Teenager Tried To Start His Own Airline

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A 17-year-old from Yorkshire, England, met with various aviation industry executives and government officials in the U.K. recently and convinced them that he was a tycoon about to launch his own airline, when in fact he had no such plans or funding, the London Times reports. The boy used the pseudonym Adam Tait, and used other false names in emails and phone messages to convince contacts that he was working with a team of employees. He proposed to launch a cut-price airline serving most of Europe, based in the Channel Islands. His scheme unraveled when he was stopped by police at an airport while trying to get access to a 93-seat jet he had said he wanted to lease. The story is getting wide play in the mainstream media as reminiscent of the Hollywood movie, Catch Me If You Can, based on the true story of an American teenager who impersonated an airline pilot.

On Sunday, the Times reported that the boy has approached a range of businesses, claiming to be the UK manager for American Global Group, an imaginary company. "He said his name was Tait and that AGG owned 28 airlines, 55 hotels, 12 shopping centers and 28 petrol stations," said Debi Clark, who runs a modelling agency that Tait approached to find models for ads he said he was working on. Melanie Cole, who brought her 13-year-old daughter Sophie to a modeling audition for the fictional company, told the Times: "Adam said Sophie would be great pictured coming off the plane and he wanted to take us to Spain for four days, too. He seemed quite personable, though, and he definitely had the gift of the gab."