New Airline Requires Pilots To Buy Their Job For $75,000

I used to think Avatar Airlines was a run of the mill pump and dump securities scam, but now I believe Avatar Airlines is running a job fraud scam, too.

Avatar is a project that’s supposedly been trying to get off the ground for over 30 years. They used to call it Family Airlines. The idea has been to fly Boeing 747s domestically with cheap fares. The founder even went to prison for tax and securities fraud in connection with raising money for the venture.

During the pandemic they’ve been out trying to raise money on the idea of flying a 747 from Albuquerque to Las Vegas in the middle of the week. What differentiates them? Since they aren’t really an airline, they haven’t been losing money. That didn’t stop them from applying for government airline subsidies, of course!

This has been the proposed route map:

Every few months there’s a new idea like hunting for used Boeing 747s on social media offering to take British Airways Boeing 747-400s being retired off the U.K. flag carrier’s hands in exchange for stock and suggesting they’d supplant American Airlines as BA’s U.S. domestic partner.

Avatar says they “plan[..] to be valued at” over $1 billion “before [their] first flight leaves the ground.” I’m not sure what it means to plan to be valued at a certain amount.

One way they’re trying to do it, apparently, is by selling pilot jobs for their make-believe airline.

We are currently looking for 747-400 Type Rated pilots with a minimum of 10,000 flight hours. This would require a USA FAA issued Airline Transport Pilot certificate, Class I Medical certificate, and legal status to work in the USA (citizen, work visa, etc). Those with similar aircraft experience will likely be considered for copilot positions to begin.

Please note: in addition to the above requirements, you are required to invest in Avatar Airlines under the terms of its private equity offering…and invest a minimum of $75,000 (recommended at $150,000). Your seniority number will be based on the date your investment funds are received.

Avatar wants to hire pilots that – instead of getting paid – will pay them money and they cannot promise when these newly-hired 10,000 hour widebody captains will even begin flying.

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, 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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  1. @Peter Mac

    I was thinking more along the lines of P T Barnum….there’s a sucker born every minute/

  2. Someone should notify the FBI so that in about 10-15 years they can start investigating.

  3. Well, I’ve a commercial license to fly gliders. With this bunch that will be about as useful as 10k hours in a 747. Maybe this should be called the “Santa Claus Airline”, as that doesn’t really fly either.

  4. As long as they are still planning to operate VLAs on domestic routes, I’m willing to look the other way!

  5. “One thing I can promise you is that I never ask my clients to judge me on my winners, I ask them to judge me on my losers because I have so few.”

  6. Avatar should offer trips to space, heard they can ask for a $1 million per passenger/wannabe astronaut

  7. @Gary: This is not at all unusual. Indeed, it is the norm at tech. startups. The phraseology is different, but the money flow nets out to be the same. “Work for my startup and I will pay you a salary of X and stock equal to Y”. The Y is paid for with a lower salary than would be paid in a straight salary position (the two markets have to equilibrate). The fact that Avatar pilots pay up front is an accounting and risk issue, but not a difference in the basic economic relationship.

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