Surf Air is announcing 10 new routes next week, including flights to Milan, Munich, Luxembourg, Brussels, Vienna, Geneva, Nice, Basel and Brussels
After nine months of seemingly being stuck in neutral, it turns out Surf Air Europe is going to significantly expand its flying there. In terms of keeping track of what’s happening, it has been a winding road for us. A few weeks ago we heard that Surf Air had laid off some of their sales, marketing and support team. Operations, which are contracted out to Flexjet Ltd., were apparently not impacted, however, it did cause us to take a step back and wonder what was going on.
Surf Air’s website has added, “Now serving 10 cities with more to follow.” But what’s actually coming?
After nine months of minimal growth, including reducing or restructuring staff recently, Surf Air in Europe may finally be ready to spread its wings. Then again, maybe not. From what it looks like somebody has been updating its website with possible routes that may be in the offing. On the home page of Surf Air, a headline reads, “Now serving 10 cities with more to follow.”
Investment capital continues to pour into private jet and helicopter membership, card and sharing programs
Here it comes. Add Fly BLADE to JetSmarter, JetSuite, Stellar.aero, Victor, VistaJet and Wheels Up – the list of private jet card, online charter and by the seat private aviation companies that have raised over $500 million over the past 18 months. According to a press release, BLADE added “approximately $38 million” to its coffers via Series B Financing led by Colony NorthStar and Lerer Hippeau along with Airbus Helicopters and LionTree Ventures.
Clipper Jet says its by the seat private jet membership model is finally getting ready to take flight
Perusing Google search results I came across a first page May 2015 article from AFAR titled “6 Jet Startups That Will Get You Flying Private.” JetSmarter, Victor and Surf Air are still alive and kicking. BlackJet and Beacon are out of business, and I hadn’t heard or seen anything from ClipperJet in years. However, when I went to their website, it was still up and running and in fact, there was a full page outlining its three membership options. In the press section, there was no coverage since the aforementioned piece and something from Conde Nast Traveler from April 2015. Wondering what was going on, I called the number on the website and it was answered by Paul Sanchez, one of the founders and an executive vice president.
Surf Air’s growth in Europe has been tepid so far, however, it and others continue to pursue a by the seat private aviation model against a backdrop of mixed results
Seat sharing, where travelers buy single seats on private aircraft, either via memberships or on individual flights, is considered a growth area for business aviation getting plenty of play in consumer media. The major benefit is saving time at airports by using private aviation facilities while paying prices at or near what the commercial airlines charge. For short hops, it can cut total travel time significantly. However, the model may be in trouble once again. Two sources tell Private Jet Card Comparisons that upstart Surf Air Europe has recently pared back its marketing and sales team there.
Surf Air, JetClass and JetSmarter are expanding their European private jet footprint and may be joined by Wheels Up and others
Surf Air is adding Sion in Switzerland to its current schedule from London City Airport to Zurich. The service will be twice per week in each direction and represents what so far has been a somewhat zigzagging path since its launch last Summer between seasonal destinations and expectations for expansion on key business routes.
JetClass offers scheduled flights on private jets without membership fees
By the seat, pay as you private jet operator JetClass is adding seven new routes in Europe with one-way fares starting as low as 390 Euros. The service, which doesn’t have a membership fee, sells individual seats on private jets with a fixed schedule. Passengers on these short flights benefit from using FBOs, private jet terminals, instead of having to transit commercial airport terminals, often cutting total travel time in half.