Surf Air is a Los Angeles-based aviation marketplace that offers members access to private charter flights for a fixed monthly fee.[1][2] Many Surf Air flights are operated by Advanced Air which flies a fleet of Pilatus PC-12 aircraft.[3]

Surf Air
Surf Air logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
None URF SURFAIR
Founded2013 (2013)
Commenced operationsJune 13, 2013 (2013-06-13)
Focus cities
Fleet size12
Destinations11
HeadquartersHawthorne, California, U.S.
Websitewww.surfair.com

Service areasEdit

As of March 2019, the company serves five California airports: Hawthorne (HHR), Oakland (OAK), San Carlos (SQL), Santa Barbara (SBA), and Truckee (TRK).[4]

In June 2017, Surf Air expanded service into Texas with its acquisition of RISE, a Texas-based air travel provider. They service flights to and from Austin Bergstrom, San Antonio International, Dallas Love Field, Houston Hobby, and David Wayne Hooks in Northwest Houston. Dallas entrepreneur Nick Kennedy, who founded RISE, was expected to serve as president of the Texas and southeast region for Surf Air.[5] The former RISE routes have since been transitioned to be operated by Tradewind Aviation instead of in-house.[6]

In July 2017, Surf Air started operations in Europe, debuting its maiden trip from London to Ibiza.[7] Surf Air Europe operated under the same subscription model where customers pay a monthly fee starting from £1,750 ($2,180) for unlimited travel.[8] Surf Air would start with flights from London to Zurich during the week and to Ibiza in Spain at weekends.[9] It had plans to add routes to Cannes, Munich, Luxembourg, and Milan.[8] Surf Air Europe had one Embraer Phenom 300 private jet in its fleet. In October 2017, Surf Air began offering a membership that provides all-you-can-fly in both the European and US networks for £3,150.[10] The company planned to feature dozens more aircraft within the next three to five years.[7] However, in March 2018, Surf Air Europe went into liquidation in December 2018.[11]

HistoryEdit

The company was founded by David Eyerly, Wade Eyerly, Peter Bi, Scott Porter, Cory Cozzens, and Reed Farnsworth. Surf Air emerged in 2012 from MuckerLab, a Los Angeles-based business incubator. Angel investors included Paige Craig, Aviv Grill, and Bill Woodward. The Series A round of venture capital was completed in June 2013 with investment from Anthem Venture Partners, NEA, TriplePoint Capital, Siemer Ventures, Baroda Ventures, Gilad Elbaz, Eytan Elbaz, Rick Caruso, Jeffrey Stibel, Mike Walsh, and actor Jared Leto. The company raised at least $9 million from investors, including $500,000 from VegasTechFund (a venture capital fund launched by Tony Hsieh), Velos Partners, and Base Ventures.[12]

In February 2014, Wade Eyerly stepped down as CEO and was replaced by former Frontier Airlines CEO Jeff Potter. At the time, the company had about 430 members. After Surf Air, Wade Eyerly, Cory Cozzens, and Reed Farnsworth formed Beacon Air in 2015, but shut it down in 2016.[13] In August 2014, Surf Air raised $8 million in new equity funding and secured a $65 million loan to place a five-year order for 15 new Pilatus PC-12 planes, with an option to buy 50 more over that timespan.[14] In May 2016, Surf Air received 2 additional aircraft phasing out their older legacy PC-12s.

Surf Air announced the sale of its 2,000th membership in September 2015, 2,500th in December 2015, and 3,000th in June 2016. As of October 2017, it had 5,000 customers.[8] As of 2017, membership charges started from $1,950 per month plus a $1,000 signup fee.[15] In February 2018, Surf Air launched on-demand charter enabling customers to charter the entire aircraft, including airplanes not in the Surf Air fleet.[citation needed] In October 2018, Surf Air announced Surf Air Express, a new membership program targeting less frequent travelers with an annual membership fee and payments for each flight.[16]

On May 16, 2017, Surf Air flight operations were transitioned to Encompass Aviation. Sudhin Shahani took over as Chief Executive of Surf Air in 2017 after Jeff Potter exited.[17] When Encompass took over of all Surf Air operations, it retained all Surf Air's pilots and aircraft. Encompass is based in Hawthorne, California and is a FAA Part 135 operator.[18] In June 2018, it was reported the IRS had put liens totaling nearly $2.5 million against Surf Air for unpaid federal excise tax. At the same time, Surf Air said it was changing operators for California flights to Advanced Air Charter from Encompass.[19] Encompass stated the Surf Air was behind on payments due for operating flights for Surf Air.[20]

Surf Air Europe, established in 2017 as the European branch, went into liquidation in December 2018.[11] Customers lost $272,000 in deposits and membership fees, according to final accounts from the liquidation.[citation needed]

In February 2020, announced the acquisition of Blackbird. CEO Shahani hopes that BlackBird’s digital platform will allow Surf Air to expand its reach without buying more planes.[21]

In February 2021, Surf Air announced the acquisition of Ampaire which has been developing a hybrid-electric power train in Cessna aircraft.[22] In 2021, Surf Air plans to continue to expand its roster of destinations. For the last year prior to August 2021, Surf Air has expanded from seven to 23 destinations with several more on the way.[23] In 2022, Surf Air continued to see month-to-month increases in flights and passenger count.[24] In April 2022, Surf Air Mobility abandoned its $100 million acquisition of Ampaire.[25]

FleetEdit

 
A Pilatus PC-12 of Surf Air at San Carlos Airport (December 2014)

As of June 2016, the Surf Air fleet consists of the following aircraft:

Surf Air fleet
Aircraft Active Orders Passengers Notes
Pilatus PC-12 NG 12 15+50[26] 8 N817SA, N819SA, N821SA, N824SA, N828SA, N829SA, N853SA, N874SA

Orders are NG version, 15 orders and 50 options.

