Advance warning: This is long, but very detailed
Currently the process for getting contracts/making money is pretty basic:
- Build terminal with as many check in desks and gates as possible
- Hire loads of staff
- Accept loads of airline contracts until the flight planner is full
- Watch the money flow in
As it currently stands the only things the airline supplies are the aircraft. This is very different to real life where airlines ‘rent’ facilities from the airport so that they can operate their flights. Eg, airlines sometimes rent office space for administrative work. So I think airline contracts should be reworked, with changes to requirements, type of contract, and airline-airport relationship, discussed below.
Airlines should demand the following (anything requiring other content to be added which is not related to the contract system (like hangars) is marked with a ‘?’):
- Check in desks. Currently these are assigned at random, and reassigned every flight. In the real world, airlines rent check in desks and then they make an internal decision as to which check-in desks are used for which flights. I think it would be better if you had to specify which check in desks the airline could use before accepting the contract.
- Arrival/departure slots. The airline would give a time frame as to roughly when they are planning on running flights. The CEO, would then be able to give specific time within this time frame as to when the flights would run
- Staff room size. Smaller contracts may not require a staff room at all, but larger airlines with lots of staff may want somewhere for their staff to relax (access to toilet facilities could be part of this)
- Number of office desks. Office desks would be placed in an ‘office’ room (?), which is a new type of room that could be added for this purpose. Airlines would require a set number of office desks for their staff to work at, which would be specified in the contract. You can allocate an airline to an office which is slightly larger than what they require (and therefore make them pay more money for facilities that they don’t plan on using), but this would decrease your reputation with the airline. If the room is far too large then the airline may not accept the contract at all.
- Baggage and fuel services (already implemented so not much to say here). Some airlines may want baggage and fuel services, others may want only one or neither (this could be expanded when catering, de icing and other services are implemented).
- Number of hangars (?)(If hangars get implemented). Airlines need to repair/perform maintenance on their aircraft, and in doing so, will have to rent hangars in order to do so.
Accepting a contract
Obviously the way you accept contracts will have to change to match the new criteria. I think that the best way to do this would be to have an ‘assign’ button next to each of the criteria. You then drag and drop over the facilities that the airline wants, similar to the assigning system for baggage bays and check in desks etc. The only criteria that won’t have an assign button would be the one stating the number of flights, and the times planned for each flight. After assigning the other facilities, you sign the contract, and are then expected to assign flights at the times that the airline wants them. This can be done via the current system, with your reputation with the airline increasing if you schedule their flights close to the times requested, and reputation decreasing for schedules that are far away from the times requested. Reputation will be severely affected if you completely miss flights (and maybe you will have to pay a fine/compensation to the airline)
This will determine how many flights the airline will schedule, how many facilities the airline will rent out, and ultimately, how much money you make. Reputation can be increased by:
- Servicing flights quickly and efficiently
- Scheduling flights close to the desired times
- Being reliable (no delays/cancellations)
Reputation can be decreased by:
- Over-assigning facilities to airlines. If an airline wants an office for 10 employees, and you make them rent an office with 30 office desks, they won’t be happy about paying for desks they don’t need.
- Missing/delayed flights. This could also result in a fine/compensation to the airline.
Contracts will be split into tiers. Initially, airlines will send you low-tier contracts as they don’t really know you very well, but over time, as your reputation builds, airlines may want to expand operations at your airport. To do this, they may send you a new contract of a higher tier with additional requirements, which would obviously be more profitable but requires more infrastructure. The tiers could be organised like the following:
- Tier 4. An airline wants to begin operations and start running low capacity flights with small aircraft. These contracts would only require check in desks and maybe a small staff room for airline staff.
- Tier 3. The Airline wants to expand their operations. The airline may start requesting office space, staff rooms and more check in desks.
- Tier 2. The Airline wants to make your airport a major destination. They will request office space, staff rooms, lots of check in desks and will start running more flights with larger aircraft.
- Tier 1. The airline wants to use your airport as a hub. They will request lots of office space, several staff rooms and many check in desks. They will run frequent flights to various destinations with all types of aircraft.
As your reputation with one airline progresses, it may also boost your reputation amongst the entire airline industry. This means that if you have a Tier 1 contract with an airline, it is highly unlikely that you will get Tier 4 contracts. New airlines wishing to begin operations at your airport may then start straight from Tier 3 or 2.
If your reputation stays consistently low for a long period of time, the airline may start scaling back operations, and charging you fines to pay compensation for their passengers. If you keep on missing flights or otherwise not meeting the criteria then the airline will cancel their contract, and your reputation across the entire airline industry could suffer as a result.
If you are still here, thanks for reading! Please comment any thoughts/criticism about this.
(A slightly less detailed version of this was posted in the jira not too long ago, then I came here, read the FAQ, and noticed the bit where they said its better to post longer suggestions here, which is why this thread exists. Stupid of me I know, so if the devs are reading this, feel free to delete ACEO 4735 if its clogging up the workflow).