Some advice for a new player

Hi there! I started playing AS about a week or two ago and I’m really enjoying it. I think I’ve generally gotten the hang of it. I’m currently on my second airline (MidAmerican in Ellinikon based at MCI). I’ve set up a fairly extensive hub and spoke network with 371 departures in 3 waves a day, and have a decent amount of connecting passengers on each flight. I’m operating a fleet of 17 aircraft:

10x ATR 72-500
4x A320-200
3x ATR 42-300

On all aircraft I have a mix of profitable and non-profitable routes, overall I think I’m still in the red, but I’m gonna give it a few days because it’s only my 3rd or 4th day and I’ll wait to see how the bookings are like in a few more days. I bought the A320’s because they were really cheap (same price as my ATR’s actually, though twice the age) and thought they would allow me to start some trunk routes to feed the smaller ones.

I configured the A320 as such: 102Y (Recliner short-haul) / 10C (Recliner long-haul) with default pricing except cargo which is 50% or below. I’ll use the MCI-ORD route as an example. It’s performing really well, fully booked 2 days in advance, about 25% connecting passengers. The problem is with my cabin config, I’m only making $574 profit with a fully booked flight, pax and cargo.

I was thinking I could either increase the number of passengers or the price. I don’t think increasing the number of passengers would help because I’m quite close to my nearest competitor on the ORS in terms of product rating. I’m also worried increasing the price would drive my product-price ratio lower, since it’s a very competitive route. What should I do? This just also lead me to wonder how are other airlines making profits with such low prices and high product rating?

Of course, I was considering just cancelling the leases on the A320’s because I’m losing a lot of money on them overall, but I’m worried this will affect my load factors on my smaller ATR routes. I’m flying to really busy destinations on the A320’s like DEN, PHX, ORD, MSP, ATL, PDX, DFW, etc and I suspect they account for a large number of connecting passengers on my ATR feeder routes.

The last thing I wanted to ask was regarding scheduling of waves. On my planes, I fit about 3 round trips per day. Generally 1st wave goes west, 2nd wave goes east and south, 3rd wave is kind of all over the place, but generally north (there aren’t that many destinations north of MCI though) and shorter routes to nearby destinations.

Wave 1 and 2 is straightforward. But the problem comes with the odd number of waves. I think it’s a geographical problem where I am because I tried flying north but there aren’t enough destinations in the midwest compared to the east. So for wave 3 I had to resort to flying all over the place.

If I fly to destinations in the east, then wave 2 passengers from the west can connect, but this would mean low load factors for the wave 3 inbound flights since wave 1 flights are to east as well.

If I fly to destinations in the west, it would connect to wave 1 outbound flights, but it’s not compatible with wave 2 inbound flights.

Do you guys have any suggestions? Any would be greatly appreciated!

You need a lot more business seats, that’s where the real profit is. Usually you should aim for business to be around 15-20% of total (closer to the latter if you can fill them).

Old aircraft = high maintenance cost = bad image
Bigger seats = better pricing
New aircraft, maxed out flight attendants, more seat space = better image
Better image = better pricing

Good point! I’ll give it a try, I realise my business class seats are sold out faster than my economy ones

Right I see. But I guess it’s a balance? Buying old aircraft would allow you to buy a lot more aircraft, and you can expand your route network a lot faster, allowing you to get more connecting passengers. Would the reputation gain from buying new aircraft outweigh that advantage?

I don’t know how do you schedule your flightplans, but MCI-ORD is only 640km.
I would choose a more dense configuration (for my CAI-BEY with A320 I use Y126 C24 )

In early stage, old aircraft means grow quickly and earn more money. When grow bigger, you can use the money to order new aircraft.