Airline Manager 4 or AM4 is rather a simple managerial simulation game and yet it is addictive in a strange way. Simulation games that require planning, strategic moves and an eye on income and expenses had always synced with my interest in project management. Image source: AM4 Game Site
One of them is Sim City which puts the player in the seat of the mayor of a major city and another is FA Club Manager which puts the player in the seat of an English League football manager.
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The “4” in the game’s name indicates that this is the 4th version of the airline management game. The best part of the game is that it is a free game for the very basic play game. A short description of the game from the website shows the overall game features:-
Free airline management game.
Airline Manager 4 offers many new and exciting features, such as live flight tracking and much much more.
– Purchase aircraft from the market with a selection of more than 350 different aircraft.
– Create routes from more than 4,000 real-life airports.
– Track your flights live on the map
– Purchase hubs all over the world
– Keep your fleet maintained
– Handle your staff
The game provides 2 different options for a new player – Easy and Realism.
In AM4 you can choose either “Easy” or “Realism” wherein in Easy mode, the aircraft will operate at 4x speed and in Realism would be on actual speed and time. In Realism, the players also need to take into consideration of even runway length.
Image source: AM4 Facebook
When signing up you can also choose between 2 starter aircraft – Boeing 737-800 which has a range of 7,000 km but slower at 780 km/h and Airbus A320-200 which has a range of 5,700 km but faster at 823 km/h.
Main Expenses To Cover
Just like a real airline, there is income and expenses to manage with income primarily coming from the sale of tickets which varies from types of seats sold, destination and if there are marketing campaigns to boost airline reputation. and if you have issued an IPO, from buying and selling other airline stocks.
There are more expenses to cover mainly aviation fuel that changes every 30 minutes with fuel price shooting up as high as $2,500 for every 1,000 lbs (pound) and as low as $360 for every 1,000 lbs (pound). It depends on the timing as the prices changes at random. One saves a huge amount if you can lock aviation fuel at the lowest price.
Image source: IATA
The other primary expense is CO2 which also changes price at every 30 minutes with CO2 quota price shooting up as high as $200 for every 1,000 lbs (pound) and as low as $100 for every 1,000 lbs (pound). A low CO2 quota does not stop your planes from flying but it does beat up the reputation.
By the way, this is why airlines worry about CO2 quota:-
Policy actions and the efforts of the industry have led to improvements in fuel efficiency over recent years. For instance, the amount of fuel burned per passenger dropped by 24% between 2005 and 2017.
However, these environmental benefits have been outpaced by sustained growth in air traffic, with passengers in 2017 flying on average 60% further than in 2005.
In the EU in 2017, direct emissions from aviation accounted for 3.8% of total CO2 emissions. The aviation sector creates 13.9% of the emissions from transport, making it the second-biggest source of transport GHG emissions after road transport.
If global aviation were a country, it would rank in the top 10 emitters. Someone flying from Lisbon to New York and back generates roughly the same level of emissions as the average person in the EU does by heating their home for a whole year.
Image source: AM4 Game Site
Then there are other expenses that need to be taken care which includes:-
- Fleet Purchase – the first plane is provided free of charge but then again, without fleet expansion, there is no expansion of income. There are several considerations before deciding on the plane to purchase – number of seats, range and fuel consumption. The plane that has the long-range, flies fast, has a high number of seats and using low fuel consumption per kilometre.
- Staff Salary – this runs on a daily basis although the amount is small. Salary indirectly impacts staff morale which in return impacts
- Marketing Campaign – this is considered as paying good money to get more money. Paying for marketing campaigns increases the airline’s reputation.
- Route Purchase – every new route for the airline to fly the planes cost money to the airline and thankfully it is a one-time payment. Of course, every time route is changed, there is an additional payment that can go as high as $300,000.
- Fleet Maintenance – just like a car, planes are subject to wear and tear and requires periodic maintenance and also after certain hours of flight. A Boeing 737-800 requires audit maintenance after 470 hours of flight meanwhile an Airbus A220-100 requires audit maintenance after 400 hours of flight.
Image source: AM4 Game Site
In addition to cash for expenses, players also need to have points which are gained by performing some tasks called “Achievements”. The points then can be used to enable more features in the game namely to enable cargo operations and to issue IPO for the airline.
And the best part of this is that these achievements are that it is presented in a cryptic clue such as:-
- Across the States which requires a flight from Los Angeles to New York JFK
- California Tour which requires a flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco
- Charles Lindbergh which requires a flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle to New York JFK
- Crossing France which requires a flight from Berlin Tegel to Madrid Adolfo Suarez
- Big 1-2-3 which requires a flight from Algeria with a stopover at Congo Kinshasa and then to Sudan
- Trump Biden which requires a flight from New York JFK to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, USA
- Arnold Stallone which requires a flight from Graz, Austria to New York JFK
Overall there are about 81 achievements to unlock with comes with points varying from 5 to 15 points.
Image source: AM4 Game Site
It takes a longer time to complete one game round because some of the routes take hours for the plane to depart & arrive. My longest flight with one stopover is 10 hours one way whilst the shorter ones are about 4 hours. Yes, it can be boring indeed but then again this game requires a lot of upfront planning in the same manner as all other managerial simulation games.
AM4 is actually a very promising game but it does need some improvement in terms of making the gameplay to be a bit more interesting. They already have a stock exchange that can make a profit or loss for the player.
Apparently, they have catering and banking in the game but the general comment in the forum states that it is a waste of time. Perhaps they can introduce some crisis management that may add the bite into the running of the airline.