Slots-based planning, overnight staying and homebased airlines


#1

Here is some input from my side.

First of all great game, I have been enjoying this game for more than 30 hours since release.

  • One annoying feat, that others have also pointed out, is when flights have to be planned. I heard that this system was implemented in a late stage during development. However, it could be tweaked to hold slots. Slots are used by airports to sell landing and takeoff time to airlines. Likewise in the planner that is used now, a slot is automatically assigned to an airline, aircraft type and passenger amounts etc. Why not determine only “spaces” (slots) and let airlines fill them their-selves? (Or by an operations manager of staff (?)) Still gives full control about the times and gates to the CEO, minus the hassle when he only has to define slots that are repeated every day/week one time only. (Or when adding stands)

  • The capacity of each stand can be maximised when airlines are allowed to stay overnight. The takeoff and landing restriction will still hold place, but the aircraft just stays on the stand. Just like what happens with GA aircraft. This allows airlines (for example) to land at 21:00 and depart 05:40-06:00 the following day. The departure runway will become wayy more effective in the morning.

  • In line with the last item, why not have homebased airlines? A contract could be signed like now happens, but only with a homebased airline also to occupy gates at night. Maybe add an airport hangar for the aircraft to spawn out of or have maintenance or something.

I hope these ideas are useful and can be built upon. If someone comes up with an addition or a twist to these ideas, be welcome to post below!


#2

I believe this is a planned feature already. Take a look at the flight planner. Hover on any flight and you’ll see some information. There it says: “Frequency: once”. This hints that permanent flight routes will be a feature.


#3

I’ve been thinking about this slot based system and I think I would prefer it as it would be more realistic. I really don’t care to have to keep planning flights by putting them on the flight planner.

What I think would work better is a system where a count of all available slots is kept. For example, if I have one small stand, and the slot turn-around time is 90 minutes and the airport is open from 6am to 6pm, then there would be 8 slots per day, or 56 slots per week. For a medium stand with a 3 hour turnaround, it would be 4 slots per day and 28 slots per week. If you have more stands you have more slots. If the airport is open longer, you have more slots (and later opening could be contingent on appropriate CAT system on the runways, etc.

The slots could also be tied to runway capacity. At some point, even if you have enough gates you might reach a capacity limit of the runway. This could be overcome by upgrading runway with ILS systems to increase number of flights it can handle, or building a second runway.

Airline contracts would now state number of slots of the aircraft class they want (e.g. requirement of 10 small slots daily and 4 medium slots daily), or could be weekly (3 slots weekly, or 50 medium slots weekly).

Once you accept the contract, the slots would be populated by the system automatically (or if you want the control, I suppose there could be the option to do it manually).

The interface would then include the taken slots and update the number available to you.

Going further, airlines could demand dedicated gates that would be reserved for that airline. And even airline lounges and other amenities.


#4

I personally dislike the slot based planning for multiple reasons.

  1. It’s slot based, meaning no creativity

  2. How will you manage them not all landing on the same time and/or taking off? Slots can be shifted of each other, but doing that to 18 stands? Difference will be minimal.

  3. You don’t want to overload your taxiways, so you don’t want a plane to arrive at an arm of gates while another tries to leave. How will you plan that on slot based systems, when slots are fixed to the stand. If they are not fixed, what will be the practical use of slots anyway?

  4. Why would you always want to use maximum capacity? I use mostly only 3 flights per medium stand so I’ve room for delay (even more important when weather is going to be an actual factor) and staff to move around (working on multiple stands per day) You would take away this option with slots.

I understand the concept of slots and not having to drag them all down there yourself, but I’m not sure how realistic it would be, or how much fun. What is there to manage then if you have all grown out or don’t want to expand?


#5

I like the home-based or “exclusive” contract idea as well. The way I see it, is the contract (or could be some other feature) would allow an airline exclusive access to one or more stand, for a given amount of time.

Then, on the planner, selecting a flight for an airline without exclusive rights would result in the stand’s row getting shaded in (like when you select a medium flight for a small stand). Or, the stands could just pre-schedule their own arrivals and departures during the time period of the contract…maybe they’d be allowed to take off / land overnight too, as opposed to regularly-scheduled flights.


