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As planes arrive to your airport you must guide them, queue them and keep both the planes and their passengers happy. Planes need to land, unload, possibly repair and/or refuel, load, and finally take off. Often you will have multiple planes with varying demands in your airport simultaneously, creating queue-management and puzzle gameplay elements.
As you satisfy a plane's needs (landing, docking, fueling, etc.), you earn cash which goes towards your ranking for the particular stage. Like any good puzzle game, you need to land combos to increase your multiplier and your score. This is achieved by landing planes on the same runway soon after each other; launching planes from a different runway will also increase the mulitplier; and servicing planes of the same colour at the same terminal. Multipliers can reach up to 4x.
As planes wait, they become unhappy and the amount of money earned for servicing them decreases. If a plane is left in the air for too long, it will eventually leave but planes already landed in your airport cannot leave until you service them.
Between stages, you can improve your airport by purchasing upgrades, using the money earned in previous stages on that level. The improves include:
- Waiting areas that reduce plane attrition
- More terminals
- Faster terminals
- More landing strips
- Landing strips that keep the multiplier for longer
- Radar to see the colours of incoming planes
- Cake, which increases happiness of planes on the ground
- Movies, which increases happiness of planes on the ground
- Fans to defog your runways
- De-icers to remove ice from runways
- Paint jobs to alter the colour of planes
- Faster gas station
- Faster repair station
- Access to larger, more finicky, but more rewarding planes