Private jet companies generate a flurry of impenetrable invoices for their customers, with separate bills for crew, catering, fuel, airport fees, etc, and these represent a bonanza for scammy invoice-padding (like billing $5,300 to deliver 240 nonexistent sushi boxes to an empty plane). What's more, the gougers victims are so rich the often don't even notice the overbillings: a third of private jet owners are worth $500,000,000 and up.
No one is willing to say that this is all outright fraud -- the logistics of aviation are complex enough that it's just barely plausible that these represent bookkeeping errors -- but it sure looks like it.
Some fraud attempts are almost comical. One jet owner found himself charged 4,000 pounds ($5,300) for 240 sushi boxes apparently served on board his jet while it was empty, according to My Sky, a company whose software helps scrutinize and manage private-jet costs. Another was charged 6,000 euros ($6,800) for plastic cups after the provider mistakenly added two zeros to the invoice. Still another customer’s refueling bill ended up exceeding the capacity of the plane’s fuel tanks by more than two tons.
The Super-Rich Are Being Scammed on Their Private Jets [ Alexander Sazonov, Tom Metcalf, and Suzanne Woolley/Bloomberg]
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: Shine 2010, CC-BY)
The public markets are hungry: as Uber and Lyft look to IPOs to let their investors -- who have been subsidizing 40-50% of every ride -- redeem their shares through sales to the public capital markets, the companies are desperate for ways to reduce their unprofitability and increase those share prices.
Pepsi's plan to pay a Russian company called Startrocket to loft an artificial constellation of cubesats with mylar sails to advertise a "nonalcoholic energy beverage" has been cancelled for unspecified reasons (the company says its prototype launch using high-altitude balloons was a "one-time event").
* whether they deserve one or not
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