Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Meet Surf Air, the Californian startup that wants to disrupt the corporate air travel market

                                                                       Picture: Surf Air

As if traditional network airlines were not facing enough competition from low cost carriers, Surf Air, a new aviation start-up based in Santa Monica, California, is proposing a business model that, if generalized, could put under strain their grip on business travelers and major corporate accounts.

The recipe is similar to that you can find in other industries such as telecoms or cable tv: an all-you-can-eat (or in this case all-you-can-fly!) flat use an executive aircraft!

What I found quite interesting, though, is the pricing: from $800 to $1500 a month, which seems quite a reasonable amount for frequent fliers, particularly when taking into account the additional advantages of flying in an executive jet.

The carrier, that is still awaiting FAA approval, is planning to fly 8-seat Pilatus PC-12 aircraft between several Californian airports, starting possibly this summer. In the meantime it is taking applications to join its member's list (again a marketing trick that is common in other industries, such as e-commerce).

While I ignore what are the economics that would make it possible to sustain its operations, expect frequent fliers and small airports to benefit greatly if surf Air's business model takes hold!


Anonymous said...

"All-you-can-eat"? Or somewhere between Netflix and undeliverable with two aircraft?

"... a monthly fee of between $800 and $1,500, depending on the number of reservations a traveler makes ..."

Allplane: all about aviation, airlines and air travel said...

Certainly, looks a very ambitious goal to fulfill, particularly when taking into account they do not have a massive fleet. As mentioned in the post, I am not sure what are the economics that make it work...

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