Surf Air

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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
HeadquartersSanta Monica, California, USA
Websitesurfair.com
Previous logo

Surf Air is a California-based commuter airline that offers unlimited flight service for a fixed monthly fee. The company uses Pilatus PC-12 aircraft.[1]

Surf Air provides commuter services in California and Nevada, Texas, and Western Europe.

Noise complaints[edit]

Residents from around San Francisco Bay Area have complained of excessive noise caused by Surf Air.[2][3] They have formed a group named Calm The Skies.[4] San Mateo County has acknowledged the noise issue caused by Surf Air. Part of the County solution is to introduce an arrival procedure called "Bayside Visual Approach" that underwent testing in 2016[5], 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. [6][7]

Safety[edit]

An independent aviation safety consultant has voiced concerns regarding safety standards for Part 135 operators like Surf Air.[8]

Service areas[edit]

As of January 2017, the company services the California cities of Burbank, Carlsbad, Hawthorne, Monterey, Oakland, Napa, Palm Springs, San Carlos, San Jose, Santa Barbara, and Truckee. Surf Air also flies to Las Vegas (McCarran International Airport) from Hawthorne Municipal Airport through a FAA/DOT certificated air carrier.[9]

In June 2017 Surf Air announced its acquisition of Texas-based air travel provider RISE, expanding service across Texas. They now 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, will serve as president of the Texas and southeast region for Surf Air.[10]

In July 2017, Surf Air started operations in Europe, debuting its maiden trip from London to Ibiza.[11] Surf Air in Europe will operate under the same subscription model where customers pay a monthly fee starting from £1,750 ($2,180) for unlimited travel.[12] Surf Air will start connecting London to Zurich during the week and Ibiza in Spain at weekends.[13] It has plans to add routes to Cannes, Munich, Luxembourg and Milan.[12] Surf Air currently has one Embraer Phenom 300 private jet in its fleet in Europe. The company plans to feature dozens more aircraft within the next three to five years.[11] 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.[14] In March 2018, Surf Air announced its European arm would launch 10 new routes, mainly focused around Zurich, Switzerland and Milan, Italy. New cities being served by Surf Air will include Brussels, Basel, Geneva, Munich, Vienna, and Luxembourg.[15]

History[edit]

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. A 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 has 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. 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. 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. Wade Eyerly, Cory Cozzens and Reed Farnsworth formed Beacon Air in 2015 but shut it down in 2016.

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 has 5,000 customers.[12] In May 2016, Surf Air received 2 additional aircraft phasing out their older legacy PC-12s. On May 16 2017, Surf Air flight operations were transitioned to Encompass Aviation and has its principle base of operations in Hawthorne California. Sudhin Shahani took over as Chief Executive of Surf Air in 2017 after Jeff Potter exited.[16]

As of 2017, charges started from $1,950 per month plus a $1,000 signup fee.[9]

Encompass Aviation has quietly completed the take over of all SurfAir operations retaining all it's pilots and aircraft. Encompass is based in Hawthorne California and is a FAA Part135 operator.

In February 2018, Surf Air launched on-demand charter enabling customers to charter the entire aircraft, including airplanes not in the Surf Air fleet.[17]

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. Encompass said Surf Air was behind on payments due for operating flights for Surf Air members. [18]

In October 2018, Surf Air announced a new membership program - Surf Air Express - targeting less frequent travelers with an annual membership fee and the payments for each flight. [19]

Fleet[edit]

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[20] 8 N809SA, N816SA, N817SA, N819SA, N821SA, N824SA, N828SA, N829SA, N849SA, N850SA, N853SA, N874SA

Orders are NG version, 15 orders and 50 options.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Private Flying - The Aircraft - Surf Air". surfair.com.
  2. ^ "Calm the Skies mounts protest against Surf Air at San Carlos Airport". The Mercury News. June 21, 2017.
  3. ^ "Protesters at San Carlos Airport complain of Surf Air noise". The Almanac. June 18, 2017.
  4. ^ "Calm The Skies". Calm The Skies Organization.
  5. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration approves Surf Air route to take planes over Bay". Palo Alto Online. June 23, 2017.
  6. ^ "Board of Supervisors to Consider Noise Abatement Solutions at San Carlos Airport | County Manager's Office". cmo.smcgov.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  7. ^ "County may put lid on 'noisy aircraft' at San Carlos Airport". The Almanac.
  8. ^ Goglia, John (August 6, 2013). John Goglia "Surf Air 'Airline'? What Passengers Need To Know Before They Sign-Up" Check |url= value (help). Forbes.
  9. ^ a b "California's Private Air Travel Membership - Surf Air - Surf Air". Surf Air.
  10. ^ "Dallas startup Rise bought by California's Surf Air as chase for business travelers ascends". dallasnews.com. 7 June 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Surf Air Now Offers Unlimited Flights on Private Jets Through Europe - Architectural Digest". architecturaldigest.com.
  12. ^ a b c A.W. (10 October 2017). "All-you-can-fly membership models are slowly catching on". The Economist.
  13. ^ "Surf Air Will Take Its Subscription Airline Model to Europe in May". fortune.com.
  14. ^ https://privatejetcardcomparisons.com/2017/10/14/rf-air-europe-offers-free-flights-to-top-tier-frequent-fliers-in-europe/ Private Jet Card Comparisons
  15. ^ https://privatejetcardcomparisons.com/2018/03/23/exclusive-surf-air-europe-is-finally-expanding-its-europe-network/ Private Jet Card Comparisons
  16. ^ https://privatejetcardcomparisons.com/2017/06/29/jeff-potter-leaves-surf-air-shahani-now-ceo-of-netflix-private-membership-airline/ Private Jet Card Comparisons
  17. ^ https://privatejetcardcomparisons.com/2018/02/27/surf-air-expands-to-on-demand-charter-including-private-jets/ Private Jet Card Comparisons
  18. ^ Private Jet Card Comparisons https://privatejetcardcomparisons.com/2018/06/16/whats-happening-at-surf-air-a-press-release-after-midnight-raises-more-questions-than-it-answers/
  19. ^ https://robbreport.com/motors/aviation/surf-air-express-semi-private-2824594/
  20. ^ "California's Surf Air orders 15+50 Pilatus PC-12NGs". ch-aviation.com. Retrieved 2014-08-12.

External links[edit]