Founding an airline

Starting the Experiment

I have decided to choose an existing, long-term game world for this tutorial. Hopefully, the airline will stay around for the long-term as well, so you will be able to follow its development and be able to inspect it even some time after I started the tutorial. Don’t expect it though to become very big, as my main playing airlines are on another world.

When I first started this tutorial, I thought as an experience player I can get it right in the first shot. My pride somehow got a little dent, as I did have to reset my airline and the one you see here is actually attempt number two. So don't worry if you can't get it right in the first time. It is perfectly normal to reset even a few times before you get one airline to stick.

AS Route Map Heatmap

On the above mentioned AS Route Map there was an opportunity showing up in Finland on Ellinikon. Since many player want to play in a big market, I thought I will try to get a foot-hold in one of those markets as well. So Europe it is. According to the heat map it could either be France/Italy or Finland. So let’s see, if we can replicate the real life Finnair somehow to connect Europe with the Far East. As with any business venture, it is certainly helpful if you have a certain strategy of what you want to achieve. This will help you focus on your actions. Once you are established and come to a certain size, you can add or amend your strategy. For the beginning, let’s stay focused.

Looking at the wave planner, the picture is not quite ideal.

AS Route Map Wave Planner for HEL

Looking at three waves per day, the distribution is quite one sided (or even quartered). So for a real hub, it’s not ideal, but if I can get it to establish as a long-haul hub to Asia, then I might have a chance. So let’s give it a try.

Holding, or not?

One of the first things you might want to consider is whether you want to create a holding structure or not. What does that mean?

With a holding structure you will have one a parent company that does not do much, except being a holding. If you later want to go public (i.e. do an IPO), then you will need a holding company. If not (and that is strongly recommended), then it doesn’t hurt. So here I’d suggest to go for the holding. It leaves all your options open, but there’s no draw-back. Even if you play on a world without the possibilities of an IPO, you might want to start off with a Holding company. You can then later create other companies under the holding (like a leasing company, a handling company for terminals, etc.) and still have a neat structure.

So, once we open up our Holding, we immediately create a sub as the airline and use the full AS$ 10M to create that daughter company. See the example below.

Initial Hub Selection

The initial hub (airport) selection is not really important. Your company will be head-quartered there, but that’s about it.

The country, where your hub is located, is the more important thing. It will determine your traffic rights. And with the traffic rights, you will have the possibility to serve certain airport pairs or not.

I have decided to place my hub in Helsinki (HEL). So this is in Finland, and therefore I will get the EU traffic rights. I can fly between any two cities in Europe (which is good and offers plenty of room to grow). And as a special case, I can only fly from any airport in Finland to any airport outside of the EU. But I cannot fly from an airport within the EU (that is NOT in Finland) to outside of the EU.

Keep that in mind, if you select your hub. For example, you can start your company in Malta, and fly in all of Europe, but for an International expansion, Malta might not be the very best place, as you can only fly from Malta to outside of the EU. More on traffic rights will follow later in this separate chapter (link will follow).

Choosing a name

When creating your airline, you will need to give it a name. You cannot use a name that is already a trademark in real life. If you want to call your name after a real life airline, then you’re in bad luck. That won’t be accepted and you will have to change your name. But you can use your creativity and come up with something similar, or even better, use a fantasy name.

Since my airline will be based in Finland, I’m gonna use their native name Suomi. Welcome to Air Suomi.

Found a new enterprise

You need to define three elements. The name (Air Suomi Group as this will be the holding), a code and the headquarters. I will place it in HEL. Click “Found enterprise”.

AS Enterprise has been founded

Now, since we want to have a holding, let’s create immediately the actual airline.

AS Found new enterprise

AS Found new enterprise

This is pretty much the same as above, you just have to select the parent company as well. So now we have our airline founded. Let’s get to work!

AS Dashboard

Comfort Functions

To avoid some costly expenses, I suggest to first go into the settings and define some settings that will prevent automatic seat configurations and hiring of crew. It is much better, if you define those yourself and then hire the staff when you actually need them.

AS Comfort functions

I usually go with these settings. You don’t necessarily want to have automatic settings, cos those are not really good default values.

AS Flight planning settings

Have a look at the other settings and adjust them as per your preferences. It’s not really important and basically down to your preferences.

I do prefer the light visual theme, so bear with me and the light screen shots…

And be aware, there is a second set of settings where you can define your preferences. On the top right corner, you will find the same settings screen again. This one defines the settings for the whole game world. The ones shown above only affect your specific airline in which you define those settings!

AS Settings for the world

Also under the settings (of your airline, so on the left hand side), you have a tab where you can upload your logos and publish some information about your airline. If you write here what languages you can communicate in, or some preferences on interlinings, that is all helpful for other players to bother you less (though many don’t bother to read it…).

AS Set a logo

The big logo has to be 300 x 100 pixels and is shown on your dashboard and the info page of your airline. The small logo is really tiny and needs to be 120 x 23 pixels. I usually design one in Photoshop, but any other graphics program will do. There are also some threads in the forum where you can ask for one, if you are just not that creative.

Also, the logo, similar to the names, can’t be a copy of a real life logo. You will have to do something of your own. And the small logo goes through a screening process by some moderators. They might reject it if it is too bad or does not comply with some basic rules. Normally, your logo should be up and running in a couple of days max.

The small logo will show on the arrival and departure screens of the airports, plus on your alliance page (if you join one).

Immediate Delivery Program

Normally, when you found a new airline, you can enjoy the benefits of the immediate delivery program. That means, you will get aircraft delivered immediately when ordered new, without the normal production times. This works up to AS$ 10M, so depending on your choice of aircraft, that is a few aircraft.

Enabling Transfers

Another setting you might want to check is if you have the Networking enabled. This is normally set, but just in case.

AS Check Interlining

Without this option, you could only offer point to point flights and your passengers would not be able to connect from one plane to the other. A bit like an LCC in real life. Although it would be nice to copy an LCC concept here in AS, unfortunately this does not work at the moment. You will most likely fail, so leave this checked. Building up connections is one of the more important things to make your airline successful.