Unfair and lopsided Passenger Demand Structure

My problem with this game as in other simulation games is the overt and excessive concentration of passenger resource in Europe and North America. While this may be the reality and trend (and I am not suggesting otherwise), I have to point to the fact that the data and representation of most African and third world locations is unreal and under-represented! For instance, the passenger demand in intra-African routes is pathetic even when you are the only Airline flying you may not experience a full load on a frequency of 2 flights a day with a mere 100 seater plane. This is pathetic!! Africa may be the poorer continent it does not however mean there is no economic activity!!

To make matters worse, the African routes are also given extremely unrealistic default ticket prices that does not reflect reality! In reality, international and inter-continental flights from Africa are quite pricey. Case in point, British Airways consistently rates Lagos, Nigeria as one of its 5 best and most profitable routes! Delta and KLM are currently big players in the Lagos-US route (Along with BA). Now Delta only operated the Atlanta-Lagos route for 18-24 months before realizing how much action and profit they had missed in the past by neglecting this routes to Africa. Hence now, Delta is operating 2 flights a day (one to ABV) with this realization, and in the process Delta also upgraded Aircraft to a brand new 777-200 to accomodate the awesome market potentials and propensity for cargo along with passengers! Not to be left out, United Airways and Continental have joined in the Gold rush to the West African market which includes Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and others. This realities are totally ignored in the game and you find your planes flying almost empty on this routes (as we speak, I am loosing 200K a day on this routes!)

The game’s propensity to skewer international passenger load against African countries is at odds with reality and does not reflect well on the game - it is excessive and inordinate! I delibrately refuse to play in Europe and North America becos it is too damn easy! - whereas in reality, profit margins in European and North American aviation sectors are very, very thin! In developing parts of the world, profit margins are a lot healthier, (even though many airlines suffer from mismanagement, scarcity of funds and politicization - all of which are not readily inbuilt factors in this game!) and should enjoy more robust performance by way of higher ticket prices becos of reduced competition. Further to the already disadvantaged position of African based Airlines in this game, there is also very weak demand for routes such as Dubai (an extremely popular african destination for vacation, shoppers and business alike). Dubai has over the years become the gateway for China and Chinese business. Most Chinese businesses seeking international and African patronage situate themselves in Dubai where African business reps can meet with, view products and consumate transactions!) This reality is part of the reason for Dubai’s continued expansion plus the fact that Visas are mostly not hard to get and is given on arrival! In the game, there were few airlines with any appreciable load or demand from Dubai! The neglect and unreal disadvantage apportioned to Africa in the game is fustrating and unreal! Makes you want to got to Europe - but we all can’t operate from Europe… can we??

Lastly, I do not know the precise logic or algorithm used to decide how much passenger a destination gets, however, I do know that it is relatively easy to decide how much passenger a location has by simply using the available data on how much passengers an Airport handled in a preceeding or current year! When I look at the figures for passenger traffic in South African (JNB) or Egypts (CAI), it does account for up to 25%-35% of traffic in developed nations such as LHR or CDG or MAD airports!! Unfortunately, in the game this values are not represented!! 2010 data for LOS in lagos is largely 10% of the traffic at LHR Heathrow (which is the busiest Airport in Europe) however this reality is not reflected in the game! AND I MUST HARP ON THE PRICING ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD TO AFRICA! As I pointed out earlier, in the developing world there may be fewer passengers but prices are generally more generous to the airline leaving them with a healthier margin (once again the game has overlooked this reality). For instance, a trip from Oslo (OSL) to Madrid (MAD) is 2418km and on the average (in the real world) and will cost about USD $204 (excluding taxes and fees). On the other hand, a trip from Lagos (LOS) to Dakar(DKR) is 2410km and will cost $428 on the average (excluding taxes and fees) and this reflects the general trend! I hope someone has enough clout to effect a consideration of this tweaks and changes to the game so as to ensure a reality based scenerio for the enjoyment of all.

you think it’s intentional to post it twice

As an after-thought, I thought perhaps it needed its own thread! Will be unfair to place that burden on someone elses thread.

Demand calculation as well as the required data it’s based on are both very tricky topics. This might be the reason it’s generally a problem with airline-sim-games, no matter who makes them. It becomes especially complicated with AS because we use such a complex system to generate connections.

This is one of the core aspects we have in mind for a total makeover for 1.6. But as of now I cannot provide any details on this (mostly because we don’t have them ourselves yet). Hopefully we will have a brief sneak at the concept ready for Frankfurt 2011, but I cannot promise anything. To much stuff to be worked on right now…