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LoFare Airlines

Some initial questions you may have...

If you have other questions that you would like to see answered on this page please contact us.

What time period is needed in class?

This simulation can be accommodated in a three hour class although more extensive use is also possible.

Can I afford it?

Our pricing system is on a per head basis so if you have 20 students in your class you need 20 student licences. For academic use the LoFare Airlines simulation is charged at £10.00 per person) so a class of 20 would cost £200.00. Academic licences are subject to a minimum charge of £60.00. For executive programs the cost is £30.00 per participant on the course.

Can students have this on their own PC?

Yes, we can make a code available that permits this. However the duration is limited to the period of the course. Please request a student licence code when ordering.

Getting started - the interface

When you first open the game you are first asked to select whether to "choose a challenge" or to "start a new airline".

If you select to run a challenge you can select 1 of Four pre-set challenges that are included with the game, covering different levels of complexity. Each starts with the business already operating:

  • 'Slow start' offers a small and slow-growing business.
  • 'New competition' features a strongly growing business that has attracted new competitors.
  • 'Chasing a rival' is a newly started business, entering the market 4 years after strong competitors started.
  • 'Complex issues' features a well-developed business in a maturing market, with established competitors.

Selecting "start a new airline" opens up options to select

simple level decisions which allow choice of leasing more (or fewer) aircraft, offering services on more/fewer routes, average fare per journey and marketing spend

OR

advanced level decisions which also include the option to buy as well as lease aircraft, change the frequency of flights offered and hire call-center staff.

Next you can select whether to activate competing low-fare airlines in addition to competition from full service airlines. You can even vary how aggressive the competition is. If low-fare competitors are active, decisions for opening routes, marketing and fares are split so players can make different choices on routes they operate alone and others where low-fare competitors are active.

Having set up the game, the main screen now opens with some data open and the decision box to top left. Teams choose when to run forward and the simulation runs forward one month with each step, or can choose to repeat decisions over several months.

The main report is the resource map which displays in "simple" format where simple decisions are selected and in more detail where advanced decisions are in use. There is a "secret switch" which allows teachers to set the simulation so that these do not display: it is a popular choice to run the simulation first without the aid of these resource maps and introduce them in a second round of play.

There are a number of reports available to help the you see how you are doing and these are split between "Management reports" - and Financial reports. These are supplemented by graphs and tables of the data so players can select a format they are comfortable with.

Getting started - playing the game:

Teams of players (we suggest 3-4 people per team) enter their decisions and then select Run.

They use the reports etc to see how their decisions are affecting business performance and they also get some feedback form various "news reports" and messages.

The default period that the game runs forward is 3 months, players can select to change this to 6 months, 1 year, 2, 5 10 or 20 years (Menu | Simulation | Set run period).

What documentation is provided?

For Teachers use only

  • Instructor guide with an introduction to the simulation, slides and notes
  • Slides full size
For distribution to students

  • User Guide
  • Slide handouts
  • Team sheet for recording Year 10 performance summary

Inspection copies of documentation are available on request.
Illustrative teaching schedules are included in the Instructor Guide.

Assessing student performance, general guidance when using Microworlds

  1. Students, individually or in groups, can be asked to plan their response to a challenge prior to seeing how that response plays out in the simulation. The original plan can then be compared to the resulting performance outcomes delivered and students asked to report on the reasons for differences between the plan and the result.
  2. Using any of the challenges provided set an objective to be achieved (typically a target for earnings, within constraints of the your choice). Request individuals or groups to experiment with alternative policies, and report on their recommended solution, including quantitative statement of policy and time-path of results.
  3. Request individuals or groups to seek comparable situations where business growth depends on building both physical resources (in this case, sites) and service delivery capacity (here, waiting staff), and report on:
    • the time-path of the key variables,
    • other important resources, the performance challenge that management faces, and
    • suggested solutions, including scale, timing and outcomes.
    Typical examples:
    • airlines (aircraft and service-staff – plus take-off slots…)
    • banking (transaction-processing capacity and call-centre staff - plus a financial service product range, equivalent to a restaurant menu)
    • telecoms (network capacity and service support staff – plus retail outlets or other channels for supplying handsets and selling contracts).
  4. Request individuals or groups to seek comparable situations where building and maintaining investor support is critical, and report on:
    • why this support is particularly essential in their chosen case (in Beefeater’s case, to ensure continuing availability of expansion capital)
    • the mechanisms by which this support affects the management (in this case, via capital allocation and profit targets)
    • means by which the business manages this support (in this case, for example, by not delivering such high profit growth that HQ comes to hold high expectations)
    Important examples will include new venture start-ups, where:
    • the entrepreneur must sustain the confidence of direct investors
    • this confidence is manifest in their support for the next round of funding
    • management sustains this support by maintaining an expectation of a high valuation for the business on disposal or flotation.
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