Bavarian Airlines: Suspicious German Airline Startup

Bavarian Airlines: Suspicious German Airline Startup

30

I always enjoy keeping up with the latest airline startups. That includes airline startups (you know, airlines that… start up), and “airline startups” (anything from people defrauding others of millions of dollars, to a teenager spending a few hours building a website for fun). Everyone can decide for themselves where on that scale this falls.

German airline startup promises crypto, real business class

A press release has been published this week about Bavarian Airlines, which claims to have plans to launch service before the end of 2023. Here are the basics:

  • The airline will launch operations out of Munich, operating within Germany (initially to Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Frankfurt) as well as to select other points in Europe (initially Amsterdam, Geneva, and London)
  • The airline will lease 12 Embraer E195-E2 aircraft
  • The airline plans to introduce a proper business class cabin, in a 1-1 configuration (while the rest of the plane will be in a 2-2 configuration — that seems oddly spacious, and like it should be a 1-2 configuration)
  • “The company is already in initial talks Munich airport as it awaits its AOC” (yes, the press release is a total of six sentences, and that’s one of them)
  • The airline is founded by Adem Karagöz, who is targeting business travelers with this concept

The company has a website — bavarianairlines.com — which has some interesting further details. Bavarian Airlines is promising a “radically better Miles program.” As that’s described:

“In cooperation with Bewards, Bavarian provides Customers with BVX Token as part of the Bewards program. Instead of earning worthless miles, start earning Cryptocurrency with every flight. Stake and redeem BVX to earn a loyalty status or to get rewards such as free flights.”

I love this airline already. After all, I hate earning worthless miles, and I love crypto!!! 🚀📈

Bavarian Airlines website rewards program details

Interestingly the homepage of the website already has a booking search tool, though it’s not possible to book flights yet. We’re kindly warned not to fall for any scams of third parties selling Bavarian Airlines tickets.

Bavarian Airlines website booking tool

There’s also a careers page, where you can submit a form to apply as a pilot or flight attendant. To the pilots at Lufthansa, I wouldn’t recommend putting in your resignation letter just yet.

Bavarian Airlines website careers page

Who is behind Bavarian Airlines?

When I see a press release about an “airline startup,” I first try to look up the founder, because that can potentially tell you a lot. Who is Adem Karagöz? Well, based on a company profile on this website, he appears to be 18 years old, and as far as I can tell he doesn’t have any experience in the airline industry.

Bavarian Airlines management profile

I have a lot of respect for young entrepreneurs, though I’m sure some can appreciate my skepticism here. Look, I write about “airline startups” because I find this kind of stuff hilarious and fascinating. I mean, I’ve had a lovely chat with the founder of Global Ghana Airlines.

But I also find it strange that major mainstream publications in Germany are covering this, as if a major new airline is about to be launched in the country…

Bavarian Airlines logo

Bottom line

Bavarian Airlines claims to be an airline startup that intends to launch before the end of 2023. The airline would operate a fleet of Embraer E195-E2s to destinations in Germany and beyond. Bavarian Airlines is promising a cryptocurrency instead of miles, plus a real business class product.

As much as I’d love to see Lufthansa get some more competition, I’m not sure this is the solution…

What do you make of Bavarian Airlines?

Conversations (30)
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  1. KryptoScamAlert Guest

    I believe it must be a scam or it’s supported by criminals. Never heard of this kiddo before. Surprised that it made its way to the german news. Very very strange.

  2. K.L Guest

    Since the day I had heard of Bavarian Airlines, I’ve been suspecting them to be a scam. I live in the same city as the founder A. Karagöz and have done intense research even before the first criticising article popped up.
    I’d like to add, that Karagöz pretends to be the CEO of a number of companies that are not noted at any register nor can you get into contact with any of them...

