Airline|

Fake Airline Website Probed

Landing PlaneA fake website offering airline jobs has been revealed by Trading Standards. Somerset County Council says the scam looks to be particularly aimed at people who don’t live in the UK, and may have claimed victims already. The Fair Airways UK website uses a bogus business address in Taunton. The address actually belongs to Alin Voion from Massingham Park. He says he was shocked to find out that his address was being used like this, and he hopes something is done about it.

The fake airline was offering four months of cabin crew training in the UK for young and single men and women, which would be paid for. Those from outside Europe are promised two months of training in India for a registration fee of £75 and an optional £250 for accommodation and food. Applicants from Europe are being charged an additional £100 to train in Switzerland. An additional four months of training in the UK would be paid for by the academy. It claims it will be a fully operational carrier from September and fly from 36 nations by November. Anyone who’s interested in working for the airline is linked to the Fair Academy website.

Somerset County Council Trading Standards officers were notified of the website through a complaint from Nepal and uncovered the truth soon after. Binod Hyoju, who’s from Nepal, applied for a job with the carrier. He was really surprised when they asked for £250 for a job. He didn’t send the money, as he became suspicious it was a scam. In addition to the Nepal complaint, the council also got a query about the authenticity of the airline from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and a call from a resident in the UK.

A CAA spokesman said airlines based in the UK are required to hold an operating licence and Air Operators Certificate (AOC) to legally operate services. They have to meet strict criteria to show that they are financially sound and able to provide safe services. The organisation can confirm that Fair Airways doesn’t have either of these and hasn’t submitted applications.

Somerset Trading Standards officers are working to get the site, and those related to it, removed from the internet. They are confident discussions in social media about the fake carrier will alert people attracted to its offering and tempted to join. It’s believed the sites have been up for about two months, but there’s no figure for the amount of people who have been scammed into sending money.

Trading Standards cabinet member Councillor David Hall says it’s unfortunate that someone may have lost money to this scam. They are focusing their efforts on discovering who is responsible and taking the webpages down. It appears that the people responsible chose a random Taunton address as its head office, but they believe the site is being operated from India. Hall added that the town in Somerset may seem an unusual base for an international carrier and its training facility, but it could be a great location. They welcome approaches to do this from any airlines.

Somerset County Council team manager Andy Fowler says the thought of a UK Royal Airline being based in a market town in Somerset isn’t really realistic. Their job is to work with internet service providers to find the individuals behind it, but one of their first moves is to get the site taken down.

This isn’t the case of a fake website trying to scam money from people. Another international scam tried to trick potential students into studying at Glastonbury University last year. The only problem is, this university doesn’t exist. The website claimed its campus was in the centre of Glastonbury, but the building was empty. Specialist Metropolitan Police officers helped get the site removed soon after it was unveiled.

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