Understanding demand (for a newbie)

I’m new to the game so please bear with me if I’m complete wrong about something :slight_smile:

I’ve created what is meant to be a regional airline based in Stockholm in Junkers. The airline is a mix of hub-and-spoke + bunch of unrelated point-to-point flights (I understand the former is more profitable in Airlinesim, but at this point I’m just trying different things to gain some experience).

The idea for my waves was to have a bunch of flights arriving from regional airports and a bunch of flights departing mostly for international destinations (or the other way around). But it seems that my passengers only want to connect to other domestic flights.

For example, one of first inbound flights that got filled up nicely was from Umeå to Bromma. All passengers are connecting to my other flights, but it seems everyone wants to travel to Malmö or Gothenburg - those two connecting flights filled up nicely (with connecting pax), but international flights remain pretty much empty.

Thus I wonder how is the demand calculated. Does it distinguish between domestic/international destinations (even within Europe)? In real life, Umeå mostly gets domestic flights, but significant share of passengers are connecting to somewhere else in Europe (or beyond). Does this affect Airlinesim’s demand calculations in a way that it assumes people from Umeå only want to travel domestically, or did I just pick wrong international destinations?

And some secondary questions:

  • Is the demand based on airports or cities? For example, Stockholm is served by Arlanda and Bromma. Do these airports share the same demand, or is it separate for each airport?
  • What happens if a passenger can’t find a service to their destination? Does that trip disappear or is it like the real life that they will self-connect between flights that are not interlined? I’m asking because I wonder whether it would make sense to operate a flight between a regional airport and a hub where I don’t have any interline agreement - the O&D demand would be fairly low, but IRL people would still fly that route.
  • Non-demand question: The price of connecting flights is just sum of price of all flights and there’s no way to affect this - is that correct?

If you made it here, thank you for your patience :slight_smile: I will appreciate any advice on these topics.

Sort of new to the game myself, so I’m not gonna go into too much detail. Keep in mind that AS is – to some extend – modelled after the real world (even though they got some things terribly wrong). And in the real world the major demand is always domestic, often between the capital and smaller places, or international short haul. In fact, before Covid, the 100 most busy routes on the planet were about all domestic, mostly in east Asia. Not a single long haul route.

The demand in AS is “top secret”, you have to find out yourself. Set up test flights, ask yourself where people from some place might want to go in reality.

If your connections do not work or fill there are three possibly reasons:

  • You might have just picked the “wrong” cities or offer too many seats. Change destinations or reduce frequency (sometimes 2–3 flights a week is enough and they make good money).

  • Your connection ist longer than 2 times the direct distance, people will not book that (so you can’t connect two villages in north Sweden via Stockholm).

  • Your flights have a bad rating and people travel with someone else or not at all. Check ORS if you can find your connection and it has at least one green bar in the summary. Check the individual rating (hover mouse over bars). See where you can improve to be better than the competition.

For the rest:

  • The demand is based on airports. People may use ground transport to fly from the cities other airport (it counts like a feeder flight with bad rating). But you’ll need really good ratings for your onwards flights, because sims hate ground transport.

  • No self hubbing in AS. The sims will just stay home. They won’t even travel to Antalya if they can’t find a flight to Mallorca.

  • The price of connecting flights is just sum of price of all flights - correct. One may criticise that, but keep in mind that despite your “thousands of employees” you have to do all the work yourself. And you will get completely lost if there were overrides on individual connections. You may however set individual prices to individual flights on a route. So you may make some flights cheaper than others.

Some good points on the second message, but the demand is not random or secret at all… I won’t give you my secrets to find demandful spokes but it’s definitely not random and rocket science if you know where to look and what numbers to observe… it’s easy to find demands, and especially as you build hub and spoke this reliance on IRL demand points becomes less as more of your pax connect:
this has both good and bad things, for positive, the route can be more busy as the pax that were occupying the O/D share don’t occupy it anymore, so you have “extra demand”, you can also generally raise prices; and for negative, you have to time connections well, make sure the overall itinerary is well priced as a combo (aka more prices to manage at a smaller scale), and you’re relying on demand which could disappear if the connection is served, say, nonstop.
As with everything in this game, as you will learn, it’s about balance.

Connections only book 72h in advance, so I would not recommend anything less than 3x weekly. 1x a week is a waste and hard to keep track of.

They don’t hate it (they are very much neutral), but it’s like in IRL - if I live in Hoboken, why the hell would I want to go to JFK when I can use EWR? You have to entice me to go to JFK…

Demand is per airport, which causes problems - say in Dubai, it’s astronomically higher than O/D demand due to insane connections in DXB, 82% of those pax have no intention of ever stepping foot in Dubai… Keep in mind as they have separate demands they also have separate good/bad routes, so something that works out of ARN might not do as well from BMA or NYO.

For the reason of stimulating connections, some airlines drop prices, especially true when low AGEX is around. (AGEX is the demand indicator basically, it can be found under Management > Markets/Exchanges, and it will only really impact Long worlds). But as AF said, the individual override would be an exponential mess…

I thought it was 1.5x?

