Part 9: - Spreading Our Wings1956 - Spreading Our Wings
First things first, we waste no more time crying over spent millions in venture capital and send Igor to finalize negotiations with Rome. Unfortunately, our hesitation is going to cost us a little more.
The tourism boom has temporarily inflated the cost of development in the city. Waiting until the bubble bursts could save us the cost of opening another route, but would also mean turns not spent digging in and locking horns with our enemies in the Euro-Aero-Market. No more waiting.
Well, the three months it takes to sort out the deal. We wait for that. Then no more.
To take advantage of that Bubble, I put our idle DC6s into action. Together, they can take up all the time we have in Rome.
Speaking of using slots weve already paid for, we open service to India and Egypt. From our other mideast routes we already know that cities with their stats can fill several IL14s, so I dont hesitate to use our time.
It appears I oversold the immediate effects of friendship. Theres other factors which influence bid volume and time taken. Cindys effort is limited to 5 slots in 6 months. Your first step into a new city will be slow going, then it picks up speed.
Veronicas mission to Hong Kong is much the same.
Dammit, Jerry, you had one job!
The whole of Australia is Unfriendly with us. This slows negotiations and drives up the cost of business. Unless we get a chance to correct that, buying in over here is simply not worth our time.
Back in Rome, the tourism boom is also driving prices up. Fortunately, thats temporary, so well have a chance to nail things down after the market cools.
After all that time in Egypt, Jerry has come to appreciate that some things belong in museums.
And nothing of value is lost
The Peoples Airline finally takes action. Bids in Rome, Cairo, Tehran and Madrid.
And use of Tupolevs.
Rome continues to buzz.
Aside, Moscow becomes the first airport to expand. They add 26 new slots.
We continue to grow, holding on to second place in revenue and profit and taking the lead in passengers. Side business is stagnating a bit.
Tunis strikes out on its own. Their new regime is friendly with us.
Conair does more bidding in Japan and buys a lot of planes.
Murica fans out into LA and Mexico, and gets their hub down in London. Every enemy airline has now bid in Tehran. Our home city will become the nexus of all air travel in the middle east.
Our hub goes live. We also claim our Slots and Museum in London.
This is Tehran-Rome on Tourism. Thats 3.5 flights worth of passengers so I recall one plane, dropping the route to 3 flights, and dial up a price a smidge. That should pay out about the same, and frees up a DC6 to head for London.
Good opening quarters from our new mideast routes. Fares are adjusted and another plane assigned to use Bombays remaining slots.
And a lesson that some things arent worth flying for.
Construction is underway in Tehran. Well see whos first to claim those new slots in 1958.
Now that weve set up shop there, the Italians are happy to shower Igor is all the finest contracts. 6 Months well spent.
Time to start paying back that bribe.
Japan doesnt like us, putting them near the back of the line for our advance into Asia.
China is more approachable, and the local British colonies have decent stats. Theyll make fine additions to our network.
AirMarx continues its shaky start.
This harmful event befalls us. Its hard to track down the exact effects, but appears to simply spike our expenses for the quarter. They become more common if you cut back on repair funding.
Rome continues to crawl with tourists.
Revenue continues to grow, though margins are slim. AirMurica scrapes ahead of us by few passengers.
ConAir arrives in our Airspace, digs into their home, and sets up their Australian hub.
The Americans settle into Europe.
Exactly what they need to counteract the financial hemorrhaging brought on by Tupolevs - Swiss Busses!
The gates of the East are open to us.
Rome underperformed vs its last turn, though it still brought in a lot of extra fares. Expecting that the tourism boom wont last much longer, I recall a plane to send to Hong Kong. This time, we do not hesitate to lock in our claim. Note that, now that were in contact with hostile routes, we can compare their stats directly on when configuring our own.
An extra DC6 is ordered in anticipation of future routes.
I also discover the limits of our original local routes. This is about how much we can expect them to earn until competition drives our prices down.
Planes well spent.
This war will inflict some harsh penalties on Cairo and, while established air routes will continue to fly, all negotiations there are shut down until it ends.
And another of these eats into our profit margins.
The 1956 Olympics occur without us. While the plan to sneak a hotel in there was a clever idea, Australias hostile attitude would have made it terribly overpriced. Our agents time was better spent on expanding our network.
We really feel the end of Romes tourism boom, and are squeezed tight by that breakdown, but once you set aside that spike were still climbing from where we were at the start of the year. AirMurica continues to dominate the charts, but were maintaining second place ahead of ConAir.
