wiki was more for facts (such as "The maintenance for a terminal is 75% of gate rental") as opposed to what are essentially my opinions (such as "You might be better off buying aircraft rather than terminal gates if you don't need the gates right now.").
That said, if people feel that anything here would be useful on the wiki, feel free to put it on there. I might try to put in some links to the wiki later on, that may get more people reading it.


gisa

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Reply #12 on: March 12, 2009, 11:22:45 am
As a quasi-newbie myself, may I suggest a few more sections?

- The administration tab: didn't know it existed for a week after I joined.  :roll:  It then took me a few more days to realize I could get away for charging for things like food and alcohol.
- I just figured out today (3.5 weeks later) that in the research route tab, you can actually click on the planes that can make the route to see some of their stats,
- An explanation of the pros/cons of an alliance would be useful for newcomers.
- Loaning planes and brokers.  I am still a tad hazy on the latter.

That's all I can think of for now.  This post is very very useful and I hope it helps out others as much as possible!

Keep up the great work!

8)

Gisa ^^
Gisa Airlines: Gateway Into South Africa!
Sky Knights: The sky is the bottom limit!



dktc

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Reply #13 on: March 13, 2009, 04:07:08 am
I was thinking about putting it the wiki, however it seems that many people don't look at the wiki before asking questions on the forum, as the answers can often be found there.

People don't even look at the forum before posting ;)
D Express (id 616) 8)
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CHR

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Reply #14 on: March 14, 2009, 10:39:07 am
I added a quick overview of "Alliances" and "Leasing and Brokerage". They do not so much explain how to do it as why one would do it.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 10:41:54 am by CHR »


 

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