Part 6: - The Year We Get Airborne1955 - The Year We Get Airborne
With a plan in place, lets take off where we left off.
First, we get some business in the air by opening our first routes. Starting a new route requires an open slot in a hub, a slot in the destination, and a free plane with enough enough range to make the flight.
It also carries a startup cost determined by a mix of the size of the city and the distance flown.
For this route I assign one of our IL14s. Baghdad is close enough that one plane can handle up to 7 flights per week on its own. More than enough for the slots we have, and it leaves room to grow if the route proves successful. To start, Ill assign one flight per week at the base fare. Next turn, well get to see how it performs and adjust things appropriately.
Once thats all arranged, we launch.
I set up the same test-route with Tashkent. Note how the greater distance means the IL14 can only pull 5 runs a week. Still enough for now, but well need more planes, or bigger planes, if we plan to scale up the route beyond our current holdings.
Now, on to aggression. Were sending Igor to Rome.
Bidding is pretty straightforward. You send an agent to a city, tell them how much time to buy, and when negotiations finish you get the slots. While negotiations are underway we must pay an upkeep fee. Relations affect the cost of bidding two ways - speed and volume. Good relations make negotiations clear faster, and increase how many slots you can buy in one go. Less time spent at the table and fewer trips to hit your quota.
I prefer to bid for as many slots as possible on each trip, unless I know in advance exactly how many Ill need. If you end up with extra, giving them back is easy. If youre left wanting more, it means more time and money.
I put Jerry in charge of the African front. Hell spend the next 9 months in Egypt. I have every confidence that he will present our interests in a concise and professional manner.
Meanwhile, Cindy will spend just as long establishing contact in India. Youd think shed be the one to stick around the home office instead of darting off on foreign ventures.
It is claimed.
Meanwhile, Steven goes shopping.
Our Tupolevs fetch $9 Million each on the second-hand market. May they find new life powering small villages what that coal furnace they call an engine. McDonnell Douglas is happy to fill the space they leave.
And would you look at that last price tag. With the Tupolevs gone, our fleet is now nothing but Ilyushin products. This is well above the ratio needed to trigger a 10% brand loyalty discount on all their aircraft.
So ends our first turn. Lets see the results.
We post an operating loss, but this is not a bad thing. For one, no one else brought in much revenue on their first turn either.
And for two, most of our expenses were fixed operating costs from sending out our agents. The routes themselves are doing fine, were just not moving enough volume yet for them to cover the rest. I played a very conservative start to test the waters in our area. Once we start expanding our services things will change.
One of AeroBizs scripted events, the olympic games will happen in all the historical times and places known when the game was made. When the games occur, their host city will get a sizable boost to tourism for that turn. These heads-ups give you the chance to make preparations to cash in.
This turn, we get to go first. Turn order shuffles each quarter.
She carries on securing her domain by buying the transit company. It takes 3 months and costs $24 million.
New planes are delivered the turn after theyre purchased. They are welcome additions to our fleet.
Now to check on those test routes.
One flight per week translates to twelve per quarter, which translates to a nice pile of cash for us. The display here, and most others in the game, round to the nearest $10k. The expenses on the flight to Baghdad are so low that the bar rounds down to zero. Once a route is established, you can edit its specs at any time for no cost. Since both of these are thriving, I pump each up to use every slot we have. Next turn, well find out how many people were left waiting.
For comparison, heres the route ConAir set up.
Like us, they started small with one plane and one flight. They also opted for below average fares to encourage demand. As said earlier, the AI prioritizes passengers over profits, so theyll tend to undercharge then work their way up when setting prices. It pays off, and their DC6 feels right at home. That flight also cost them about five times what we payed to fly our two IL14s. Ten to One. That doesnt take into account secondary costs like bidding, slot upkeep, opening fees, and difference in purchasing cost, but it gets the point across - As long as we can find homes for all our little guys, their performance will add up.
The rest of our agents are still busy, so thats our turn 2.
Heres what our opponents got up to.
ConAir orders some larger planes and-
AirMarx remains idle. Theyre negotiating in places which arent fond of the USSR, and probably waiting until those finish to open flights.
Once again M&M think a like. Theyre waiting for London.
Things pay off. Thats a $280K operating profit. Were outperforming ConAir
Meanwhile, AirMurica earns more than than everyone else combined from just their hotel in New York.