Blue links Athens, bids in Paris, and develops South America.
Black links into more of Japan, then bids in London and Bombay.
Rome, Tehran, and Madrid are linked to Moscow. Theyve run out of Tupolevs and been forced to deploy IL14s, so some of those routes will manage to stay in the black. They bid in Algeria, Vienna, and Lagos.
Were starting to look respectable on the big board.
Our bid was not entirely successful. These things can happen. Still, theyre enough to max out our current space in London while leaving 4 more to dabble elsewhere. Were not even close to maxed out here either, so another round may get results down the line.
Surprisingly, the war isnt hurting our business in Egypt. This is quite fortunate for us, as while this wars start date corresponds with the Suez Crisis, it does not have a scripted end date and can last for several turns.
Its nice to know they wont let a little invasion get in the way of expanding their airport. Once the fighting stops the Aero-Battle for those time-slots can begin.
Our Mid/Far East route is outperforming ConAirs, moving more people at higher prices on a less expensive plane. I keep pressure on them by cutting prices deeper.
And our India route breaks one million in quarterly sales.
Berlin should manage even better.
More bidding in our new hub. Three months for five slots will make us ready to connect Beijing next turn. The ones we have now open an IL14 route to Kuala Lumpur.
With the tourism bubble over, we snag the biggest hotel in Italy.
The war continues as we close out the year. Egyptian airports continue to give no fucks.
And people fall in love with New Zealand.
Days without spontaneous combustion of aircraft: 84
A much better turn. Profits exceeded the height of Roman tourism boom, confirming that we are continuing to grow.
1956 Year End Review
Things this year ran pretty tight. Margins were slim, cash was drained, side-business is stagnating, and some of our plans were disrupted by our first brush with hostile territory.
On the upside, weve staked out claims in powerful cities in Rome and Asia, put most our planes to work on profitable routes, (Islamabad :arrr:) and show ourselves capable of making money while competing with our rivals. We also have a feel for how much business a small city can handle, so less time will be wasted fishing around for the best route schedules.
Our current position is a natural consequence of how Aerobiz is structured. We begin with a lot of cash, very few assets, and a system which limits how quickly we can turn one into the other. The early game is a frenzy of purchasing where everyone scrambles to assemble an income stream. That well will soon run dry, and well transition to fine tuning our existing network to squeeze as much out of it as possible while carefully choosing which cities are best to expand into. Our largest expenses have always been startup costs. Compared to the price of launching a new route, adding more planes and flights to existing connections is pocket change. A major turning point will come about five to ten years into the game, when our routes finish paying back their startup costs.
Our enemies are an odd mix. ConAir is our nearest rival. Our ability to stay slightly ahead of them can likely trace back to the savings from our IL14s vs their preference for fewer flights with bigger American planes. Theyre also backed into a corner geographically. Trans-pacific flights wont be very feasible for quite a while, (The nearest possible link there is Vancouver to Tokyo at 4750 miles) so ConAir has to go through us to reach most of the world.
AirMarx is a big of a joke. Handicapped by the AIs inability to grasp that the Tupolev is not a good plane, theyve only managed to start profitable air routes when forced to deploy their own IL14s. They have enough cash on hand to make a recovery with some good plays, but for now they are decidedly not a threat.
AirMurica will be a challenge. Theyve made good use of their starting advantages, maintaining a strong lead in earnings since they started flying. Its a lead well have a hard time contesting until were able to slip in and compete directly with their home markets. Our strong start in Europe will help get us there, but it will be an uphill battle. The USA itself is unfriendly to us. Every city in North America will be an unpleasant and overpriced slog to acquire assets in. Well need a presence there to win, but barring another government contract theres little chance itll be a region we dominate. (Canada Doesnt like us either)
Stagnation has set in on the business front. Our early buys are running on tight margins, often barely breaking even or even posting losses over the course of the year. Our younger ones are doing well in their first turns, but theres no telling if the rot will settle in for them as well.
We have a counter to this - Marketing.
An Ad campaign targets a region and a category of business. We take an agent, hand them a budget, and put them into action. If they succeed, the target businesses receive a boost in performance for some time. The base cost scales with the count and quality of your assets, and we can spend anywhere from half to four times that number to adjust the odds. As you can see, the stakes are quite low with our current level of business holdings, so an experiment may be in order.
With $190 million left to throw on the table, we should select our next routes carefully. Here is a selection of stats for some cities not yet in our network.