CertificationEdit

Surf Air does not own or operate any aircraft. All flights arranged by Surf Air for its members are performed by independent, third party FAA-licensed and DOT-registered air carriers.[27]

Noise complaintsEdit

In 2017, residents from the San Francisco Bay Area complained of excessive noise at San Carlos Airport caused by Surf Air.[28][29] They formed a group named Calm The Skies.[30] San Mateo County acknowledged the noise issue caused by Surf Air. Part of the County solution was to introduce an arrival procedure called "Bayside Visual Approach" that underwent testing in 2016[31] which shifts flights and noise from San Mateo County to the city of Sunnyvale in neighboring Santa Clara County. A curfew has also been discussed in addition to other measures to mitigate the noise.[32][33]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Surf Air's Ampaire Acquisition Could Speed Up Hybrid-Electric Aviation | Aviation Week Network". aviationweek.com.
  2. ^ "Surf Air Mobility agrees to purchase US company Ampaire". www.aerospace-technology.com.
  3. ^ Thurber, Matt. "Advanced Air Takes Over Surf Air Flying". Aviation International News.
  4. ^ "Surf Air 2019 California Schedule" (PDF). Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  5. ^ "Dallas startup Rise bought by California's Surf Air as chase for business travelers ascends". dallasnews.com. 7 June 2017.
  6. ^ Gollan, Doug. "Surf Air's Troubles Raise The Question, Who's Flying Your Airplane?". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  7. ^ a b "Surf Air Now Offers Unlimited Flights on Private Jets Through Europe - Architectural Digest". architecturaldigest.com. 26 June 2017.
  8. ^ a b c A.W. (10 October 2017). "All-you-can-fly membership models are slowly catching on". The Economist.
  9. ^ "Surf Air Will Take Its Subscription Airline Model to Europe in May". fortune.com.
  10. ^ "Will Californian flying club Surf Air take off in the UK?". The Independent. 17 September 2018. Archived from the original on 2022-05-25.
  11. ^ a b "Surf Air Europe". Airline History. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Surf Air aims to disrupt the big airlines with an executive membership service". VentureBeat. 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  13. ^ Trautvetter, Chad. "All-you-can-fly Club Beacon Comes Crashing Down". Aviation International News. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  14. ^ "'All-You-Can-Fly' Surf Air gets $73 million for more planes & destinations | Built In LA". www.builtinla.com. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  15. ^ "California's Private Air Travel Membership - Surf Air - Surf Air". Surf Air.
  16. ^ Lyon, John (October 25, 2018). "Surf Air Jumps on the Semi-Private Bandwagon".
  17. ^ "JOINING THE CLUB" (PDF). Aviation International News.
  18. ^ Trautvetter, Chad. "Encompass 'Quietly' Takes Over Surf Air Cali Flights". Aviation International News. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  19. ^ Gollan, Doug. "Surf Air's Troubles Raise The Question, Who's Flying Your Airplane?". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  20. ^ "High-end private flight company Surf Air sued for millions in overdue payments". Dallas News. 2018-06-20. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  21. ^ "Surf Air Buys BlackBird Air As Both Seek To Shake Off Past Problems". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  22. ^ Bogaisky, Jeremy. "Hybrid Electric Aviation Pioneer Ampaire To Be Acquired By Surf Air". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-05-02.
  23. ^ "Surf Air Mobility Enters Race for Green Air Travel | Los Angeles Business Journal". labusinessjournal.com. 2 August 2021. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  24. ^ "Covid, Airline Challenges Drive Up Demand for Business Jet Flights in LA | Los Angeles Business Journal". labusinessjournal.com. 24 January 2022. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  25. ^ Dominic Perry (27 April 2022). "Surf Air pulls plug on Ampaire purchase". FlightGlobal.
  26. ^ "California's Surf Air orders 15+50 Pilatus PC-12NGs". ch-aviation.com. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
  27. ^ "Legal". Surf Air. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  28. ^ "Calm the Skies mounts protest against Surf Air at San Carlos Airport". The Mercury News. June 21, 2017.
  29. ^ "Protesters at San Carlos Airport complain of Surf Air noise". The Almanac. June 18, 2017.
  30. ^ "Calm The Skies". Calm The Skies Organization.
  31. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration approves Surf Air route to take planes over Bay". Palo Alto Online. June 23, 2017.
  32. ^ "Board of Supervisors to Consider Noise Abatement Solutions at San Carlos Airport | County Manager's Office". cmo.smcgov.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  33. ^ "County may put lid on 'noisy aircraft' at San Carlos Airport". The Almanac.

External linksEdit