Financial Balancing


Before someone says “balancing a game is not something you do during Alpha phase”, be quiet, I’m just trying to help.

Loans can be an effective way to get a large sum of cash but some of the requirements are crazy. See below where the game does not only attempt to charge me a 16% interest rate, but asking me to pay the amount back in 2 days. 2 DAYS. That means I need to earn $7,000 per hour to get the $290,000 and lets be honest, if I could cover $7,000 per hour I could also just wait two in-game days to get the money right?

The loan in question here is the first loan and should apply to starters. Realistically speaking I could probably use $290,000 to generate an income of $1,000 per hour meaning I would need more time to pay back the money. The starter loan should probably be limited to $750 per hour payback and the loan should run for at least 30 days. For the other two loans those numbers could be doubled each step to justify the higher amount. Also, upon immediately repaying the contract, a 15% fine over the remaining amount should be paid.

(Already discussed and adjusted slightly but some maths here). Example, a GA airport starts off with a budget of $500,000. In order to properly generate an income one needs to refuel the aircrafts and that costs $50,000 in research, $25,000 in a depot and $10,000 for 4 fuel trucks totaling to $85,000 for the fuel upgrade. My four trucks also require $50 in upkeep per hour and the depot wants $500 per day totaling to $4,800 upkeep per day. Nature fuel has politely offered to give me a liter of fuel for only $1.97 and the standard game setting sells my fuel at $2 per liter. Aircrafts tend to take about 100 to 200 liters of fuel in my airport giving me a whopping $4.5 profit in fuel per aircraft. Now, I don’t mean to brag but with $4.5 profit per aircraft and $4,800 upkeep, I need to refuel about 1060 aircrafts per day, just to meet upkeep.

Realistically, I want to break even on my investment costs within 20 in-game days at most. 20 days means I want to earn back at total of $9,050 per day. Each plane takes 100 to 200 liters and considering turnarounds seem to take about 4 hours, 10 stands would allow for roughly 40 planes per day. 40 planes per day taking 150 liters on average means a liter of fuel should give $1.5 profit per liter to break even in 20 days.

Besides the price of fuel, upon setting up my airport with my limited $500,000 budget and squeezing in the research and buildings, the arrival of 200,000 liters of fuel at a price of $1.97 means I am presented with a paycheck of $394,000 in instant fuel costs. This issue could be resolved by making smaller fuel depots only holding 15,000 liters, storing enough for 100 flights or alternatively, a system where an airport can pay back over time as the fuel is used up.

Operational costs
The airport in the screenshot has 10 grass stands ($500 per ??), an ATC tower (200 per ??), a fuel and vehicle depot ($500 and $300) and two runways claiming ($750/H). If I count all these up and assume the runways are per day, I get a $312.5 hourly cost. some buildings have no time specifications while the runway has an incorrect specification.

One could say the buildings therefor have a daily upkeep but this is inconsistent with vehicles having an hourly upkeep (one fuel truck is $50 per hour and the map has four running). There should probably be a more consistent unit of time.

Budget overview
The budget history has already be altered to be able to display previous statistics but there are still two issues.

  1. The budget overview should not include construction costs. If my airport makes $10,000 profit per day but I construct a $9,000 building, the game will register that as $1,000 profit. The budget overview is useful when I’m looking to see if I can afford to increase my structural daily expenditure by taking a loan for example but using the construction costs, makes these numbers unusable. Also if a fuel delivery were to arrive that day, I would go massively in the red that day.

  1. The budget overview should keep a small log of details. Currently the budget only shows either total spenditure/income or hourly estimates. When upgrading my fuel system however, I would want to look at a history of specific fuel income over time to determine whether it was worth it. The hourly estimates should also be kept for the overview.

I will update as I play and encounter and feel free to give issues below

Airport CEO Alpha 27.4 Released [Experimental]
  • Loans work fine for me; I always eat small loans by bigger loans, and the moment you have 8 or more medium stands, with shops in terminal, you dont have losses any longer and it is repayed in no-time.

  • The game should not limit my expenses due to contract limitations. Pls allow us to contract several contractors to work on the airport; when you have millions on the bank, and extend the airport with 5000 build actions, you can go shopping in the supermarket before it is finished, pls let us hire more contractors, its our management risk, yes?

  • And whats up with concrete tiles having upkeep costs? Now I just build footpath and mark it secure so nobody walks on it.


The problem with loans is that they only work on a large scale. A loan is not something that is doable if you are playing with a few small stands or GA. There should be loans applicable for all points in the game.