    Since the day I had heard of Bavarian Airlines, I’ve been suspecting them to be a scam. I live in the same city as the founder A. Karagöz and have done intense research even before the first criticising article popped up.
    I’d like to add, that Karagöz pretends to be the CEO of a number of companies that are not noted at any register nor can you get into contact with any of them (Example: Extoro.de). All of the websites seem highly unprofessional and the people he claims to be his partners are not mentioned by name in any article or register that I checked (Example: Joseph Lavigne, found on Extoro.com).
    The addresses and facilities that Karagöz claims to be his offices etc. are either Ministries, occupied office building or simply the entrance of the Airport (Check contact field on Bavarian Airlines Homepage).
    I could go on and on about things that just don’t add up.
    One last thing: He is the CEO of 3 Companies that are all registered at the same address in London and he has changed his citizenship on the British company register from German to Swiss, Estonian during last month.

    If you ask me, this is a hoax that should not be talked about in seriousness on German media.

  3. panda Guest

    Shrinking newsrooms lead to stories like this and fugitives like George Santos holding public office.

  4. Andrew Guest

    Given the company is based in the UK there is a lot of publicly available information on the UK Companies House website - https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/14347456

    Their nature of business is 'central banking activities', and they only changed their name to Bavarian Airlines on 14 December 2022. Read into that what you will.

  5. frrp Gold

    He talks about crypto so by default its either a joke or a scam lol

  6. KG Guest

    The CEO was born in 2004, just 18 - 19 years old. Odd enough!

  7. Anon Guest

    If it was a school project... why would you go to the trouble of incorporating with Companies House in England and Wales ?
    https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/14347456
    The registered address looks like a legit office block, and to be hosted by an accountancy firm on behalf of a number of other companies
    Not only is there a (modest) cost to formally register the company, but it's also a fair bit of trouble to shut the...

    If it was a school project... why would you go to the trouble of incorporating with Companies House in England and Wales ?
    https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/14347456
    The registered address looks like a legit office block, and to be hosted by an accountancy firm on behalf of a number of other companies
    Not only is there a (modest) cost to formally register the company, but it's also a fair bit of trouble to shut the company down if it is no longer needed

  8. Hans Guest

    Mr Pretzel is the 22-year-old Co-Chief Executive, must be legit

  9. RF Diamond

    Maybe it's a school project. If so, kudos on them for getting attention for it.

  10. Brianair Guest

    BMW should pursue their secret dream of running a single engine turboprop airline out of their home city Munich. They have the logo design part done already. It would be more useful than this airline.

  11. SamB Gold

    Love it when Ben does investigative journalism

  12. Icarus Guest

    CEO age 18. First job, let’s start an airline lol

  13. JB Guest

    I honestly would love to make a fake airline website and press release about my concept. I'm 19, and I can't say I haven't thought about it before. Unfortunately I have no time...

  14. Elijah Guest

    Huge missed opportunity not to go with Bavariair. “Pamper your derrière with Bavariair: the most comfortable seats in the sky”

  15. Klaus Guest

    While it would be nice to have some intra-german aviation competition, the past has shown that most domestic routes are not sustainable.

    Pre-pandemic, Ryanair cancelled their last remaining domestic route (BerlinCologne). Easyjet stopped domestic flights between Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, Munich and Westerland. Transavia stopped their route between Berlin and Munich some years ago. Green Air quietly disappeared. The only airline I can think of competing with Lufthansa is Lübeck Air between Munich to Lübeck...

    While it would be nice to have some intra-german aviation competition, the past has shown that most domestic routes are not sustainable.

    Pre-pandemic, Ryanair cancelled their last remaining domestic route (BerlinCologne). Easyjet stopped domestic flights between Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, Munich and Westerland. Transavia stopped their route between Berlin and Munich some years ago. Green Air quietly disappeared. The only airline I can think of competing with Lufthansa is Lübeck Air between Munich to Lübeck (close to Hamburg) and Stuttgart to Lübeck.

    While it may seem that Lufthansa does not have any competition, that is not true. Between most domestic city pairs, Lufthansa must compete against Deutsche Bahn and car-loving Germans.
    There are some routes where flying is by far faster than the train, e.g. MunichBremen or MunichHamburg (vs. 5h34min train travel). But even on these city pairs. there is still plenty of people that prefer to take the train for other reasons than expensive Lufthansa fares (e.g. because they can work, due to environmental issues, or because the travel time to the airport compared to the train station makes no sense).

