Need way to link aircraft together

I think it would be really great if aircraft could be linked to travel together as a single unit. Obviously the group would only travel as fast as the slowest aircraft. The most obvious application would be 2 Helios linked together to move up to 10 soldiers quickly. There is even a 7 month old suggestion on Canny about this (not by me):

So what do you say. Has the time come for aircraft “fleets”?

Also, while we’re at it. The game should show an ETA for each destination. Nothing fancy, just you mouse over a destination and X d Y h appears on the geoscape.

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From my view, it has some purpose for air to air combat, but not much point for mission deployments as you can effectively do that today just by flying the same two ships with the same two squads to a location. Your bottle neck will be the 8 person deployment limit.

So as you saying to lift the 8 person deployment limit?

No absolutely not. Unless you mean as a way of dealing with aircraft capacity limits within the existing framework of the game. A way that could be substantially improved by a modest UI change. (It is also worth noting that most missions are capped at 8 but IIRC nests and citadels are capped at 10.)

So you have the Tiamat, the Anu barge, which can carry up to 8 soldiers which is enough for most purposes but is also famously slow. On the other hand, you have the Syn Helios, very fast but can only carry 5 soldiers. 5 soldiers is enough early on but at some point you will really be under pressure as the game progresses in difficulty. You could move 8 soldiers around very quickly by loading up 2 Helios aircraft with 4 soldiers each and moving them together as a pair. You can do that right but here is the thing. To move 2 Helios from point A to point B, we 1. select the first Helios and click on point B, 2. the game automatically unpauses so we click the pause button, and 3. we select the other Helios and click on point B. Why not just designate the 2 Helios as traveling together in a pair and click on point B once?

I would say to get used to never keeping 2 Helios together. Not a good strategy. You’re better off separating them to do 2 separate missions at a time (or even just plain old scouting and trading) than directing them towards a single mission together. If for whatever reason you feel the need to have more than 5 soldiers in said mission, and the two Helios happen to be the two closest craft to the mission, converge on it from wherever they are currently at. It’s unlikely they’d arrive at the same time anyway.

In that odd case where the two Helios happen to be refueling/rearming at the same base at the same time (it happens), and a mission comes up that you want both of them to arrive at… I could see this kind of being handy, but that’s a lot to change in a game just for a little added convenience :P.

It be fairly small change imo. Just crib a few notes from Civ 6. When two or more aircraft occupy the same node on the geoscape an icon appears: an open chain. Click and the icon changes to a closed chain and the aircraft are now linked. Click it again and the icon changes back to an open chain and all aircraft are de-linked and move individually.