Category Archives: Surf Air

Surf Air responds to false claims by former flight operator

Surf Air has issued this statement:

 

Surf Air announced on June 20, 2018 that effective June 15, 2018, Surf Air terminated its agreement with Encompass Aviation, LLC to operate flights for its California routes.

Encompass has subsequently filed suit for breach of contract and demanded payments for amounts it claims are past due. The Encompass claims are not accurate, the lawsuit is without merit and Surf Air intends to defend itself vigorously. Surf Air is also considering counterclaims. The company has retained Skip Miller, partner at Miller Barondess LLP as its litigation counsel.

With regard to the change in flight operators in California, Surf Air has opted to work with business partners that can continue to provide exemplary service to its members.

Surf Air previously announced that it has contracted with Advanced Air, LLC to take over all of Surf Air’s California routes effective June 17, 2018. Advanced Air is ACSF registered and has received a Platinum rating from ARG/US, the world’s most prestigious third-party vetting system for charter operations.  Less than 4% of all operators worldwide meet these safety standards.

Photo: Surf Air.

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Encompass Aviation: Surf Air defaults on payments and breaches contract with Encompass Aviation

Encompass Aviation LLC has issued this statement:

Private aviation operator Encompass Aviation LLC filed a lawsuit on June 19, 2018 against financially distressed membership based charter broker Surf Air Inc., for whom Encompass has been acting as primary California operator since May 2017. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, asks the court to enforce the charter service’s obligations to Encompass as specified in several operating agreements signed by the two companies last year, and also to enforce subsequent payment agreements stipulated to in the interim. As of June 14, 2018, Surf Air owed Encompass more than $3,100,000, while engaging other operators in an attempt to keep flying while defaulting on their agreements with Encompass.

“We have been happy to serve as Surf’s primary carrier in the state of California.  But we’ve come to the breaking point. Surf has repeatedly allocated its revenue on things other than paying in full for flight operations and aircraft maintenance,” said Steve Harfst, President and CEO of Encompass Aviation. “Surf has failed to honor its obligations under its agreements with Encompass and we have been significantly damaged as a result, both by Surf’s repeated failure to pay for services rendered and by its blatantly improper attempt to walk away from our service in favor of another operator.”

Because of pending federal government investigations concerning Surf’s possible illegal activities in 2016, Surf and its board decided that selling its airline assets to a U.S. entity would significantly broaden their opportunity to expand and to make its product offering more attractive to its membership base.  Resulting negotiations led to an agreement in May of 2017 for Encompass, at the time a fully FAA-certificated air operator, to acquire Surf’s airline assets and operate for Surf in California. Within a short time, Surf failed to make its agreed-upon payments to Encompass. Just four short months into the contract, Surf’s payment deficit had ballooned to more than $3.7 million. Despite non-payment, Encompass continued in good faith to operate flights and maintain the operating integrity and safety of the aircraft used to transport Surf’s customers.

Throughout the term of the agreement, Surf continued to demand performance by Encompass in exchange for little to no payment. Despite collecting revenue from its members, Surf failed to pay the contracted costs for flight operations and related maintenance responsibilities undertaken by Encompass.

On June 15, 2018, without any prior notice, Surf sent a termination letter to Encompass after it granted another operator the right to operate all Surf Air flights in California. This is in violation of the right of first refusal clause of the contract between Surf and Encompass. In addition to today’s legal action, on Monday, attorneys for Encompass sent a cease and desist letter to Surf Air’s board of directors and management, seeking payment owed and to prevent them from taking further action against Encompass.

Surf Air transitions operations in California to Advanced Air

Surf Air has made this announcement:

Continuing the company’s mission to build the best travel network in California, Surf Air, the innovative all-you-can-fly membership air travel company, announced the expansion of its partnership with operator Advanced Air today. The partnership between the two companies began three years ago, and with today’s announcement, Surf Air will transition more flights to Advanced Air, including San Francisco and Los Angeles area flights, as well as, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas, Monterey and Napa flights. Advanced Air also owns Hawthorne private airport, which is presently one of Surf Air’s busiest destinations.

Advanced Air will serve Surf Air’s membership with a combination of their own and Surf Air branded aircraft.  Surf Air preferred members will also benefit from favored price access to Advanced Air’s charter fleet, including the King Air 350, Pilatus PC-12 and Learjet 45.

Tradewind will continue to be Surf Air’s Texas operator.

Surf Air is the nation’s first private air travel club offering unlimited monthly flights. Geared toward frequent regional business and leisure travelers, Surf Air provides a hassle-free flying experience in the company of an inspiring Member community. Its growing fleet of executive private aircrafts operate from convenient private airports in the United States and Europe. The company also provides global charter services via their Surf Anywhere program.

