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Flying: Beyond A to B
Aspen Institute • June 20-22 • Aspen, Colorado

How many wake-up calls does the legacy airline industry need? First it was Northwest; then it was American. Most recently, it was JetBlue, where consumers' disappointment was more bitter because of dashed expectations.

Meanwhile, government-funded space programs seem almost paralyzed by risk aversion and budget cuts.

But disappointed customers create opportunities for start-ups who can cheer them up again. Start-ups are emerging with the promise of a different kind of experience, whether for business or pleasure. Entrepreneurs are starting new companies with different models and different attitudes. Their businesses range from space tourism to air taxis, from luxury charter jet services to light sports planes for the kind of people who ride motorbikes for fun.

Flight School is for those entrepreneurs and for the venturous capitalists who will finance them. Read my Wall Street Journal commentary here (subscription required).

The format
Flight School is a short, intensive Wednesday evening to Friday noon workshop focused on business issues: models, markets, financing, strategy. Sessions are moderated by Esther Dyson, whose PC Forum helped shape the emerging PC and Internet marketplaces. On Friday afternoon, we'll run a Zero-G flight (separate ticket required). Speakers and attendees come from the marketplace: aircraft makers and aircraft operators, entrepreneurs, marketers, analysts, investors, press and regulators.

If that describes you, please join us June 20 to 22 in Aspen, Colorado.

The theme: Flying: Beyond A to B
The legacy airline business has become a commoditized, tenuously profitable market driven by price, with little differentiation among the players. The space business has been a world of cost-plus contractors and government projects.

But all that is changing as new entrants seek to exploit a newly mobile and service-conscious clientele for both business travel and leisure experiences. They face many challenges, but two are key: learning how to sell experience rather than engineering results, and persuading the financial community that the market is real.

Our panel sessions will focus on these issues, in practical, real-world terms.