Learn some tips & tricks on how to improve your airline. Have some tips or tricks to Air Tycoon Online? Add onto this page and help the new players out!
Flight Route Tips & Tricks
- Look for monopoly routes. Getting into a fare war with another airline hurts both you and your opponent.
- The shorter the route (operating on maximum schedules), the higher the number of passengers. (Great for getting achievements). However, due to the short length passengers will pay less.
- Even though Concorde is not very fuel efficient it can make more profit than a fully loaded A380-800 (flying long-haul routes) if you fly between big cities with no competition.
- Buy fuel tank(s) and a maintenance depot at your hubs, as this will increase your income and decrease your expenses. The earlier in the game you do this, the better.
- Try to form a closed flight network in order to maximize the efficiency of counters and offices.
- Start hubs that have good stats but are not too popular (e.g. Dubai, Osaka, Nagoya, Busan, Sendai, Alexandria, South Korean cities, etc.). If your hub is New York, London, or Tokyo, you will have competition on every route, and your revenue will be lower. Identify cities that have low competition and build routes there.
- Be strategical with competition, there are two things you must look for when gauging whether or not to open a competition route: satisfaction of the aircraft the competitor is operating and aircraft size. If the satisfaction of the competing aircraft is low, you will most of the times get higher occupancy and more revenue. If your competitor is operating a smaller aircraft type, this is also viable. As an example, say you have a competitor operating at 1.60 (1.70 in ATO1) price level and they have full occupancy on a Tu-104 in the mid 1960s and you have a 727-100, by all means compete because the satisfaction of the 727-100 will allow you to gain occupancy and the larger aircraft type means you also beat out your competitor in revenues. The key to operating competition routes is to avoid fare battles where you do not have a significant advantage over your opponent.
- Make sure that you get as many slots between two cities as your aircraft can complete and have your plane fly as many slots as possible on every route.
- A good seating arrangement can earn more satisfaction and be cheaper (e.g. all economy but best pitch).
- Better pitch increases satisfaction, leading to a higher occupancy rate. Learn to find the perfect balance of seat pitch satisfaction and maximum seating
- Diversify. Passenger routes earn more profit than cargo routes but they have very high month-to-month fluctuation, they are more susceptible to economic downturns, and you face more competition from other players. Also, cargo aircraft are generally cheaper than passenger aircraft, and they don't ever need to be renovated. Your best bet is to balance your portfolio with both passenger and cargo aircraft, in the same way you would balance a financial portfolio between stocks (higher returns but greater risk and fluctuation) and bonds (lower but steadier returns).
- If the occupancy on one of your older routes is dropping -- especially on a route with competition -- check the satisfaction of the aircraft. If it is low, a quick renovation can be a lot cheaper than buying a new plane.
- To check if a route is adding on to your value, calculate the following: the purchase price of the aircraft flying the route X 0.41% (This is approximately how much money your aircraft is depreciating) subtract that amount from the profit that the route is making to obtain the value increase of the specific route.
- When flying competition routes, make sure the plane in question has a high satisfaction rating (this will allow you to attract more customers)
- Use higher latitude airports. Think of it this way; if you were to draw a horizontal line around the world at the latitude of Anchorage, it would be far shorter than one at the latitude of the equator. While there are not many cities far south of the tropics there are many a long way north (the isle of man has a higher north latitude than the southerly latitude of Tierra Del Fuego). An example is a distance from Mombasa (40°E)to Lima (77°W) is 12,807KM. Meanwhile, the distance from Saint Petersburg (30°E) to Anchorage (150°W) is just 6,548KM - A319 Range! So the distance is 51% less further north to go halfway around the world than it is too less than a third-round the world near the equator.
- If you want to fly a monopoly route with low satisfaction planes (e.g. Russian planes) cram in seats like sardines as the satisfaction is so bad there is no point in trying to make it good.
- Try to find routes between two high number cities and try to be the only operator (It really helps if you have the monopoly)
- Try starting routes early in the game from South America. Some of the cities have very good ratings and there is far less competition
- If you are in an economic crisis you may need to close the route that are not generating enough profit. Decrease invesment to 0-2, employment rate to 1-2 and employee salary to the minimum required for employee satisfaction
- Do not be afraid to invest in long haul routes such as Sydney - San Francisco or Cairo - New York. These can bring in massive profits around 8-10k per route (monopolies))
- When the 747 comes out, use it on an existing route with high demand. Your profits can jump to 8,000K-10,000K once in service!
