California-based membership airline Surf Air which operates from private jet terminals and facilities that enable customers to bypass main terminals and arrive 15 minutes before their flights has acquired RISE, another “all-you-can-fly” provider that serves six airports in Texas.
Together, the two will offer 445 weekly flights to 17 destinations. Following the acquisition, Las Vegas, Bentonville, Midland, New Orleans, Scottsdale, and Taos will be added within 18 months. Weekend service to Cabo San Lucas, Aspen, and Sun Valley is also in the plan.
According to a press release, “The monthly subscription flight sharing model, pioneered by Surf Air in 2013, bridges the gap between commercial and private flying and provides an economical and efficient solution to the increasingly chaotic air travel experience. Through offering high-frequency flyers the option to access private airplanes and terminals on scheduled daily flights, Surf Air and RISE have created a model that is both affordable for existing users of regional, commercial airlines, and offers the comfort, time savings, and premium experience of flying privately.”
Surf Air and RISE have flown 69,383 combined flights and flown 203,908 passengers since their launches. The goal is to integrate systems and enable members to access a wide variety of destinations.
“For nearly five years we have been drastically and fundamentally changing the way frequent business travelers in California fly,” said Sudhin Shahani, chairman and CEO of Surf Air. “Before Surf Air, professionals throughout California wasted hours traveling through commercial airports, waiting in security lines, and stealing precious time from business and family. Today, the all-you-can-fly membership model is here to stay by taking frequent flyers off commercial airlines across major short-haul business cities and onto an easier way to travel. Our current routes from the Los Angeles to San Francisco areas already corner one of the largest short-haul markets in the country, now, with our acquisition of RISE, we’re taking a significant step into expanding this footprint across the South-Eastern U.S. through the substantial operation already established by RISE in Texas.”
Terms of the acquisition were not announced. The RISE name will disappear at some point. While Surf Air has been expanding in Europe, it is facing competition in the West against JetSuiteX which also bypasses commercial terminals with a buy a seat model based on individual flights.
The new services can cut travel time in half for shorter trips. For example, flying with Surf Air or JetSuiteX entails arriving only 15 minutes before departure versus an hour of more for regular commercial airlines.