The cash reserve jumps around a bit because these finance sheets show you the numbers for a given Quarter's business the turn after it's happened. I then bring them back from the future to present beside their matching end of turn report.
Im sure its nothing to worry about, Jerry. Just keep on that contract.
Once again, we go first. Veronica gets back from buying busses and is reassi-
Stay out of my territory.
Igor returns from Rome with a closed deal for 5 slots, and we get a very special guest.
As decided in a quick emergency meeting, we accept a request from the British government to donate money to a project of theirs. Its an expensive proposition, but brings a powerful effect.
All British cities are now friendly. See how big the deal was in Tehran? Now thats us in London. Thats us in Hong Kong. Thats us getting up in ConAirs business in Singapore. That is the cost of opportunity. Twelve slots in one turn is five to seven times the speed weve been able to expand in neutral cities. With that one bid we maxed our slots in Tehran before Danny Yang had time to hang his coat.
Our added flights all sell out. Theres even more money waiting to be made here. We should continue to grow these routes until we find their limits. Since our agents have more important work than adding slots here, I boost each routes fare by 10%. These fine adjustments are how you squeeze the most Biz out of your Air. Barring specific orders from the shareholders, I will carry these out in the background at my own discretion.
With slots opening up and planes in the hangars, I lanuch some new routes. Rome, because connecting it to our network is the next step in establishing a Euro-hub, and Islamabad because although I expect it wont put out much cash, we already have the slots and passengers are still worth points. May as well find out how many of those five can be put to use.
For reference, all thats left to turn Rome into a hub is to deploy an agent to negotiate for it. This is what it would cost to do that in Rome. It can be done the same turn that you establish the connecting flight, but in light of recent events I chose to hold off for now.
To close things off, Igor pulls some strings back in the motherland to close a deal with the Uzbeks.
On to the opposition.
ConAir hooks up Osaka and Sydney. Theyll be reaping the benefits of all that sports-travel when the Olympics come around. They also bid in Sapporo and Tokyo.
Someone told them theyre running an airline, right?
London to New York to San Francisco, AirMurica now has the widest reach of any airline.
Another helpful event. Tourism booms buff the stats of a random city. They can last several turns.
Were still growing, but slowly. ConAir and AirMurica got more of a boost from their first inter-regionals than we did, though were in position to capitalize on that tourism boom in Rome and stand on the verge of breaking into richer markets. Next year, the true competition begins.
1955 Year End Review
Next turn were going third, so we have a little preview of what our foes are up to.
Buying new L1049s and DC6s, bidding in Cairo, building up London.
Getting ready for the games.
As for us, all of our agents are home. We have our hotel in Tashkent, 5 slots each in Cairo and Bombay, and were maxed out in Tehran.
Our core business is finding its footing and were ready to take our first steps out of the home region. Were keeping some degree of pace with our opposition, only AirMurica is decisively ahead of us and thats largely on the quality of their home base. Once everyone starts spreading out things will get a lot more competitive.
We've spent a whole lot of our starting capital, but that's normal for the early game. Our good routes will pay back their startup costs around the halfway point of the scenario, or sooner if can get them grown and optimized. And that's just from the best we've found out in the Middle East.
And now, we've bought the friendship of the United Kingdom.
In light of that, opening that route to Rome may prove to be a misstep. We can only have one route between a given pair of regions, and London just became really good candidate for our Euro-hub. To connect it, wed have to cancel Tehran-Rome. On the upside, it can pay back some of the loss over the time it would take to get London ready for business.
London is 2750 miles from Tehran, and opening that route would cost $39.4 Million.
Heres how those new routes did on their first turn. Romes performance is a fine use of our DC6, and thats from before the effects of the tourism boom. With a solid foundation of supporting business on either end, it could grow into a hell of a route.
Islamabad is a typical poor third world route. 6 whole people ride this plane each week. If we slash prices we may be able to fill one flight of that IL14, two at best. A way to pad our score and add a little drip of income (half-price still puts us ahead if it brings in 5 times the customers) but it takes a miracle for a spot like this to become anything more.
Meanwhile, Baghdad and Tashkent are still selling out. They may have enough demand to justify more slots for the IL14s, or even handing our current schedules to larger planes.
This meeting is in session, chose our plans for 1956.