Bromma is a heavily domestic airport, so makes sense. Your model makes sense with the waves, but definitely do an inverse - so you have both domestic AND european departures on both waves. This will stimulate EU-EU conx as well as your SW-SW connections, which are also a key one.
And hey, throwaways aren’t bad if they fill and make $.

If you can’t fill it with your own inbound feed, or pure O/D demand, I would not recommend flying it unless you have conx on the other end…

And I understand the tendency to flee to Europe to start, my personal advice (and the one of many others) is to go away from the EU (and on similar note the US and China) - due to the way traffic rights are done any EU airline can set up in Bromma and suffocate you with slots, meaning you have no way to fight back. The exception is flights outside of EU - so if I have HQ in say Spain I can’t run Bromma to Chicago if I wanted, I simply cannot (for US/CN, even worse as they can do it, since it’s the same country technically). And of course this isn’t really recommended either as a route unless you have feed on either or both ends, as O/D demand will prefer ARN… but if there’s nothing ORD-ARN then there might be a chance they do GN to Bromma…

Thank you guys, this was very helpful.

As for the real-world demand, I understand the point about most demand being domestic in most regions, but Europe is a bit different due to how fragmented it’s administratively - even flights within what is a single market (with according demand) are technically international, thus can make statistics (and consequently the demand calculation in the game) a bit misleading. Perhaps that’s another reason to not base in EU (but then I like to play where I live, as building something I can relate to is just as important to me as the economic aspect).

I noticed that the land transportation is penalized heavily and I think this is largely due to pax wanting to travel to airports rather than cities - e.g. there are city pairs like CPH/MMX or VIE/BTS where the transportation from city to the airport is fairly quick, but game multiplies it because it calculates how long it takes to get to the respective airport rather than city centre. But it also open some interesting possibilities.

And yes, Bromma is mostly domestic airport, but not really because passengers want it that way :slight_smile: It’s certainly more convenient to fly out of BMA than ARN and if there were more services to Europe, the demand would materialize, hence my thought whether I can get ARN pax to fly out of BMA (which I can’t). But then again, the reasons why there aren’t more European flights are regulatory, thus it’s probably a good thing to have that reflected in the game.

I have restarted the game creating a more domestic network with some additional Nordic flights (as those did get some traffic before) and so far it looks better. If I ever need to expand beyond that, I will look at some other airport for those flights, effectively creating a separate network.

Once again, thanks for your help :slight_smile:

One more question: Is the demand modeled specifically based on what airports are served from a particular airport, or it based on type of the route (domestic, shorthaul, longhaul)?

For example, BMA has direct flights to Brussels. Would it be reflected in the game and would Brussels have more demand than the other European airports of similar size?

Why you care about a demand of an airport? Create your own demand / pax by flights and connections. I run airlines in US and EU. You can serve half of europe perfectly from PAD or LUX.

Maybe you need to define “serve” a bit more. Basically you may be able to profitably operate flights between PAD/LUX and half Europe (should be 370 destinations…), anyhow you are not able to offer the required capacities half of Europe has, alone by a lack of slots already. And yes, you may be able to allow this network to function perfectly, but that is where the limits of AS are presented most. First of all, no transatlantic traffic will connect via PAD or LUX to UK, Ireland, Portugal, Iceland… And second you are benefitting from the fact, that AS allows european airlines only to operate longhaul flights out of their home country instead of all Europe like in reality. So if you had an active and strong competitor that would transport pasengers from destinations like MUC,FRA,ATH,BUD,DUS,BER… directly to their transatlantic destination hardly nobody would visit you in PAD or LUX. So congrats to nicely using a wrong implemented traffic law, presenting your company as an axample for others is then maybe not the correct way to do it.
The main perspective of a passenger is to get to its destination as fast as possible. For some connections you can nicely compete with competitors as there is a lack of direct flights. As soon as this gap is closed your load numbers will drop. As on most servers the european market is not really full of competitors and only a few survive on a long term view there will most propably not be enough competition to empty your flights. Anyhow it is not the favourite business modell of every player and additionally the small amount of slots in PAD/LUX is not allowing to feed the demand of an airport like LHR alone, not to talk about the numerous other large airports in Europe. I guess we can maybe at least agree on the fact, that there are much more suitable airports for a european hub than LUX and PAD and that direct demand makes it a lot easier at the beginning when your connections are lacking feeded passengers.

Agreed to some extend on the traffic rights. As for the rest I cannot really. One would think that’s how it works, but math is different;)

For a new player, this is definitely a challenge…It sounds easy for us to make these huge wave systems, but for a new player the whole concept of waves is overwhelming. It’s easier to go off on O/D.

I’ve used BMA as example, but the issue applies to all airports, not just my base. Even when basing my strategy on connections (which I do an the ability to do so is why I prefer Airlinesim over anything), the issue of understanding the demand at the origin airport still remains. The problem is the same, just shifted to a different airport.