Family Airlines Gets Smacked by the DOT

In news that will surprise absolutely no one, the DOT has sent a letter to Family Airlines saying that it needs to get its act together if it actually wants to fly. Riiight. That’ll happen. You have to read the request and Family’s completely inadequate response for maximum enjoyment. (Here’s a brief refresher on their silly plan for domestic 747s based in Vegas.)

You can read the letter from the DOT to Family Airlines (pdf) yourself, but in short, they aren’t happy. (FAI = Family Airlines, Inc)

Although a substantial amount of time has elapsed since FAI’s initial filing and FAI has submitted certain supplemental information to its application to the Department, FAI has to date failed sufficiently to meet its burden of demonstrating its fitness to allow us to continue processing its application. We remain concerned about FAI’s fitness in every area: managerial competence, finances, and compliance disposition.

The rest of the letter is a scathing rebuke of every single aspect of the airline. It is some fun-filled reading, but not nearly as much fun as the response from the “airline.” You can read that here (.doc).

The response was dated August 4, the same day the letter came from the DOT. Yeah, sure. It had three parts.

  1. This was simply a change of address. (It’s still wrong on the website.)

  2. This was a list of bios for all the new proposed officers without justifying how any of them are qualified. In particular, it didn’t address the DOT’s concern about having Dan Eikleberry as VP of Flight Ops. It also never even touched the concern that DOT had about Barry Michaels continued involvement.

  3. Finally, they addressed the DOT’s concern that they didn’t have enough money to run this operation. This is probably justified since the company’s balance sheet at the time of its previous submission showed $30 in assets. Seriously. The DOT says the airline would need $185 million to begin. The response? They are going to issue 22 million shares of preferred stock to institutional investors at $7.50 each for a total $165 million. Even a non-math whiz could figure out that’s still $20 million below what the DOT says they need. But what’s the chance they can even raise that? The only institutional investor that would be interested in this is one that is institutionalized.


I thought it would be fun to try to get Family Airlines’ take on this letter, so I called the number on the website. I was informed that “due to technical difficulties” my call could not be completed as dialed. Would the technical difficulty be that they don’t actually have any phones? I also sent them an email on Tuesday, August 11 but I haven’t heard back.

Methinks Family should look at an alternative business. If their website is any indication, they may be trying to get in on the healthcare game. Take a look:

Family Airlines Website

316 Responses to Family Airlines Gets Smacked by the DOT

  1. In case anyone needs the ‘Avatar’ Airlines web address it’s:
    http://avatarairlines.com/

    Ok, I admit I only posted that as this is comment number 300 on Family/Avatar Airlines and I was on a quest to get to 300……LOL

    This must be a Cranky Flyer record for the most comments on a single blog. :-)

  2. ASarkiss says:

    Well, sometime has passed since our long debate here. Any update on Avatar/Family/whatever since then? Have not heard anything. Did they finally shut down? Dan?

  3. Dan says:

    This is comment # 302? (Some kind of record?)
    The airline is still called Avatar for the time being… (Until someone comes up with enough $$ to make us change again!). Much progress this year already. Many talks with potential advertisers. Several interested in an entire airplane ‘wrap’ (paint job– but you don’t paint — kinda like busses and taxis youve seen). And many talks with potential investors. Getting ‘close’ on acquiring some airplanes, too. So…. things are moving along, but as usual, its all volunteer work until the $$ shows up in a bank account. Anyone want to invest?

  4. Axelsarkis says:

    Any updates, Dan? Find any 747′s for $30?

  5. Hondo says:

    I am still waiting for Family Airlines or Avatar Airlines…..whatever they are called today to begin flying….I need a job flying 747! I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t hold out for them or I may have missed my chance to fly for an airline that exists.

    What is Barry up to these days? I see he was in court with his lawyer Guinness….

    I guess this airlines will never get started…..

    I think Ackbar Airlines has already started their service from HND to VGT for $25

  6. Hondo says:

    http://www.8newsnow.com/story/15102587/i-team-felons-non-profit-goes-to-court

    Just in case anyone wants to know what I am talking about..

    Great name for a lawyer….Guinness

  7. Bob Balabooie says:

    Sounds like he is still scamming people again, my grandad was a Pan Am pilot caught in this scam. Lucky for him, he didn’t invest a lot of money, only $2000, can’t say that for his friends who lost nearly everything.

    You know the old saying….”Once a crook, always a crook”

    Barry, Dan…..do us all a favor, please put this dream to sleep…..It will never happen!

  8. Axelsarkis says:

    Apparently, Avatar wants to buy 4 (!) 747′s.

    An Airliners member gave this as the link, but since I’m not a member of this group and what not, I can’t see it…

    http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers…-1&trk=view_disc&ut=0eEJe4HoXL-AU1

    Anything from Dan?

  9. Warning Will Robinson says:

    He is at it again. Check this out.

    http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/bus/2707607305.html

    Trying to recruit MBA graduates to work for free. Unreal.

  10. Axelsarkis says:

    Don’t you need to pay to post a Craigslist work ad?

  11. Hondo says:

    Any work yet on Family Airlines or Avatar Airlines? Since it has been quiet for the last few months, wondered if anything has changed?

  12. Axelsarkis says:

    Looks like our favorite entrepreneur ‘Dr’ Barry is running for Congress again:

    http://www.michaelsforcongress.com/

    Quote from the ‘about me’ page:

    “…in ’04 I began to resurrect a vision I had more than ten years ago of starting a new generation airline and one that I?m hoping will make it maiden flight by the end of this year.”

  13. David SF eastbay says:

    Wow post number 312 on Family/Avatar Airlines. New article to read which includes mentions Brett. Let’s see if we can get more comments on 747′s flying between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. :-)

    http://airchive.com/blog/2014/03/11/another-start-up-airline-avatar-family-airlines-again/

  14. Axelsarkis says:

    I love this–take a look at the ‘media kit’.

    http://avatarairlines.com/AvatarMediapackage20Dec2014AA%5B1%5D.pdf

    Don’t miss the Photoshop jobs portraying potential sponsor vinyl wraps.

    I have a feeling that they’re going to be part of the new, “Dreamers’ Alliance”, made up of Family, American Western, Baltia, and that Pan Am cargo startup from a while back.

    • David SF eastbay says:

      I wonder if the 747 ebay is on was purchased on ebay?

      Maybe we can all chip in and have crankyflier.com put on one…..lol

      All kidding aside, it would be great to see them flying 747′s on those routes shown and see how it goes.

  15. David SF eastbay says:

    I wonder if the 747 ebay is on was purchased on ebay?

    Maybe we can all chip in and have crankyflier.com put on one…..lol

    All kidding aside, it would be great to see them flying 747′s on those routes shown and see how it goes.

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