Family Airlines started about 27 years ago. The idea was fly 747s between Las Vegas and Los Angeles as well as Newark, later adding cities like Miami and Honolulu.
The government refused to process an application for service, reportedly insisting that founder Barry Michaels give up control of the project. Nonetheless, he continued raising money and the SEC filed suit over a securities offering.
Michaels tried again with Family Airlines in 2008 with the same business plan and was turned down. They adopted the Avatar Airlines name in 2010 and tried again claiming that Michaels was no longer involved — though he was concomitantly representing himself to airports as the airline’s chairman.
Avatar Airlines crept back up again three years ago trying to raise money through IndiGogo (they were kicked off) and then on their own site (the domain has since gone defunct).
They laid out an ambitious plan to fly Boeing 747s on a variety of domestic routes.
The idea was 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.
Their secret sauce was going to be advertising, selling sponsorships to cover free wifi and make a profit painting planes in Coca Cola, Burger King, and Red Bull branded livery. The overhead bins will advertise men’s grooming.
In recent days he’s been posting jobs to LinkedIn looking for a Chief Marketing Officer, a CFO, VP Human Resources and more.
Three months ago Michaels posted looking for investors and a CEO for his venture and now he announced he has appointed a CEO presumably since he wouldn’t be allowed to act as one himself.
Now he’s looking to acquire 747s through social media.
Earlier this year by the way he ran as an independent candidate for US Senate from Nevada.
He also sued to regain his gun rights despite having been convicted of a felony. He named himself Executive Director of “Americans For Civil Rights” and sought tax-deductible charitable contributions for that effort.