MOM air, the mysterious Icelandic airline that attracted media attention with its unusual marketing, turns out to be an art project. 

Oddur Eysteinn Friðriksson, the creator of MOM air, published an official statement, in which he revealed that the company was not a real airline, but his project for BA program in Fine Arts in Icelandic university of the Arts.

“People from around the globe have interacted with the piece in some way shape or form. With over 30 global news articles, radio interviews, and more the global phenomenon MOM air reached millions and literally turned their reality upside down,” said Friðriksson.

MOM air’s CEO said that it took him around 2-3 weeks to create the company’s branding and marketing. After the launch of the website, he purposefully added obstacles on the website in order to keep people engaged in trying to access the webpage. 

“I received dozens of complaints, thousands of booking requests, thousands of followers on Instagram, multiple job applications, thousands of comments, global coverage reaching millions, influencer cooperation, company sponsorship, multiple service offers, and more!”, told Friðriksson. He added he was even offered a fleet of airplanes, cabin crew, slots, and the airport and marketing services from an international enterprise. 

The form of political or social activism aimed at disrupting the consumer culture and done through fake adverts, hoax news stories and logos is often called “culture jamming”. The movement grew in popularity throughout the 1990s, but nowadays, with most of the communication done online, it has become even more potent. The creator of MOM air project did not elaborate on the meaning behind the art project. However, he is planning to present an exhibition that would include tweets, news articles and other media around the mock-up airline. 

“If you ask why? I think it’s quite obvious but also very dependent on where and how the viewer enters and interacts with the artwork. The artwork is multi-layered and full of meaning. It will take me months to dissect the pure amount of data for future exhibition purposes”, commented the project Friðriksson.

The company, advertised as a “super low-cost” carrier, was supposed to launch ticket sales on November 9, 2020. Shortly after, a press conference was announced, but was later postponed. MOM air’s website was constantly crashing without any access to booking tickets. The company explained these hiccups were due to the load on the website. According to MOM air, between 500 and 600 people checked the website every second. 

On November 18, 2020, a day before announcing the true reason behind the airline’s creation, MOM air’s CEO held a press conference. Friðriksson said that his airline would question all existing aviation regulations. He announced that the airline would not have life vests on board as they only have “psychological function”. According to MOM air’s CEO, the airline would function as Uber: passengers would get notifications about available seats in the airplane last minute, preferably when they arrived at the airport. 

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The new airline already announced tickets going on sale on November 9, 2020. Is the launch of MOM Air a practical joke or a marketing move?