All photos by Surf Air.

Surf Air grows customer base with new routes

Surf Air Pilatus PC-12/47E N824SA (msn 1523) PSP (James Helbock). Image: 932630.

Surf Air has made this announcement:

Surf Air has announced a significant global expansion with the creation of a national and global subscription platform partnering with select premium operators of private aircraft. This platform expansion opens up approximately 20 new destinations for Surf Air members in Europe and across the Eastern Seaboard of the United States and sets the stage to add many more.

New European routes include Milan, Zurich, Luxembourg, Munich, Brussels, Vienna, Geneva, Basel and Nice. These new flights will be operated in association with Surf Air’s new European partner, JetClass and members are currently able to book seats on the Surf Air app and make the most of the Surf Air subscription programs.

Furthermore, a new partnership with BLADE for the summer of 2018 will allow Surf Air members to access Blade’s network of routes and gain entry to seven Blade Lounges.  In the northeast, Blade’s services include helicopter and seaplane flights between New York City and Quogue, Southampton, East Hampton, Montauk and Newport, as well as flights between New York City or Westchester and Nantucket. Blade also services the Jersey Coast from Deal to Long Beach Island and runs daily Blade Bounce airport transfers between Manhattan and all area airports.

Surf Air’s new global membership will start at $3950/month and include all US and European routes – including those routes expanded with the partnership between Blade and JetClass. Surf Air’s current Premium Membership, currently at $2950/month, will now have added value with national access to California, Texasand East Coast routes. Access to partner flights may have usage caps based on the subscription level selected.

In addition to these changes, Surf Air now also offers a membership plan for the leisure and more infrequent traveler, Surf Air Escapes. Escapes members pay a lower subscription and an incremental fee per flight for access to the Surf Air network.

“Surf Air has grown quickly through both innovation and a dedication to give its members the very best experience. This new expansion demonstrates our commitment to building a global membership base on our subscription and technology platform matched with vetted partners who provide the best experience for private travel,” said Sudhin Shahani, chairman and CEO of Surf Air.

To support this new membership plan, Surf Air released a brand-new version of their mobile iOS app with a sleek new interface and new features including the ability for members to book a guest on their flight and easy access to a new charter desk to arrange flights outside of the Surf Air network. All customers booking a Surf Anywhere charter flight will automatically be enrolled as a Surf Air Escapes member and have the annual subscription for that calendar year waived.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Surf Air): Surf Air Pilatus PC-12/47E N824SA (msn 1523) PSP (James Helbock). Image: 932630.

Surf Air orders 15 Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft, plus 50 options

Surf Air PC-12s (LRW)

Surf Air (Santa Monica), the nation’s first All-You-Can-Fly membership airline, announced a total order of up to 65 new Pilatus aircraft (15 firm orders and 50 options) to be delivered over the next five years, with a total order value of approximately $312 million. The first 15 aircraft are being financed by a $65 million senior facility from White Oak Global Advisors, alongside an additional $8 million equity round from new and existing investors, bringing the total equity raised to $17 million. With this order the company has formed an unprecedented exclusive partnership with Pilatus Aircraft whereby Surf Air will be the only membership-based operator to utilize the PC-12 NG in the United States.

“In just our first year, Surf Air has enjoyed incredible demand from consumers—more than our existing fleet of planes will be able to accommodate going forward,” said Surf Air CEO, Jeff Potter. “With over 900 members now, we believe prospective members understand our value proposition—and now with 65 more aircraft committed for delivery and additional equity investment funds, we look forward to the opportunity to significantly expand this industry changing ‘All-You-Can-Fly’ membership model in California and other regions of the country.”

Under the strong leadership of airline and membership club veteran Potter and serial entrepreneur and venture investor Shahani, Surf Air has grown memberships in 2014 from 250 members to 900 members with an additional 350 member deposits on hold waiting for additional aircraft and routes. Venture Investors who participated in the new equity round included existing investors Anthem Ventures, Velos Partners and Base Ventures with participation from new investors FF Ventures, Plus Capital and several others. In addition, a number of notable angel investors participated in the round including Bill Woodward, Rick Caruso, Dennis Phelps and Jared Leto.

Each new Pilatus NG aircraft will be configured in an eight-seat all executive class interior to ensure a high level of comfort, class and convenience.

How it works: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Surf Air. N805SA, N806SA and N807SA getting ready in San Carlos for flights to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Truckee.

Surf Air logo

Current Route Map:

Surf Air 8.2014 Route Map (LRW)