- Eastern European cities such as Gdansk, Klaipeda and Vilnius have surprisingly good stats and low competition.
- The high demand South American cities, namely Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Lima, and to a lesser extent Buenos Aires have very low competition early in the game.
- If you have an airport that has good ratings and zero competition, do not be afraid to continue to expand there. This has happened to me twice, in one game in Hamburg and in another game in Santo Domingo where I was quite literally the only airline flying there. Both cities had a combined business and tourism of about 400-500, so if you see a potential gold mine like this, do not hesitate to step into the void.
Management Tips & Tricks
- Put every dollar you have to work for you. Don't sit on cash unless you're saving to buy a plane on your next turn!
- Try not to compete with people that have higher value than you do. You will typically get fewer passengers and revenue because they generally have means of getting more passengers and revenue.
- Don't use the Ilyushin IL-62 because it is not fuel efficient; you should wait a bit and use the DC-8-62.
- Avoid buying planes with bad fuel efficiency (using Russian made TU-104 is fine in the first 4 years), and in later years most Russian-made planes. Boeing is almost always the winner on fuel efficiency, even better than Airbus. Fuel efficiency doesn't matter much in the early years, but it will kill your airline in the late 70s and beyond if you are still flying planes with efficiency levels under 6.0.
- From the 1970's new seats can be selected when buying or renovating a plane, simply tap the arrow on the right to change seating (As a rule of thumb, the fancier it LOOKS, the higher class the seat). This will increase satisfaction. A new seat is released every 10 years.
- Try not to lease aircraft, especially early in the game. Many claim that leasing is good because you can get far more aircraft for less money, which is true, however, leased aircraft do not add on to your value, dropping you in the rankings. Leased aircraft also have an aircraft lease expense, which is something you don't want in the early game as it just adds to expenses.
- Never buy used aircraft unless it is has 10 years of service life left or you really need one fast. Because you have to replace them frequently when they run out of life to keep up satisfaction which can be annoying especially for big airlines.
- Operating with old planes isn't necessarily bad: Although it causes higher maintenance costs, planes with zero lifespans don't deprecate! You can operate them for another 55 months, if they don't crash. Psst... if they crash the insurance company will compensate you some 80% of the remaining value, which gives you more money than that of selling it.
- Always start in 1960 if you have any interest in being a top finisher. But if you're just playing for fun and don't care how you finish, a great time to join is during the economic crisis of 1978-1979. There are many cheap used planes on the market, many players are abandoning good routes or quitting altogether, and there is a huge boom in the 1980s that is about to start.
- If you are going to start in the US, do not start in a City like New York or Los Angeles (on the high end) or start in a city like Cincinnati (closer to the lower end). You are better off pairing two cities (one East Coast and one West Coast for obvious reasons) that have both tourism and business in the 200-300 range (one of those two can be higher than three hundred) like a Philadelphia and San Francisco pairing or a Charlotte and San Diego pairing.
- When selling planes, sell the plane immediately as it gains you immediate cash to acquire new aircraft to build new routes to (there's no point in sitting on a plane that you won't use, the additional 20% of the value is very trivial and typically won't exceed a few thousand grand per aircraft).
- Contrary to popular opinion, if you are in an economic crisis, the last thing you should do is reduce your investments in customer service and advertising and such. These are pretty trivial expenses but you want to keep them to keep your flights filled and to keep occupancy. Unless you're REALLY worried about your revenues during a crisis, do as little as possible (maybe open less routes and cut some employees and reduce their salaries because that's a major expense) other than that though, there's very little ways to legitimately reduce operating costs during a recession.
- When you start earning more and more money as the game progresses, start always ordering multiple quantities of aircraft at once. This allows you to create more routes in the same timespan compared to only ordering one aircraft.
- Don’t stockpile planes, always put them on a route in the month that you get them as they will just depreciate in value and their lifespan will start decreasing, even if not in use. Make sure to renovate regularly as in the long term this will increase customer satisfaction and occupancy on routes.
- Fuel tanks and maintenance depots are useless: they don't actually save much money because you have to pay a monthly facility rent to keep them open. You also have to replenish fuel tanks manually and it can be pretty cumbersome. For most large carriers, the monthly cost of operating a fuel tank at an airport far exceed the actual monthly cost of fuel. Maintenance depots are also a big waste of time: firstly, even if you do operate under the hub-and-spoke route structure, they don't save much money (and they definitely don't relative to their monthly cost) and secondly, most players in the game don't operate under the hub-and-spoke route structure because it doesn't provide any actual benefit in terms of feeding passengers.