I’d love to have a breakdown as well on the building and item operations value.


Thanks for your detailed feedback. We are closely following the discussion. :slight_smile:


Thanks @RubenGass for bringing this topic up.

What I am missing are some more detailed financial analysis functions.

Some examples:

  • I would like to drill-down to a detailed Profit&Loss statement per flight, or per room where passengers have to pay (e.g. All revenues generated by this flight and all passengers on this flight vs. all costs associated with the flight and all passengers on this flight).
  • When opening the info screen of a building (e.g. fuel depot) I would like to drill-down to a detailed financial overview (e.g. liters sold to flight xyz, liters sold on average per flight, flights handled, quality of service, etc.)
  • On an airline perspective I would like to be able to see how many passengers Airline A has transported so far and how much revenue I generated with which airline.

I think you get my point :slight_smile:


To expand a bit on the economy of the fuel. In the current build 29.2-4 Nature is offering at approx 1.57$. Now you would look at that and say that it is pretty profitable now… well not. simply because of the 25% hourly tax. Which is completely screwing up the early game economy. Because you are only refueling when you are also having a lot of runway activity I would argue for the sake of simplicity that fuel is 100% taxed. That means that on a 2$ fee you pay .5$ in tax, which obviously leads to the conclusion that, at least before you can hire a CFO (which lowers the tax to 18.75% or .375$) you are loosing money on refueling.
And to compound the issue you are crediting the flights by paying the full 200,000L of gas when you fill your tanks, which means that you get only a minimal discount of tax (or not at all if you happen o refuel during an hour when you have minimal income).

So I would say that a critical economy change is the tax change. Since in game 1 day is meant to represent 1 month (1 year is marked after 12 days) then at least put the tax based on the previous day: hourly tax = “previous day profit”/24

This should alleviate some of the long waiting times after the initial build, I had to wait for 2 years at speed 3, having 10 GA stands with refueling in order to afford a 1 stand terminal… and coupled with some other economic changes which would affect mid-late game play could put in some balance.


Also on the topic of the tax system, construction should be viewed as investments and therefore:

  1. we would need a visual separation between the operational result and the final result of the day. so we can better tune our decision making
  2. would be great if the economic model, in a more advanced state, would calculate the constructions with a 5 year amortization for buildings/runway/taxiways and with a one year amortization for the vehicles, desks, improvements and technologies. This should be a “hidden” value used for the calculation of the tax only, not to be used for cash calculation.


You might also be interested to have a read of this thread relating to financial balancing too.


Hello, me again, I got bored and dove into the some more financial numbers within Airport CEO for the small stands. Before we start, let me establish the assumptions.

  • One runway can support 12 flights
  • One stand can support 5 flights per day
  • One Fuel truck can support 4 stands
  • An aircraft carries 10 pax on average
  • An aircraft will request 250 liters of Jet A1 fuel
  • All fees are left as standard
  • The completion reward for 1, 2 and 3 star flights are $2,400, $3,400 and $4,000 respectively
  • All staff earns about $9 per hour

Now that we have a list of assumptions, lets take a look the requirements for those 1, 2 and 3 star flights.


Besides the setup costs, there are also some miscellaneous, often costs which can not precisely be allocate to a single stand. I approached these costs to the following.


Now, finally, we can take a look at all the earnings per flight as well as there Return On Investment times.

There are a couple of things which stand out to me:

  • Refuelling is not cost-effective since the cost of the fuel truck + fuel is higher than the income.
  • Some of the objects seem to have very random upkeep costs. Upkeep of a complex baggage belt system is only $50?
  • The setup costs do not ramp up in relation to the income. A 3 star flight generates a 40-ish % more income but requires 1000% more setup.
  • The runway usage costs are way out of proportion relative to the stand operation costs.

  • usage income is not linked with quality [i.e. low vs medium quality], hence an incentive to always use low quality
  • runway maintenance is too low
  • taxiway maintenance is non-existent
  • flight income for small flights vs medium flights does not make sense (a Cessna ticket would cost upwards of 1000$)
  • you forgot the 25% [18% with CFO] tax
  • daily salaries are too low, however need to be paid even during no-flight time [until you unlock night flights]
  • after the initial set-up there is no challenge, you always snowball the income because operating expenses increase way slower than the incomes


I looked at the tax but I would honestly propose to either turn it into a gameplay element, or to remove it completely. Unless there are actual things I could do dodge the tax or lower it by being smart I don’t see the point in having a factor that just slightly decreases the income.