This week I implemented, more or less spontaneously, one of the most radical changes in the history of AirlineSim. This change was - just as spontaneously and also as an answer to some elementary questions on AirlineSim's future - decided on the weekend before, at the weekly AirlineSim team meeting. Accordingly, I want to inform all players who aren't participating in the current alpha test about this change and its impact on the game.
The change sounds quite simple at first: Holdings were eliminated. In fact, it was a severe intervention which took more or less 5 days to complete and will almost certainly cause bug or the other for a significant time, but the benefits almost certainly make it worth it.
So, how will AirlineSim look like without holdings? In the future, holdings will just be enterprises, being able to do everything your airlines can use today: buy planes, plan flights, construct buildings and so on. The difference is that, at the same time, they retain the ability to hold subsidiary enterprises and deal in shares. I will explain how this can be used practically using an example below.
Of course, holdings won't disappear after this step. If you register your first enterprise, it will get a "holding flag". This means that this holding-enterprise will always be under control of your account and can never be listed on the stock-market. Therefore, it will take over the original holding's role and is consequently crucial for the subsidiary's traffic rights. Also, the old anti-cheat rules concerning transactions between several holdings in one account will persist.
The considerably faster access to the game is the important advantage of this model. On a revised registration page you can register an enterprise and start playing within just a few minutes. A manual screening will only be necessary in exceptional cases, such if our automatic checking system has found high similarities to real or in-game enterprises.
But as announced above, let me give a brief example:
- Start playing: You register an enterprise and give it the name "Dodo Airlines". You lease 2 or 3 airplanes and start your flight business. After playing as usual, your enterprise has gained some respectable size.
- After some successful days/weeks you decide that your airline requires a feeder-network. Because you don't want to have the maintenance categories within your mainline and also prefer a clean corporate structure, you found "Dodo Regional" as a subsidiary of "Dodo Airlines".
- [not yet realized, but possible feature] The mainline further grows and you plan to go public soon. Hence you found another subsidiary, let's call it "Dodo International". You transfer aircraft and flights from "Dodo Airlines" into the new enterprise, which will from now on operate the business.
- As planned "Dodo International" is going public and you are gaining new capital. The dividend goes to the new shareholders and "Dodo Airlines".
- With the dividend "Dodo Airlines" buys the cargo-airline "Emu Cargo" but soon gives up the business due to unsatisfying profitability.
- Meanwhile, "Dodo International" has to face rising competition on some sectors and therefore decides to found the low-cost spin-off "Kiwi". Hence, "Kiwi" is an enterprise on third level. "Kiwi" belongs to "Dodo International", which belongs to "Dodo Airlines".
- [not yet realized, but possible feature] "Dodo International" has become a member of "The Birds" alliance. The members decide to found a handling company which is directly responsible to the alliance. From the alliance's liquid funds, "The Bird's Ground Services" is founded, which constructs and runs its own terminals at 5 of the alliance's hubs. [Remark: This example was only chosen to illustrate that alliances can technically hold shares while they can't be sold themselves. How this feature could be implemented in the future is still completely open.]
- "Dodo Regional's" results are unsatisfying. After an initial public offer, "Dodo Airlines" sells all shares except for 10%.
- After intense restructuring, "Dodo Regional", which in the meantime has founded a local airline for niche markets named "DuckAir", achieves a better performance. Consistent with the new business structure, "Dodo International" buys 30% of the mother's former regional subsidiary and becomes the enterprises biggest shareholder [Remark: Hence, "DuckAir" became an enterprise on level 4].
- Unfortunately, the Dodo-group now only holds 40% of "Dodo Regional". Given that all other shareholder are domiciled abroad, traffic rights were lost on some routes. Therefore, you decide on a gentleman-agreement with a fellow player and CEO of "Cat Airways", which is located in the same country as the Dodo-enterprises, that he gets involved in "Dodo Regional" with 11%. The traffic rights have been secured.
You could go on like this forever. Theoretically, there are no limits to the shareholder-tree... it would be possible to have enterprises on level 10 or below. The technical precautions against circular relations have been made but still have to be tested intensively. The same applies for the unfortunately necessary anti-cheat mechanisms.
That's the report for now. I hope it has caught your attention for 1.5. Assuming that this post has produced more questions than answers, I'm looking forward to discussions on our forums or the chat!
Have a happy weekend!