Is Northern Pacific The Scammiest U.S. Airline About To Launch?

Northern Pacific Airways is a new transpacific long haul airline that wants to the be Icelandair of the Pacific. They plan to fly Boeing 757s as a low cost carrier starting this year with flights to Asia (e.g. Tokyo, Seoul) via Anchorage to mainland U.S. cities like Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas and Orlando.

I began skeptical of the business model. The more I see, the more it seems like ‘business model’ is the least of this effort’s problems.

After announcing a revenue-based frequent flyer program that they’re calling a cryptocurrency they’re trying to raise money direct from the public in the form of an investment kickstarter, with the promise of free travel, elite benefits and… free booze for investors?

They blasted their email list with an investor pitch.

  • Through June 3 they’re offering investments at a 20% discount off of their claimed $350 million valuation (publicly promoting a down round before they even launch?)

  • They’re offering perks to investors like free booze on board for a year for kicking in $250; elite status for dropping $500; and $1000 worth of travel for a $1000 investment.

  • For bigger investors you can name a Ravn Alaska Dash 8, name a Northern Pacific 757, or – for $5 million – have them paint a plane however you wish.

As One Mile at a Time points out, they claim they’ll have 6.5% of the transpacific market by 2025 which seems insane.

Their claimed valuation, by the way, is 3 times the market cap of Mesa Airline’s (at $113 million). Northern Pacific’s valuation is more than the market cap of Thai Airways and AirAsia combined. It’s half the value of oneworld member Finnair.

That all sounds like Avatar Airlines which says they plan to be valued at over $1 billion and offered to sell jobs to pilots for $75,000. (Need I mention that their founder went to prison for tax and securities fraud related to raising money for Avatar?)

Aside from the challenges in starting up an airline generally,

  • There’s going to be very little demand for connecting from major U.S. cities to Tokyo or Seoul, when passengers can already fly non-stop.
  • Boeing 757s are cheap but narrowbody aircraft with a narrow fuselage is hardly ideal for passengers over long distances.
  • Anchorage itself is highly seasonal, and seeing vastly-increased competition in recent years.
  • Plus long haul low cost carriers don’t have a strong track record of success.

So there are many reasons be be skeptical of the effort even if they didn’t seem to be incorporating the worst elements of businesses like Avatar Airlines which take a sixteen year old’s dream carrier off of airliners.net and marry it with an SEC criminal complaint waiting to happen.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow you’ll find a connection to trump.

    And maga imbeciles will still invest in it, and continue to vote for the guy even after he steals their money.

  2. SSoOC-

    And we should take the reasoning from someone who can’t even capitalize a last name?

  3. If they run a nonrevenue based frequent flyer programs with a 5 year moratorium on devaluations connected to a credit card earning 5x on grocery, gas and drug store stores purchases I’m all in. They can even let that famous artist, Hunter Biden, paint their planes for all I care.so long as the 10% kickback money goes to charity.

  4. Selling jobs to pilots for $75000? Good luck with that. There’s an enormous pilot shortage. United and Delta are hiring as fast as possible with 100k starting salaries. Regionals are giving retention and signing bonuses almost that big. The only pilots who’d buy a job in this economy are the ones you absolutely don’t want flying your plane.

  5. Yin Jing:
    First, the 757 is 45 years old and minimally automated. Second, even in a modern 787, for example, it makes a great deal of difference who’s flying you. A 787 will kill you just as effectively as an old 757 in the wrong hands

  6. @Yin Jing, your comment is asinine, but go ahead and “outstretch your neck” in expectation, maybe it will help.

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