Continuous loss of passengers for 6 weeks. Any explanation?

I write here because I am starting to be desperate with this situation and for the last weeks, AS is not a funny thing anymore for me. I am not crying here for anything, I just ask for help.

The case is that I have an airline in Croydon, not very big, but 2nd in importance at its hub. Up to 6 weeks ago, my average occupation for the last 6 months was 99%, yes, 99%. Since then nothing changed in the network where it operates, aircraft are the same or improved, service on board and prices are the same, timetables are the same, when not improved.

But since July, a funny thing has started to happen: my occupation started to plummet on average a 3% per week (97%, 94%, 91%, and this week i am on 87%), I searched for a reason the first weeks, thinking, there might be new operators on the network, but no. Most of my routes are single operated and do not offer connections, mmm, I checked the ORS for possible connections, but no, I was always getting by far the best scores.

One can expect changes on demand, small fluctuations due to several reasons, but a continuous drop for so long and always negative?? Can anyone explain that?? Someone my suggest AGEX has fall down, but it is stable last couple of weeks, so it can´t be the reason. It is not a funny joke anymore and AS turned in a boring game where the rules of ‘who knows what’ rule over logic, that sucks and doesn´t make this game enjoyable.

The situation its starting to piss me a lot, one can expect small problems and struggles in the game, but not ghost problems that are impossible to face since the player can’t know what the problem is.

Any help or comment is more than welcome, I just want to enjoy again this great game that turned in a pain 6 weeks ago.

There are no gost problems … the thing is that AS implemented a new Index to simulate an economic environment with ups and downs. Its calles AGEX. Just search for it and you will find lots of stuff to read.

Yeah, it’s just the AGEX. I’m one of your competitors in Croydon and the same has happened to me too. Unfortunately I was on holiday for a fortnight when the worst of it bit and came back to find a profitable airline had become a loss-making one. I’m now having to scale back operations in order to get back into profit again. For me it just adds to the enjoyment of the game - it also gives great opportunities e.g. It’s caused the collapse of which is going to massively reduce competition on routes in Western Europe.

I know about AGEX and I mentioned that in the topic opening.

I keep track of it and it is not directly related with my losses. For instance, it is in the same level for 2 weeks and my loads keep falling at the same rate. So AGEX can´t be the answer for the problems, it doesn´t sound as something as simple as that, there must be something more.

Sure you have less passengers, so less income and you have a rising fuelprice … its the combination of that all … it is the same for everybody and there have also been made modifications on the passenger flow and demand on certain airports as well. Since I am not playing on Croydon I have no numbers … but it is all related …

I agree that AGEX might have an effect and caused a drop, but, right now, I am losing 5% of my passengers every week, for 6 weeks, so if this goes on for one month, I will have to shut down. It is insane!

It’s a bit early to tell, but I think my passenger numbers have levelled off over the past few days, as AGEX has stabilised. Up to then it was in pretty steady decline, and passenger numbers with it. I’ve dropped 25% in passenger numbers since AGEX was introduced, which I agree is probably little more steeply than is realistic, but as I say it seems to have levelled off now - loadings are actually up on last week, but I have cut costsa little and dropped the worst routes which will be partly responsible for that.

I expected the same, and I could see some relation, but since AGEX is being more stable, it is not corresponded by a stable load, i keeps falling without breaks, that is why I am so surprised, because AGEX seems not to be the only reason.

The same thing happened to me. But as other users have commented, it adds to the challenge. I have had to switch planes, go to smaller versions of a common type, change things around, change seating, business is still selling ok etc. This is part of running a real airline.

Your basic problem is that you’re not operating in a vacuum. So, your operation at Alicante (I assume that’s your problem child) is actually competing with Air Glory, cAir and Travelton in Madrid, and with flyBlue and YT Europe in Lisbon - ultimately, if you have 100 people who want to go from, say, Alicante to Faro, a large part of them will take a direct flight - but there are alternatives, which (as I understand it) will tend to take proportionally more of the traffic as the number of departures increases. Those airlines can afford to offer several flights a day to Alicante from their hubs, since they’re also accommodating passengers going to any number of places you can’t take them - and the more they grow the more traffic they can get, and, and, and…well, you get the idea.

