Summary: This is a small help for newbies with no experience with AM-games to get a good start in AM3.
Welcome to AM3, an online management game, where you are the head of a virtual airline. As such, your main task is to set up routes to different targets and depart your aircraft (or short a/c), buy new ones, train your staff, set prices, expand and grow.
To get an easy access to the game, you will start in the so called “puppy” mode. This mode lasts for your first five flights. Within this period, you will have a full a/c, which means that setting up your starting plane on the right route is very helpful. Many other options of the game will not be available yet – but that is ok.
You start with a Boeing 737-100, a solid a/c with 118 seats and a reach of 3,444km. You can sell this a/c to buy other aircraft (which you should only do if you know what you do), or you take it and use it on your first route.
Creating routes is your main task as a manager. A route consists of two main parts and one optional part. The first main part is your HUB, the airport you have chosen as your base station. To create a route, you need a HUB. Later on you can open more HUBs, to start your a/c from other cities as well. But for now you have one, and it will be enough for the next week at least as well.
The second main part is a destination. AM3 contains hundreds of airports from all over the world. Each destination has an overall demand and three sub-demands (called economy, business and first). The demands reflect the amount of passengers you will have on your flights. Your destination is the factor influencing the number of pax on your aircraft later. Not your HUB.
For the start you will need to watch out for destinations with a high general demand (95%+ is recommended) and a high economy sub-demand (75%+ is recommended). To see the stats of a potential destination, you will need to research it. You could also search the board for the “demand sheet” or use Stargazers beautiful Google Map
to find your potential destinations. In general, capitals are almost always good destinations.
The destination must be within reach of your a/c. Unless you use the optional part of a route – the stopover. A stopover is an airport, where your a/c lands, fills its tanks again and flies on to the destination. So easily put, a stopover doubles the range of you’re a/c. Stopovers do also have demand and sub-demand, which will count for the success of your route as well (= they influence the number of pax on your aircraft). So make sure to use high general demand and high economy demand stopovers.
You can use any airport as HUB, destination or stopover. As you like it.
A last thing: Airports do have different runway lengths. Your aircraft need a certain minimum runway for takeoff and landing. When you play in easy mode, all this doesn’t matter. If you play in realism mode, you will have to watch for the runway length as well, since the game won’t let you create a route when the runway is too short for your aircraft.
For now, as your first steps, you search for a good destination and a good stopover, to put your Boeing on a route with a total length of ~6,500km. You then create that route. While creating it, you will be asked to give it a name – feel free to choose one – and a ticket price. You can use the button “auto-price”, which will give you a number based on the quality of your airline (which you can’t change yet). You should NEVER charge a price below auto-price. NEVER! You can increase the auto-price amount by a certain factor, which will lead to less passengers (called pax), but give you higher profits. But be warned – charging too much leads to an empty aircraft!
Route created? Fine. Now comes the best part: Go to routes, and you will see a green button on the right reading “depart”. Click it and you will see your a/c taking off while you are given the stats of that flight, how many passengers you transport, how much money you made. The routes-list now changes, and you will see how long your aircraft needs, until it lands again. Clicking it will bring you to a details list with more information. Later on, when you have more aircraft, you can depart all that are ready at once.
You will never need to wait for your aircraft to “fill”. If the green button is available, you should click it and depart your aircraft instantly. Waiting will have no effect on your passengers. Your flight time will always consist of the time airborne (this is the part you get paid for) and the turnaround time on the ground, which is between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on you airline. So it might not be a good idea to just fly 300km, since your aircraft will sit more time on the ground when it will be airborne. Go for longer routes. Always.
As you noticed, your aircraft used fuel. Just like your car does. You start with healthy 500.000lbs of fuel, which would last for 637 flight hours of your starting aircraft. The fuel price fluctuates heavily. In realism mode it can go up to almost $3,000 per 1,000lbs. You shouldn’t buy at that price. If fuel is at $1,000 or below (in realism mode – it is cheaper in easy), you should consider buying some. It is a good idea to have enough fuel for a full day of departures ready.
Since your aircraft flies in real time, you now have enough time to have a look around the rest of the game. Don’t start buying all different things. Only do it, if you really need it. For the start you don’t need a hangar. You don’t need another HUB. You don't need to start marketing, yet. All you will need are additional aircraft. There is a basic rule: Don’t buy aircraft with less than 50 seats. Better is always an aircraft with 90 or more. Take your time to search the different models, have a look at their speed, their seats, their runway requirements, their fuel consumption, their price.
When searching the board, which is highly recommended before asking questions, you will come across a range of aircraft suggested for beginners. The most common is the DC-9-10 by McDonnel-Douglas. But it is not your only option.
Basically you must decide, if you want to go for used a/c or for new ones. New ones are more expensive – but used ones may need maintenance much earlier. If maintenance, or checks, is due, you better sell a used plane. You will see how much flight hours you have left when you look on the aircraft page. An aircraft needing maintenance can’t be departed with pax. You will need to replace it or do the maintenance.
Enough read for now. Don't rush for anything but good planes on good routes in the first days. Happy flying.