    So even if this start-up would be legit, I highly doubt that it will be sustainable. Even though there is only one domestic airline (i.e. Lufthansa Group), competition is fierce in Germany.

    1. Patrick Guest

      Munich is also an odd choice to base a domestic German airline. The airport is about 45 minutes by train from the city center. So, in the time it takes you to get to the airport, you can already be about 1/3 of the way to Frankfurt by train.

      Marketing flights between Munich and Berlin might kind of make sense. But Munich to Frankfurt, Duesseldorf area, etc? The train would take roughly the same...

      Munich is also an odd choice to base a domestic German airline. The airport is about 45 minutes by train from the city center. So, in the time it takes you to get to the airport, you can already be about 1/3 of the way to Frankfurt by train.

      Marketing flights between Munich and Berlin might kind of make sense. But Munich to Frankfurt, Duesseldorf area, etc? The train would take roughly the same amount of time, door-to-door, at a fraction of the cost.

      I'm not pro- or anti-train - there's a lot of variables that go into selecting which mode of transportation is preferable for any specific trip. But I do see how the train system would offer a real competitive advantage between most of the specific city pairs being proposed here.

      Of course, the most likely answer is that this airline is a prank, and not to be taken seriously.

    2. Max M Guest

      5h 40 for MUC-HAM by train. But the plane is not that much faster: From Munich Central Station to MUC takes 45 min by train. Ideally, you should be there no later than 45 min before your gate closes for security, making your way to the gate etc. Flight time is blocked at 1h 20. Then you need at least 30 to 45 min to Hamburg Central Station if you go by train. So realistically...

      5h 40 for MUC-HAM by train. But the plane is not that much faster: From Munich Central Station to MUC takes 45 min by train. Ideally, you should be there no later than 45 min before your gate closes for security, making your way to the gate etc. Flight time is blocked at 1h 20. Then you need at least 30 to 45 min to Hamburg Central Station if you go by train. So realistically flying saves you 1 hour 30 - if all goes well. But for that, you have to be on the move constantly. In the train, you can sit down on your reserved seat with "table service" in Munich Central and work / relax / sleep until you make it to Hamburg Central (provided the train is on time - a big if!). Loads of people don't want to put up with all the hassel and just jump in the train, making it difficult for airlines to operate intra-German flights without corporate contract or without them feeding intercontinental flights.

  16. Leo Guest

    Contact
    Bavarian Airlines
    Terminalstraße Mitte 18
    85356 München-Flughafen
    Bayerische Fluggesellschaft mbH i.G *
    Terminalstraße Mitte 18
    85356 München-Flughafen
    Bavarian Aerospace Research Center
    Speditionsstraße 15a
    40215 Düsseldorf
    E-Mail: [email protected]
    Fax: +49 (0)89 5419557919

    1. edefran Guest

      Most places in Germany. One time, I had to contact the Bundesarchiv (federal archives). They would respond to my query only via fax. This was in 2015.

  17. Al Guest

    Someone should forward this to Coffeezilla

  18. Stuart Guest

    Not sure why this is suspicious? I would certainly not be happy with that title if part of the startup given I see little that is odd. It’s not like he is launching routes between Accra and Chicago using new 787’s. Or touting A380’s in the future. It sounds kind of like the initial thought behind Breeze or any early stage planned niche carrier. Seems perfectly within reason to offer E-Jets with a heavy premium...

    Not sure why this is suspicious? I would certainly not be happy with that title if part of the startup given I see little that is odd. It’s not like he is launching routes between Accra and Chicago using new 787’s. Or touting A380’s in the future. It sounds kind of like the initial thought behind Breeze or any early stage planned niche carrier. Seems perfectly within reason to offer E-Jets with a heavy premium configuration to the major European markets out of Munich. As well, offering crypto as the program is sensible given most prefer redemptions for aspirational flights and not to Düsseldorf…so giving them something else to start is actually smart. Sounds ok to me? And Munich desperately needs more competition for premium routes out of MUC.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Stuart -- It's not that the concept as such is suspicious. If a former senior airline executive with investors announced this concept, I'd assume it has a decent chance of launching.