So, what can you do about it? Well - clearly your strategy of offering single point-to-point flights isn’t working as well as you’d like; and there’s not a huge amount you can do by just keeping on with that in the short term (though if you could, you’d eventually end up with a sort-of connecting hub just by virtue of having a huge volume of flights). So, you might try building a connecting hub - there’s nothing saying it needs to be big. Take a look at your schedule (or just flatten it entirely and start a new one) and see where you can create connections. Let’s do this by hand rather than on a computer, just for the hell of it (excuse my handwriting):

Obviously it’s a less efficient use of aircraft, in the sense that they’ll spend less time in the air and more on the ground waiting for stuff to happen…but when they do fly, they’re likely to be nearer full. The new aircraft market is basically tailor-made for building these sorts of arrangements - with cheaper leases there’s less of a need to keep aircraft in the air 24/7. If you had 50 aircraft you might make it an omnidirectional hub - have everything arrive at once and then leave at once, meaning passengers can transfer anywhere to anywhere - though practically speaking noone’s going to fly to Alicante to get from OPO to FAO, so it’s better to leave the edge cases until last and focus on the bits where you have a more direct routing.

If you were to look at a very explicit connecting hub using the Operations Control screen, it might look something like this (an overnight freight hub into NY Kennedy):

(In this example all these flights are going broadly northeastwards then southwestwards to connect with the other side of the Atlantic - there are a couple of flights from Europe arriving and departing at the same time, with a similar setup on the other end but at a different time of day)

Obviously, that’s not the only option - you might take advantage of the new aircraft market to ditch your current, expensive leases (I’m assuming) and get a larger number of smaller aircraft, or a similar number of more capable aircraft, and add a flight here and there to places like CDG, FCO, ATH etc. Which may work! Or may not. Just like anything else might or might not. Your challenge, if you’re not happy with the status quo, is to dive into experimentation…

If you don’t do anything, e.g. keep all the same, you’re losing passengers. And it should be like this! There’s always changes, even if you’re the only player on the route doesnt’ mean you have the same amount of passengers all the time. maybe you don’t get connecting passengers anymore, because any airline improved their service? E.g. passengers from A to B do not fly via your hub but instead via hub C?

Lowering your fares might make your airline more interesting for connecting passengers again. As a lot of players do not rest to get a bigger share of the pie neither can you!

Its also worth adding that when an airline group such as the Sky group stop operating a large number of passengers are taken out of the market. I think the Sky group had about 10% of the global passenger market. Much higher in the US. He was a big user of A380s. As the dominant airline on the NRT-PEK and HKG-PEK routes I have seen passenger numbers drop by 50% due to loss of transfer passenegers from the US. But as has been pointed out one has to respond to the situation. It will take time to replace the passengers lost by Sky especially internationally as this requires more money for long range aircraft. Steeply rising fuel costs and a massive increase in interest rates are hampering this recovery.

Ok, prairiecentral, thank you a lot for the explanation, now it starts to make sense, I knew it was not only a matter of AGEX. I am competing with much bigger airlines, that have the advantage of coping the market much before I started and can maneuver better to these market changes. My idea of a East-West hub is the one I had in mind, but for now I can´t afford increasing my fleet so much. I will consider re-adjusting the schedule, since it can be other of the causes of losing those damm pax.

Thank you all for your replies, they are really helping to understand the matter.

I think this paragraph contains the key to what can make or break a successful start-up for a hub-and-spokes system.

Whenever I start a new airline, the first thing I do is create connections in all directions, for each aircraft I can get my hand on, I will have one destination in 3 separate directions. For Paris, as an example, the division would be roughly as follows: Benelux + UK; Spain + Portugal + Italy (+ Greece later on); Germany + Alps + Denmark (+ rest of Scandinavia + Eastern Europe later on).

