US start-up Surf Air Mobility has an agreement with Pennsylvannia’s Williamsport Regional airport to launch scheduled commuter flights to Washington Dulles International airport starting in May. 

The Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority has agreed to “subsidise and support” the establishment of 10-times weekly flights to be operated by Surf Air’s subsidiary Southern Airways Express, the company said on 8 January. 

Southern Airways will operate the flights between Williamsport and Washington, DC using its nine-passenger Cessna Grand Caravans, which Surf Air intends to eventually retrofit with its in-development electric powertrain technology. 

”By bringing consistent weekly service to this underutilised regional airport adjacent to the city’s centre, travellers arriving or departing via Washington Dulles will be able to skip the multi-hour drive and fly directly to or from Williamsport Regional airport,” the company says. 

surf air mobility

Source: Surf Air Mobility

Surf Air Mobility has a deal with local authorities in Williamsport, Pennsylvania to launch scheduled service to Washington, DC 

The flights will be Williamsport’s first commercial flights in more than two years. Passengers will be offered connections at Washington Dulles to American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, including bag transfers, Surf Air says. 

Los Angeles-based Surf Air says its arrangement with local authorities is similar to essential air service (EAS) agreements, through which federal subsidies allow carriers to connect communities that would otherwise lack air service. It establishes a flow of funding from local grants and community donations to “mitigate risk to Surf Air”. 

”There are hundreds of underutilised yet incredibly convenient airports across the US,” says Stan Little, Surf Air’s chief executive. ”We’re finding innovative solutions to the lack of viable regional connectivity. We plan to continue exploring these types of partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, with private institutions, and with international partners.”

On 4 January, Surf Air disclosed that it had secured deals with a pair of Kenya-based Cessna Grand Caravan operators – Safarilink Aviation and Yellow Wings Air Services – to adopt its electric powertrain technology once certified.

Brazilian carrier Azul is also exploring electrification of its regional operations through a partnership with Surf Air. 

A combination of consumer-facing travel brand and airline company, Surf Air became a publicly traded company in August, after closing its acquisitions of Florida-based Southern Airways and Hawaii’s Mokulele Airlines. 

The start-up holds orders for 100 total Cessna Caravans – with options for 50 additional aircraft – and an agreement to be Textron’s exclusive provider of “certain battery-electric and hybrid-electric powertrain technology for the Cessna Grand Caravan”.  The company is currently developing a supplemental type certification for both hybrid and fully electric variants of the single-engine turboprop. 

The company claims that its fully electric variant will provide a 50% reduction in operating costs compared with conventionally powered Grand Caravans.