Avatar Airlines applied for $15 million in CARES Act funding seeking a portion of the federal airline bailout – even though by their own admission they “have no flights, no overhead, administrative expense, or fixed costs at the present time.”
Barry Michaels has been trying to start an airline for at least 28 years. First under the name Family Airlines, and then Avatar Airlines, he’s had an idea to fly Boeing 747s between leisure destinations. He went to prison for tax and securities fraud raising money for the venture. The DOT insisted he give up control of the project.
He’s kept trying, and kept failing, for three decades. Two months ago he claimed to be buying 30 Boeing 747s and raising $300 million. That plan hasn’t gone anywhere. But where do you get when you need money? The same place all the other airlines do!
If Avatar ever gets money – and uses that money to start an airline – the plan they laid out would be to build their 747 route network:
Michaels wants to squeeze 581 passengers into a 747 in order to produce low seat costs. That’s great if you can fill the plane, but an empty 747 has very high per passenger costs. First flight of the morning on Tuesday and Wednesday from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and Saturday early morning Vegas to Albuquerque aren’t likely to be winners.
Avatar has an answer to that though…. advertising! They plan to make a profit painting planes in Coca Cola, Burger King, and Red Bull branded livery. The overhead bins will advertise men’s grooming.
Aside from the notion that a bailout for an airline that hasn’t raised money (and that’s committed crimes when it tried) is on its face absurd, it appears they didn’t even fill out the correct form.