This way, the waves will all be flying out in one direction, and returning from that same direction. I usually leave a 2-hour lay-over, to allow for some flexibility in slot usage (it gives you a 15 minute window to delay arrivals and/or pull ahead a departure).

Why do I not start off the Greece and other distant countries, you might ask? That’s because those flights take too much time, and will mean the aircraft serving that route can only fly two returns on a day, rather than 3 returns which would help generate more passengers at the start.

A typical schedule for a plane then might look as follows: CDG - LHR - CDG - MAD - CDG - FRA - CDG

It is one of the toughest things to figure out and plan properly, but when done correctly, it makes your airline very resilient against competition and AGEX fluctuation. For example, my airline on Tempelhof, which I haven’t taken much care of for the last 3-4 MONTHS is still operating. It’s running a small loss now, but it has plenty of reserves to deal with that, until such time as I have time to look into it properly.

Oh, and for changing the schedule, make sure you do it all at once for each aircraft, and use the "activate (3 days delay)" feature. Don’t want overlapping departures that will cost you money in cancellation…

One question that came to my mind:do you think that the fact of building my own terminal at my hub will help to attract again those passengers I lost?

That will only slightly increase your rating

As tamwa said, that’ll only lead to a small increase. You’re far better off spending that money on aircraft and expanding the connection options for your passengers. What you want to be doing, basically, is generating your own demand, for which a good set of connecting flights can make a huge difference. The more of these you offer, the bigger the effect.

Plus while you are trying to build your connections, you can use other airlines connections to fill your flights, or as we more commonly know it as: interlining. Trust me, this REALLY helps

I recommend caution…

I avoid interlining partners that have very frequent (10x+ daily) flights to my hub, as those will be competing with my 3-4 daily flights to his hub, the net result for me being a loss of passengers that could have been on my network.

I also avoid interlining with airlines that offer very few or even no additional airports for my passengers to fly to. Taking our example of an airline based in Paris again, if you fly from CDG to FRA, MUC, TXL, HAM, DUS and another handful of airports in Germany, you won’t have much use for a recently established airline that is offering flights from FRA (or any of the others) to those airports only. After all, you’re taking away direct traffic from your route, and distributing it onto a different flight that probably gets you a lower profit, in addition to needlessly filling your seat capacity that other transferring passengers might use to fly to Moscow using a different interlining partner.

So, the best advice on the matter is: Take a good, close look at your interlining partners before sending them an offer, or before accepting an offer that was sent to you.

okay I will give you a real world example from here. So here in the bay area of Northern California, there are 3 major airports:

  1. San francisco International, SFO (Mega airport, huge passenger demands)

  2. Oakland International which is right across the bay and to this day I am dumfounded of why players send flights there, but anyways OAK( large airport)


  1. San Jose international which is 45 minutes away from SFO and OAK so same thing as I said in #2, but SJC (Large airport with brand new runways and terminal)

So, basically all 3 of these airports were extremely high volume and had to expand in order to keep up with demand when the economy was good. But than once the economy went sour. Airlines have down sized and have now the majority of their flights going into SFO since it is the larger airport and is sorta in the middle of all 3 as well as they can offer more connections i.e. more bookings on flights that would normally be sort of empty (also more people recognize San Francisco over Oakland or San Jose). United Airlines a couple months ago pulled out of Oakland completely after offering service there since the 40’s when the airport first opened, but since they were not making profits, offer service to SJC, and have SFO as a hub…this was a smart choice by United and kinda made since and is what you may have to do.

You have got to remember about the proximity of the airports around the ones you are offering, and this is a great example. Because people would rather pay a cheaper price and have a better flight time, they probably wouldn’t mind driving a bit more (I.e. SJC-SFO). The same goes for here. Major airports rule over smaller ones in the same general area, even in this game.