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People Express Management Flight Simulator

In April 1981, People Express Airlines was launched - and a business phenomenon took off. By the beginning of 1986, People Express had grown to be the fifth largest airline in the United States, and had revenues of about $1 Billion per year. Its innovative management style and structure were praised as the wave of the future, and companies around the world rushed to imitate them. Yet by September of 1986, People Express was nearly bankrupt, and was acquired at the last minute by Texas Air.

What went wrong?

The People Express Management Flight Simulator gives you the opportunity to find out by 'flying' the company yourself. The simulator functions just as an aircraft simulator does. You will take command of the firm and pilot it from startup to success. Each simulated time period you will make strategic and operational decisions, and receive feedback from your past decisions. You decide how fast to grow, how to set prices, how aggressively to advertise. Your hiring policies will influence morale, productivity, and turnover; your marketing efforts will shape the growth of demand; your competitors will fight back. You may face financial crisis or unexpected opportunity. You may go bankrupt, or grow to dominate the industry. But there is no winning or losing. The purpose of the simulator is to to give you insight into the issues raised by the case; to illustrate the difficulties of coordinating operations and strategy in a growth market; and to understand the dynamic interconnections among a firm, its market, and its competitors. The flight simulator is a laboratory in which you can systematically explore the consequences of different strategies without risking the fortunes of the real enterprise.

The simulator is used successfully for management education and training at the Sloan School of Management at MIT and many other universities and companies. It is extremely easy to use, requiring little or no training. The simulator can be used in courses on strategy, operations, human resource management, organizational behavior, simulation, and operations research. It is effective as an introduction to principles of management, or as an integrative experience.

The People Express Management Flight Simulator is available online and runs in a browser (IE9 and above, Chrome, Firefox Safari). The simulation includes comprehensive documentation and instructions.