At home, we have a lot of proven low-volume routes powered by our IL14s. (And one barely-solvent monument to failure) Any extensive projects here must wait until Terhan expands, but we have a few extra slots to throw around until then. We could bid for more time on the routes we already hold, or open a link to somewhere fresh.
Once the war ends in Africa, There are a few IL-Grade possibilities we could hook into. Note our good relations with the remaining British colonies, and with newly independent Tunisia. Note also that some of these cities are garbage.
City Rlt. Pop Ecn Trs ---- ---- --- --- --- New Delhi Blue 3.6 10 16 Calcutta Blue 2.4 16 16 Karachi Blue 3.7 19 8
Almost any move in Europe is a safe bet. Everyone around is at least OK with us, (with the lone exception of an unfriendly West Germany) has decent stats and population, and are gathered nice and close together. Note that Athens is unusually large, most likely the result of a typo as thats over ten times its historical population.
City Rlt. Pop Ecn Trs ---- ---- --- --- --- Lagos Green 2.1 14 8 Algiers Blue 1.2 26 14 A. Abaaba Blue 1.0 1 6 Nairobi Green 0.6 8 15 Tripoli Blue 0.6 19 5 Tunis Green 0.5 10 20
Asia appears to have come with borders pre-drawn between us and ConAir. Theyve made most of their business in Japan, which is unfriendly to us, and have largely avoided business anywhere else. Most of the rest is neutral to us, with the exception of the British colonies weve already connected.
City Rlt. Pop Ecn Trs ---- ---- --- --- --- Athens Blue 7.2 44 46 Madrid Blue 2.5 36 36 Paris Blue 1.8 40 55 Barcelona Blue 1.4 27 32 Vienna Blue 1.2 40 42
As for breaking new grounds, were starting to hit some limits.
City Rlt. Pop Ecn Trs ---- ---- --- --- --- Shanghai Blue 9.3 25 22 Bangkok Blue 5.0 16 33 Seoul Blue 4.0 16 8 Taipei Blue 2.0 33 18 Singapore Green 1.4 20 27 Manilla Blue 1.3 14 16
With present aircraft technology, North America is just within reach of an L1049. Washington is 4500 Miles from Rome and and has stats in the 40s. Though on the low side for population, its about as good as we could get until ranges get a lot better. Our only other option there is to dive into New York. Wed then be free to slog our way into business with more decent cities which despise us.
On the upswing, wed be in position to rebound into South America. All the latin nations are neutral to us, and British Kingston has a serviceable 10/22 rating. The downside to South America is that the region is quite wide, with its potential hubs on opposite edges. (4000 Miles from Havana to Sao Paulo!) Any of them could be reached from a base in Washington, but in choosing one we decide between the clusters of Mexico, Jamaica, and Cuba, or Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Close service to one, long haul to the other. (Perus about equidistant between them)
City Rlt. Pop Ecn Trs ---- ---- --- --- --- Washington Orange 0.4 46 40 Los Angeles Orange 2.4 44 48 Chicago Orange 2.2 48 35 Houston Orange 1.2 42 24 Philidelphia Orange 1.2 42 24
Oceania presents a sort of America Lite. Its a long haul from Hong Kong to Australia. We could DC6 to Perth or L1049 to Sydney, from which wed be in reach of a bunch of decent but unfriendly cities. New Zealand is out of the question for a hub at 6000 miles from HK. The only neutral/friendly ground in the region are a handful of tiny islands.
City Rlt. Pop Ecn Trs ---- ---- --- --- --- Sao Paulo* Blue 6.8 16 9 Mexico City* Blue 5.4 28 29 Rio de Janeiro Blue 3.8 27 18 Santiago Blue 3.3 28 8 Lima Blue 2.4 26 8 Bueanos Aires Blue 2.0 22 15 Havana* Blue 1.4 14 12 Kingston Green 0.4 10 20 *Hub Candidate
With this in mind, Build our plan for 1957
City Rlt. Pop Ecn Trs ---- ---- --- --- --- Sydney* Orange 2.8 34 17 Melbourne Orange 2.4 44 17 Brisbane Orange 0.9 36 22 Perth* Orange 0.8 18 20 Adelaide Orange 0.8 28 25 Nandi Green 0.1 1 8 Papeete Blue 0.1 1 14 Noumea Blue 0.1 2 7 Auckland* Orange 0.1 15 29 *Hub Candidate