Airport Tips & Tricks
- Contrary to popular opinion, it is not necessary to buy airports to be a top finisher. The only times buying airports is a must is if you're competing in a channel with a multitude of experienced players (look at the star(s) to the left of their company name and most importantly, how many of them they have). However, in the vast majority of channels you can easily become a top 10 (most of the time top 5) finisher without spending a single credit.
- if you build an airport, make sure it is in a high demand city, such as London, Tokyo, New York, Shanghai, Beijing etc. This is because,by the time you build your airport, the best routes will have likely to had been taken so it's a good idea to build airports in high demand cities to maximize your profits.
Player Made Strategies
None of these are necessarily wrong or right, but each provides their own benefits to the user!
- At the start of the game purchase at least 5 Russian TU-104's (you can actually purchase 8), max out the seating to 90 and create 5 very short distance routes between high tourist cities example (Paris-Amsterdam). Set the price to 1.30 then on the next turn Max it out to 1.60. This will give you extra money for creating 5 routes (50m) and also will help you quickly achieve the passenger bonus (in ATO2). You should be able to earn ~2.5m profit from each Tu-104 as well as having max occupancy.
- Fly the Concorde, there seems to be a stigma around it because it failed in real life, but it can make a fair buck. Code-share Concorde routes on major trunk routes such as Paris - New York to get as much occupancy as possible and share fuel costs.
- Pack your seats like sardines. In the early years, you need to keep seat pitch in the GOOD range (around 32 - 35 inches in economy) since there is only one kind of seat per class, and no in-flight perks like satellite phone or internet. But as the game progresses, you can pack the seats to the bottom of the POOR range (less than 32 inches in economy) and still get satisfaction of 70% if you buy the best seats and includes all the perks.
- At the start of the simulation when you have low amounts of flights, maximize the number of employees you have at your airlines, investment in advertising and training. This will help the service and name value to go up quickly and allow you to out compete others airlines at the start.
- Another strategy is to only use the Boeing 707, as this will allow for better competing (high satisfaction) as well as a fuel efficient aircraft with good capacity.
- Starting in 1970, you should begin to replace your old airplanes with new ones, especially Russian-made planes and those with fuel efficiency below 5.9. Failure to do so will kill your airline, especially during economic crises. Repeat this process every 10 years to keep your airline's happiness up. You want to do this before the economic crisis and the coinciding high fuel prices.
- If you are looking to invest in long-range routes early in the game, use the TU-114. The TU-114 has the longest range of any aircraft in the early 60s at 9,720 kilometres. It, however, has a 4.3 rating on its fuel efficiency so you want to replace it with the DC 8-62 when it comes out.
- After every turn, in order to price each route as competitively (and often profitable) as possible, use the "manage all routes" feature to adjust prices like so: For all routes with 99% to 100% capacity, increase the fare by a small amount (I usually do ~2%), which will maximize profits for your popular routes. Then change the filter to routes with 0% to 99% capacity, then decrease the fare by a small amount. After this, decrease the higher occupancy value by a chosen interval (I usually do multiples of 10%), so it now defines routes with 0% to 90% capacity, and decrease the fare by the same percentage you did before. Continue to do this, decreasing the higher value by your chosen interval each time until you have no routes left to modify. This will make it so routes that are not being filled will get lower fares proportional to their occupancy percentages, increasing the efficiency of making your routes competitive.
- Remember, you can quit at any time. If you feel you need to quit for reasons like negative profits, just quit. No one is going to hunt you down for it.
- Memorise when planes come out. This is written on many of the pages on this wiki. You can save up for them and bulk order them quickly as soon as they come out to get a satisfaction edge over the competition.
- Replace TU-104s that have been purchased for earlier in the game as soon as possible with larger aircraft such as the Boeing 727 (100 or 200 series are both fine) as this will give you an increase in revenue while also giving higher satisfaction, allowing you to easily beat stragglers on monopoly routes that have retained TU-104s.
- There is no advantage in the game for having a hub and spoke route structure, as you can't feed flights as you would in a true hub and spoke system. Therefore using a point to point structure is preferable.
- When choosing a channel in ATO3, choose a channel that is on the mid/late 1960s. You should start off with more than $1,000,000K, compared to starting of in the early 1960s, where you only start off with about $600,000K.