Updated: April 21, 2021
Planes go brrr. At the time of writing, this was the only piece of information available on the Workers & Resources fandom page regarding the newly introduced aircraft functionality. Things may or will change by the time you read this article, but I had to toil all on my own, figuring out how to get my airport working, and even more importantly, my aircraft factory working.
So comrades, I want to tell you how I mastered the planes in Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic. I've already written two industry guides, and also showed you how to manage train traffic in a smart way that doesn't hog the limited border connections, with short external and long internal traffic loops. All right, now we will take to the air. Follow me.
Your first airport
The purpose of having lengthy stretches of tarmac in your Republic is to allow planes to take off and land, loaded with tourists, who will spend their hard-earned dolla dolla bills in your Socialist Utopia. But you can also use the airport as a cargo facility, to bring in goods and send commodities across the border. Because the planes are fast, they can do this definitely faster than ships, about which we shall talk in the future. But then, they are not as efficient as trains, not significantly faster than trains, and they definitely are prohibitively more expensive. Which is why in real life, about 50% of luxury goods piggyback in the cargo hold of passenger planes.
The tourism is a brand new thing in Workers & Resources - you can't get them via land connections, only ship and air. So, novelty. And no useful information on how to get things working. In the end, the most meaningful part of the new transportation is to build aircraft in the factory and then send them abroad. For instance, a brand new Il-76 can fetch a handsome 1-2M rubles (depending on the year), and if you're efficient, you can build a couple every year. Decent moneh.
But how do you do it?
The trickiest part in building the airport is placing the terminal parking spots just right. Unlike all other builds that have external factory connections, the airport has an "internal" connection. You actually need to plop the parking onto the terminal. Otherwise, the airport will complain that it doesn't work. But the error is so ambiguous, you won't really know what to do.
If you place the parking spot correctly, it will turn bright green. You can do two individual spots - the size determines what planes can dock, or you can use combo three-spot parking, which allows for up to six planes to visit the terminal (ideally). However, you will still need a separate parking (somewhere), so you can actually spawn/buy new planes.
Once you do this, you will need to connect everything with taxiways - they need to connect the parking to the runway - one or more. With a control tower in place, and workers reporting to duty, you should now have a functioning airport, with all the brrr noises.
All that said, I found the air traffic feature underwhelming. If you want any meaningful number of tourists to come in, you will need a lot of expensive planes. Even then, you won't really see troves of enthusiastic travelers emplane at your terminal. Add to that the necessary chain of buses and hotels, and you'll be running a neat, net loss. The on-the-ground traffic control is slow and messy. Even with only 4-5 planes, I quickly got into deadlock situations, with planes waiting on one another even when they shouldn't, or planes waiting at a taxiway crossroad, even though the other lanes were empty. Somewhat like the buggy train signaling. So while this be a novelty, this not be in the spirit of glorious socialist city building. Pretty graphics, though.
The concept here is similar to both the conventional factory industry and the airport placement. One, you will need tons of resources to build your planes. Two, you will need to connect the aircraft manufacturing facility to the airport. This means placing one or two parking spots at the designated areas (they turn green when allowed), and from there, you will need a stretch of taxiway to the runway. Otherwise, you won't be able to export your aircraft.
Once you nail the placement, you will actually enjoy it. Building planes take time and effort, and they are the most complex artifact in the game at the moment, but do they look fabulous. You will need aluminum, steel, mechanical and electric components, electronics, fabric, and plastic. I got a neat production going. I started with smaller aircraft first, just to get the hang of it, but as I've shown you in the second industry guide, if you want to be profitable, you want to build the most expensive blueprints available. As soon as I had the Il-76 available, I started assembling them, a good 2/year or so. Then, I'd export all the excess aluminum. Profit! This game is soooo good.
There you go, comrades. Aircraft industry, airports. Job done. Now, I am quite certain all of this will change and improve, very soon. Workers & Resources is still an early-release game, and new stuff is being added all the time. Therefore, we will probably get more meaningful tourism, aircraft hangars, maybe crates to ship aircraft parts via land or sea routes, use helicopters and maybe even ekranoplans. A man can dream.
If you want to expand your gameplay into the third dimension, hopefully this guide has the right tips and tricks to get you started. I was quite frustrated with the parking placement for quite a while, and not a single resource out there explained it to me. Perhaps some of the Youtube videos do, but like before, I'm not in a mood to sit through long minutes of effectively unsearchable, unindexed video content. And that is all for today. Back to playing I am. I've only racked up a few hundred hours so far, and those are rookie numbers, I need to pump those numbers up. Dosvidanya.