Long time forum stalker, first time forum poster here - Have been really interested in ACEO for quite a while now and actively following the forum discussions. Now I have done a search, albeit a reasonably high-level one and I’ve not come across an answer or question similar to mine, so I do apologise if it’s already been raised!
My question relates to the environment in which our Airports operate in. This includes both the geographic environment, but also the economic environment. Now as far as I understand it, our airports have a concept of geography, that being they exist in a ‘world’ where flights will arrive and depart and have a concept of distance etc. There is also the concept of companies who provide services to our airports and airlines/general aviation who frequent our airport as well as passengers who use it to use their airlines etc.
Taking this a step further, we can understand that physical location can play a part in the success of an airport. Take New York City for example. New York has 3 main airports, why is this? One reason is its geographic proximity to a number of things which make good economic sense to have an airport (or in this case, three). Some of them include; being on the East Coast, so available to service Trans-Atlantic flights and being next to one of the economic powerhouses of the USA, that being New York City. If New York wasn’t as successful as it is, or wasn’t in the location that it is, it wouldn’t have the airports that it does.
My second point is an economic model. Currently (at least in New Zealand) there is a travel boom. Aviation fuel prices are low, competition is increasing and people have a propensity to spend, all of this means the price of flights is coming down and more people are travelling - meaning Airports, and operators are seeing increases in profitability and demand on their networks and infrastructure. However, this is not always the case. Take the GFC (Global Financial Crisis), or even 9/11, where in both events (for different reasons) we saw a massive decline in the demand for air travel. This not only has an impact on airlines and services, but on the airports that people use to access them. Imagine an airport that has recently undergone a huge upgrade, only to have an economic downturn mean no airlines are requesting the new gates that have just been completed…
This actually brings me to my question (and I apologise for taking so long to get there), but, is there any concept of an economy that our airports operate in? My worry/concern/thinking is, is the game simply a case of “Build it and they will come”? If I have a runway and some gates will airlines just fly to my airport because its there? Will passengers just drive down the road which is connected to my airport and take the plane to wherever because its there? Is there/will there be any concept of destination demand? ie: If my airport is located and only has contracts with airlines who only services say ‘backwater’ destinations, like for example former USSR baltic cities/towns will i see decreased demand for services?
I know this is possibly a little too deep, but I see the detail which has gone into modelling things like the baggage system and I’m thinking that if we’ve gone into that sort of detail with baggage, we should/could have a conversation about the wider world in which our fictional airports operate in?
Promise further posts wont be quite so arduous. And shout-out from NZ