      In this case:
      -- There's no obvious link to anyone with airline experience
      -- There's no indication the company has secured funding, and starting an airline requires tens of millions of dollars
      -- The timeline is completely unrealistic, to go...

      @ Stuart -- It's not that the concept as such is suspicious. If a former senior airline executive with investors announced this concept, I'd assume it has a decent chance of launching.

      In this case:
      -- There's no obvious link to anyone with airline experience
      -- There's no indication the company has secured funding, and starting an airline requires tens of millions of dollars
      -- The timeline is completely unrealistic, to go from absolutely nothing to launching operations in less than a year
      -- There are no regulatory filings suggesting that the company has made any progress toward acquiring its AOC, as is claimed

      Honestly, we see a different new airline concept just about every week. The ones that end up coming to fruition are those founded by former senior airline executives or entrepreneurs with really deep pockets. Meanwhile I can't think of a single airline startup founded by someone with no connection to the airline industry that actually launched.

      If you really see nothing suspicious here and think this will launch, then I'd be happy to make a friendly wager with you. ;-)

    2. Klaus Guest

      Richard Branson had no Aviation background when starting Virgin…but okay, he had the funds.

      My favorite Branson Quote: „ If you want to be a Millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline.“

    3. Icarus Guest

      He didn’t start Virgin Atlantic. One of the cofounders was a pilot and they later negotiated with Branson, who was 34 years old, to invest on their businesses.

    4. tom Guest

      hi Ben - what odds on the new Thai airline suceeding https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1480497

  19. John T Guest

    Looks like this is a college project for an aviation management student.

  20. Peter Guest

    Check the "Our Team" section, Surprise...

    https://www.extoro.de/

    1. TProphet Member

      This gets really interesting. The "CFO" is featured on the stock image site Unsplash: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1560250097-0b93528c311a?ixlib=rb-1.2.1&ixid=MXwxMjA3fDB8MHxjb2xsZWN0aW9uLXRodW1ibmFpbHx8ODc5NDcxM3x8ZW58MHx8fA%3D%3D&dpr=2&auto=format&fit=crop&w=225&q=60

      The "Marketing and Design" lead is also a stock image: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1498609458988-7b2c70d9213a?crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&fit=max&fm=jpg&ixid=MnwxMjA3fDB8MXxhbGx8fHx8fHx8fHwxNjI0NTQ5NzM3&ixlib=rb-1.2.1&q=80&w=1080

      Adam definitely seems to be from the "fake it 'til you make it" school of startups. :)

      This gets really interesting. The "CFO" is featured on the stock image site Unsplash: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1560250097-0b93528c311a?ixlib=rb-1.2.1&ixid=MXwxMjA3fDB8MHxjb2xsZWN0aW9uLXRodW1ibmFpbHx8ODc5NDcxM3x8ZW58MHx8fA%3D%3D&dpr=2&auto=format&fit=crop&w=225&q=60

      The "Marketing and Design" lead is also a stock image: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1498609458988-7b2c70d9213a?crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&fit=max&fm=jpg&ixid=MnwxMjA3fDB8MXxhbGx8fHx8fHx8fHwxNjI0NTQ5NzM3&ixlib=rb-1.2.1&q=80&w=1080

      Adam definitely seems to be from the "fake it 'til you make it" school of startups. :)

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frrp Gold

He talks about crypto so by default its either a joke or a scam lol

5
RF Diamond

Maybe it's a school project. If so, kudos on them for getting attention for it.

3
edefran Guest

Most places in Germany. One time, I had to contact the Bundesarchiv (federal archives). They would respond to my query only via fax. This was in 2015.

2
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