#6

I think the flight planner should be used for gate planning instead of flight planning. Normal screen, airline would present you with the flights it offers you plus the turnaround time, but instead of assigning turnaround times, assign gates to the flights. It’s of a radical idea, but definitely realistic, and I think it would be more enjoyable than assigning flight times when we have 10-20+ gates to assign flights to.

My idea is to basically change the way flight scheduling works. The airline gives you the suggested time and runway, and you tell them where to park the planes. Maybe later on we can negotiate with the airlines on flight times too.


#7

Ideas for more realism: Slots.

  • A slot is a combination of a certain time of the week (e.g. Monday 7:00 to 11:00 or Sunday 21:00 to 6:00) and stand.
  • Slots have a fixed length that depends on the aircraft class; with special handling for overnight slots.
  • You can create slots on a stand through drag and drop in the flight planner.

There are two slot types:

  • “Assigned” slots are filled by assigning an airline contract to it.
  • “Open” slots are filled automatically with charter flights (similar to GA), or they may stay unused if no suitable flight is generated.

Charter flights:

  • A dozen or so Charter flights are randomly generated per day. (No charter flights are available in the Heavy class.)
  • Every charter flight is for a certain time window in the current day (e.g. 6:00 to 12:00). They are sorted by the time window and starting with the earliest, automatically assigned to the earliest “open” slot that fits completely into the charter flight’s time window.
  • The unassigned charters are shown in a “missed charters” list, so the CEO can decide whether or not to provide more “open” slots.

Contracts:

  • Contracts are for a certain time window(s) in the week (e.g. Monday 6:00 to 12:00, or Monday and Thursday 6:00 to 12:00, or Monday 6:00 to 12:00 and Wednesday 15:00 to 19:00). A stand slot has to be inside this window for the player to be able to assign the contract window to the stand slot. (a Monday 7:00 to 11:00 slot would allow a 6:00 to 12:00 contract assignment).
  • On-time contract flights bring in extra money, delayed contract flights cost extra money.
  • There are contract fulfilment counters: The number of on-time departures (departing from the runway before the end of the contract time window) minus five times the number of late departures for each contract. A contract is cancelled and its assigned slot "open"ed) when its fulfilment counter falls below zero.
  • There is a “global” fulfilment counter, aggregated over all contracts and the accepted “open” flights. The number of available contracts is directly depending on this number. As long as the number is negative, no contracts are generated (you can still regain access to contracts by fulfilling your “open” slots - also, this is how you gain your first contract).
  • Example: If you have managed to get out 15 flights in time and only 1 delayed, your global fulfilment counter is 10 and you gain your first contract, which you get to keep until the contract’s fulfilment counter falls below zero. If you lose that contract, but your global fulfilment counter is still 10 or higher, a new contract is generated.

Pros:

  • If you have a well-running airport, smooth as an oiled machine, you have no more micromanagement with contracts, you’re only stacking them up.
  • You have to grow your airport over time, because you don’t have the same number of contracts from day 1.
  • You have, in theory, indefinitely many contracts at your disposal, provided you can serve them with a quality airport.
  • If you take in contracts beyond your airport’s (or computer’s) capacity and your quality suffers, the system is self-regulating, because lost contracts are not replaced indefinitely.

Scheduling Overhaul
#8

This one is an old topic but still think could see some more work. Specifically on the introduction of the base of operations airport mechanic.
As a major difference between the two the BoA Airline would provide more income than just visiting airlines, but they would also have specific requirements:

  1. specific number of stands for servicing and holding not used aircraft. Some flights would be only outgoing or incoming and the plane would be parked in a stand between these flights
  2. company hangar and offices, these could be specific buildings or designated areas [for office space]
  3. fueling and servicing
  4. guaranteed number of gate slots (flights per day)
    Based on the airline rating each of those points would have different requirement in each of the areas.

As for the income, this would come from more servicing/stands usage and more flights being generated by this contract, but would require investments and maintenance, so to balance it.

This change would be coupled with visiting airline and charter mechanics proposed above… Also would be interesting to link it to location (i.e. large town proximity), when that would be implemented. For instance smaller towns would have more charters, while larger towns would see more commercial heavy flights… to make more replay variation.