Former Surf Air CFO White returns as COO, Interim CEO

After a $34.4 million operating loss on $30.6 million in revenues, Surf Air has changed its CEO.

By Doug Gollan, May 15, 2024

After moving from Chief Administrative Officer and CFO to Senior Advisor in December, Deanna White was announced today as Chief Operating Officer and Interim CEO at Surf Air.

She replaces Stan Little, who had been CEO of Southern Airways and took that same position at Surf Air after their merger last year.

The joint entity eschewed a proposed SPAC merger and went public in 2023 via a direct listing.

White served as CFO and then CEO of Flexjet from 2005 to 2015.

Following that, she was COO of Kitty Hawk, an EVTOL startup, which was sold during her tenure to Boeing and has subsequently been rebranded as Wisk Aero.

“We are thrilled that Deanna has agreed to assume the role of Chief Operating Officer and interim CEO as the company turns its focus to profitability and efficiency across its flight operations,” said Carl Albert, Surf Air Mobility’s Chairman of the Board.

He added, “I would like to recognize Stan as the founder of Southern Airways for building that company from birth into the largest commuter airline by departure and the largest operator of Cessna Caravans, and we are pleased to continue to benefit from his experience as a Special Advisor to the company.”

Surf Air Q1 financials

White rejoins Surf Air after it reported an increase in Q1 losses.

Q1 revenue grew from $5.5 million in 2023 to $30.6 million this year.

However, operating expenses grew from $17.6 million to $65.1 million.

Operating loss was $34.4 million, up from $12.0 million for the quarter.

Loss before income taxes increased from $20.6 million to $37.0 million.

Q1 2024 Adjusted EBITDA was a negative $16.5 million, up from $11.7 million in 2023.

2023’s numbers reflect only Surf Air results.

Unpaid FET

Surf Air has a $7.6 liability for unpaid Federal Excise Tax, including penalties after defaulting on a repayment plan in 2019.

According to the flight provider, Surf Air Mobility had $1.3 million in cash as of March 31, 2024.

The company could draw $90 million in committed draws and up to $296 million in follow-on draws, subject to the terms of the GEM share subscription facility.

In April, it received a notice of possible delisting from the New York Stock Exchange after its stock price traded under one dollar for 30 consecutive days.

The stock ended trading today at 41 cents.

In addition to charter flights, Surf Air operates scheduled commuter services and has been investing in electric aircraft.

During Q1, Surf Air fulfilled 906 on-demand charter flights.

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