With 200+ aircraft in its database, AM3 offers you a wide range of flying stock to choose from. There is two handful of aircraft, which you will get recommended when asking on the forum. But the best thing is to be able to select the right aircraft yourself. So let’s have a look at the details of your next investment:
This is the maximum number of passengers, your aircraft can carry when configured for 100% economy seats. Since you get paid for pax carried, it is an important number.
This is the amount of km (yes, we are in the metric system) your a/c flies per hour. It is also a very important factor. Since maintenance is based on flight hours, and you will get paid for km travelled, the speed of your a/c determines how much money you will be able to generate until maintenance. An A321-200 will have flown 835k km when the first maintenance is due - the DC-10-10 173k km more. So the DC will have made you a whole lot of extra money. If you have the option to choose different engines – always take the fastest one. The extra fuel won’t matter.
PAX-KM PER HOUR (or pax-km)
This is a virtual number simply based on multiplying the pax and the speed of an a/c. The number you get represents the units you may get paid for by flying one hour. So if you have a DC-10-10 with 252,000 pax-km, you know that the maximum income per flight hour would be 252,000 * $0.7 * 1.5 * 1.748 = $462,520 (if there should ever be a World Cup at Paraguay). Real income will be lower in most cases, based on your destinations and utilization.
It shows, how far your a/c can travel before it needs to be refilled (= you reach a stopover or a destination). While many people think range is important for profit, I disagree on that view. Range determines the flight-duration and thus the question of how efficient you will be in keeping all your a/c flying (remember – ideal routes are something with a total flying time (including turnaround) of 12 / 24 / 36 / 48h). Since you don’t get paid for the turnaround hour on the ground, a/c with longer range will be able to generate a slightly better profit (turnaround costs, nothing else) and enable you to keep your a/c flying all day long – even when you are sleeping irl. But nothing more.
In early game fuel can be a factor in realism mode. In later game it’s not a factor at all. Taking a price of $1,000 per 1,000lbs (and if you forget about the Concorde – just don’t buy it yet), even a KR860 or the A380-900 will have fuel costs of below $28k per flight hour. A DC-9-10 will cost you ~$11k – but also generate income of ~$100k per flight hour once you are big enough for marketing, still above $50k when not. If two a/c are very similar in other areas, fuel may be a decisive factor. But only a subordinated one.
This is the amount of concrete you need to safely land your a/c. It limits realism players in the selection of airports and plays no role at all for easy players. Some early aircraft only need 2,000feet of concrete to start and land.
Unlike in the real world, the aircraft pricing in AM3 is part of the gameplay and represents different stages of the game. You get new aircraft for as low as $12,280 (AN2), or you buy the biggy big bird A380-900, which comes at a base cost of $500mio (and with all extras ~$640mio). So buying a pax-km (see above) costs $4.26 with the AN2 (which is not worth buying, though), but $542 for the A389. Why you buy the big bird anyway? Because with a pax-km of 923,125 it is THE endgame aircraft for you. In the early game your goal is to find aircraft with a low price per pax-km, because these will ensure a fast growth.
NEW OR USED
It is a long discussion about new or used aircraft. When buying new aircraft, you will have to pay $500k once for the licence. Your aircraft will be more expensive. But you will have 1,000 flying hours, until they need maintenance (after two months I started to retire my early game birds). Until that point you generate income. You also can configure a new a/c for the route you put it on easily.
Used aircraft in comparison don’t need a licence. They are much cheaper in general. But you have to watch out for the time left until the first maintenance is due. With a DC-9-10, which will have made up its very cheap costs within 5-15 flight hours, this is not a problem. But with bigger birds buying used is not the best option available, since you will have to make up your investment in 200 flight hours and not in 1,000.
What else? Well, you know you have turnaround costs of $18k when being a high cost airline (which you should be, because it will help you grow due to higher ticket prices). So flying small aircraft with only a few seats on short routes is your safest way into filing for chapter 7 (you go bankrupt and will have to start new or get out your credit card to help the Dev). Try to use the maximum range of your aircraft using stopover. Never buy aircraft with less than 50 seats. Recommended are 90 seats and above.