Have you ever wanted to invest in an airline, but get nothing in return?Â I sure have.
Ever wanted to pay for a job interview to be a captain, first officer, or flight attendant?Â Oh, of course; you had me at the complete lack of employment guarantee!
Well, then I have an opportunity for you: Avatar Airlines. And if you act fast (like serious, because who knows how much longer they will be allowed to exist), you can buy your way into getting way over-priced trinkets atÂ HelpAvatarFly.com!
You heard it here folks. Remember Family Airlines? Remember Baltia? Complete fixtures in the aviation landscape of America. Why? Â Because they’re both in the 12thofnever alliance. I often fly Family Airlines to New York before flying the “golden cock” Baltia across the Atlantic. Truly amazing.Â Oh wait, no I don’t. Because neither of those airlines will ever exist (well, Baltia sort of — for now), except in our hearts.
But maybe Avatar Airlines will be different? At least if you invest in this airline, you are likely to get something in return (like a t-shirt). But let’s take a look at how Avatar differs from its past and non-existent competition.
The story starts before Avatar, with Family Airlines. This is pretty much a re-birth, with a shiny new name and less in-cabin smoking. Their argument, per their press release, is one that would make anyone who has some common sense about airlinesÂ scratch their head and cry.
By utilizing Boeing 747-400 planesâ€”which are able to carry four times as many passengers as the typical 737â€”as well developing other profit centers, Avatar Airlines will be able to drive down the cost per seat mile without charging passengers additional fees for items such as baggage (up to two) or Wi-Fi. Additionally, Avatar Airlines plans to offer passengers the opportunity to pre-order in-flight meals and beverages online and offer businesses branding and advertising opportunities. Under this visionary model, Avatar Airlines’ fares are projected to be 50% or lower than current carriers, thus making travel truly affordable. Sample fares would include: Los Angeles to New York, $79; Las Vegas toÂ Los Angeles, $19; and New York to Miami, $49**.
Where do I even start? This just cannot happen. First, where do you get the 747-400s? Is the goal is to, seriously, fly them around the continental U.S.? Where will the Air Operator’s Certificate come from? Where do you get the passengers? You, simply, cannot offer a compelling schedule with such a large plane, trading capacity for frequency, and hope people will fly you.Â Well, unless you are only going after the most price-sensitive, but then, what about overall trip cost?
Okay, so let’s say that you have a full 747-400. The unit cost will be very low, but that doesn’t matter one iota when the introductory fares are starting at $19 with free baggage (and maybe even WiFi). Where is the unit revenue? Oh right, there isn’t any. Maybe by pre-booking meals? Offering confusing advertising and branding opportunities. Nope!
Those will not cover the sheer cost of paying captains a starting wage of $220,000 per year, all the fuel, all the costs. Do these people know how expensive running an airline is? Guessing no. But do they really plan on running an airline? My guess is still no.
Maybe they’ll be plying business-hungry routes that have been seeing sky-high fares since industry consolidation came into full-swing?
Nothing says high-yielding traffic like San Jose to Orlando via Las Vegas. So that is another “no.”
Do they have any, coherent, destination growth plans? Assuming they get to the second year, here’s what will happen:
Wow, those routes totally have sufficient passenger enplanements per day to take a 747-400’s worth of passengers. That sweet RASM. Why has no one ever tried this idea before?! (I am hoping you feel my sarcasm – heavy, heavy sarcasm – by now).
Because flying to even more low-yield destinations is exactly how you make a profit with a 747-400. Also, where are they going to get all these 747s from? They’re cheap, but they’re not free.
I’m at a loss here. The only way the FTC can’t shut the crowd-funding down right now is because if they reach their goal, they’ll deliver the tangible goods. But things like lounge memberships? Where will the lounge space come from? What exactly will “Office Class” be? How many classes of service will they offer?
Eh well, at least these folksÂ amused me for half-an-hour. Actually. This gives me an idea.
Maybe I should crowdfund my own airline. We’ll offer all-Tupelov Tu-154B service around America. Maybe even into Canada. How about from Paine Field to Boise?! Yeah, we’ll all be rich! Just donate money to me now and I will make you a captain. No experience needed (and just for the FTC, know that I am not really offering that). I will probably even have a better photoshopped image [don’t worry, I took care of that for you Bernie. You are welcome. -David].