The future of a new Australian airline has been thrown into question after its crowdfunding efforts failed to take off.
As you may remember, reports were circulating in May about former pilot Brad Coombe setting up a funding page for “the people’s airline”, which would be called Brad.
At the time, Coombe told The Australian he hoped the airline would commence services in the next 12 to 14 months, but for that to happen, he would need to raise $2.9 million to apply for an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
The crowdfunding website shows that only $3,821 has been raised so far, despite offering incentives like free flights and special add-ons for when the airline is set up.
Contributors are encouraged to donate up to $100,000 and the potential airline promises to reward investors with up to 139 “Golden Ticket” airfares in each of its proposed three classes.
Last week, The Australian reported that Coombe’s funding page had been taken down, and labelled the venture a “failed attempt”. However, the page appears to be live again.
“Brad is determined that his airline will be the people’s airline,” the website says.
“By writing his name on his aircraft, Brad hopes to develop a personal relationship with you, the people of Australia, to build a culture of trust.
”Brad will be Australia’s only 100 per cent Australian-owned airline, and Brad is asking you to buy Australian by making a contribution!”
Coombe also claimed he had assembled a group of key advisers including former Virgin executive John Thomas and Solomon Airlines CEO Brett Gebers for his project, but both have since said their names were used “without consultation”, according to The Australian.
Coombe has been working on launching his own airline since 2015 and engaged an international accounting firm to “scrutinise his business plan, business model and financial spreadsheets”.
“After several months of scrutiny, Brad was given the thumbs up, and in 2019, Brad began making plans to raise the required funding to launch his airline,” the funding website claims.
Coombe planed to cash in on the thousands of jets available at reduced rates due to the global pandemic, and feed all profits back into the airline to strengthen its balance sheet.
“There has never been a better time to start an airline in Australia!” according to the funding website.
In a video featured on the site, Coombe said it was time for Australians to “rethink the way they fly”.
“We’ve become accustomed to expensive airline tickets and excessive fees,” he said.
“I’m confident that the people of Australia are ready for a change. We’re going to give you a better experience and in the process make flying affordable again.”
Travel Weekly has approached Coombes for comment.
Featured image source: iStock/gorodenkoff