US members-only operator Surf Air is planning to launch European services in June, taking on the continent's traditional airlines and on-demand charter providers with its low-cost, all-you-can-fly, subscription-based model.
London Luton to Cannes and Ibiza will be the inaugural services, with flights departing and arriving at the airports' VIP terminals. The network will be expanded within months to include London to Milan and Zurich and Zurich to Luxembourg and Munich.
The operator will launch European services with an Embraer Phenom 300, and will add Pilatus PC-12NG single-engined turboprops to the fleet from September.
Surf Air Europe chief executive Simon Talling-Smith says the service is designed to bring “very large numbers of people into the private aviation space" who have never used business aircraft before.
He hopes to emulate the success of the company's US parent, which has seen its membership climb to more than 3,000 since its launch in 2014. "Around 80% of these members are new to private aviation,” says Talling-Smith.
The Santa Monica-based operator performs around 90 daily flights with its fleet of 12 PC-12NGs. It has further 45 of the eight-seat singles on order.
“We will use a mixture of PC-12s and light jets in Europe,” Talling-Smith confirms. He says a “large light-jet order” will be placed before the end of the year, but will not disclose his choice of aircraft type.
Monthly subscriptions start at €1,750 ($1,880), which entitles members to an unlimited number of flights on routes with a distance of 3,240nm (6,000km) – such as Zurich to Milan and Luxembourg. For a higher monthly fee of €3,150, members can fly on all Surf Air routes, including those covering longer distances, such as London to Cannes and Ibiza. “We plan to operate eight sectors a day on the shorter routes, and four a day on the longer routes,” says Talling-Smith.
He says the programme is already proving a “big hit”, and expects to launch with around 300 members.